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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Mechanics in Birmingham, Alabama

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for auto mechanics in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 11,410 people are currently employed as auto mechanics in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 16% to 13,210 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for auto mechanics are expected to grow by about 4.7%. Auto mechanics generally repair automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles.

A person working as an auto mechanic can expect to earn about $15 hourly or $31,450 yearly on average in Alabama and about $16 hourly or $35,100 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Automotive, people working as auto mechanics in Alabama earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Automotive nationally.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as an auto mechanic. The most common level of education for auto mechanics is a post-secondary certificate. It will take a short time to learn to be an auto mechanic if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Auto Mechanic

In general, auto mechanics repair automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles. They also master mechanics repair virtually any part on the vehicle or specialize in the transmission system.

Auto mechanics maintain the cleanliness of work areas. They also inspect work orders and consider work with supervisors. Equally important, auto mechanics have to follow checklists to insure all important parts are examined, including belts, hoses, steering systems, spark plugs, brake and fuel systems, wheel bearings, and other potentially troublesome areas. They are often called upon to test and adjust repaired systems to meet manufacturers' performance specifications. They are expected to repair and service air conditioning, heating, engine-cooling, and electrical systems. Finally, auto mechanics overhaul or remove carburetors, blowers and pumps.

Every day, auto mechanics are expected to be able to twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done. They need to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. It is also important that they visualize how things come together and can be organized.

It is important for auto mechanics to repair or remove parts such as pistons and bearings. They are often called upon to repair manual and automatic transmissions. They also repair radiator leaks. They are sometimes expected to rebuild parts such as crankshafts and cylinder blocks. Somewhat less frequently, auto mechanics are also expected to align vehicles' front ends.

They also have to be able to formulate work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience and remove and adjust headlights. And finally, they sometimes have to repair or remove parts such as pistons and bearings.

Like many other jobs, auto mechanics must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Auto Body Mechanic. Repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames.
  • Auto Glass Installer. Replace or repair broken windshields and window glass in motor vehicles.
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic. Repair, install, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Mechanic Training

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has 2 areas of study related to Auto Mechanic. They are:

  • Automotive Engineering Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 14 students in 2008.
  • Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician, less than one year and one to two year which graduated fifteen and three students respectively in 2008.

Bevill State Community College - Sumiton, AL

Bevill State Community College, 101 State St, Sumiton, AL 35148. Bevill State Community College is a small college located in Sumiton, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,860 students. Bevill State Community College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated zero and four students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Automobile Technician: Service Consultant: The Automobile Service Consultant Test contains questions on communications, customer and internal relations, vehicle systems knowledge, sales skills, and shop operations.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Truck Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist: The Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist (L2) test consists of questions that test technicians' diagnostic knowledge of diesel engine mechanical and computer-controlled fuel systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Automobile Parts Specialist: The Parts Specialist Series includes six tests: Automobile Parts Specialist, Medium/Heavy Truck Dealership Parts Specialist, Medium/Heavy Truck Aftermarket Brake Parts Specialist, Medium/Heavy Truck Aftermarket Suspension and Steering Parts Specialist, and General Motors Parts Consultant.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Medium/Heavy Truck Dealership Parts Specialist: The Parts Specialist Series includes six tests: Automobile Parts Specialist, Medium/Heavy Truck Dealership Parts Specialist, Medium/Heavy Truck Aftermarket Brake Parts Specialist, Medium/Heavy Truck Aftermarket Suspension and Steering Parts Specialist, and General Motors Parts Consultant.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Automobile Technician: Engine Repair: Passing test A1 will certify you in Engine Repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Automobile Technician: Suspension and Steering: Passing Test A4 will certify you in automobile suspension and steering.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Automobile Technician: Brakes: Passing Test A5 will certify you in automobile brakes.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Master Transit Bus Technician: The ASE Transit Bus Test Series has two certification exams: H4-Brakes and H6-Electrical/Electronic Systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Transit Bus Technician: Brakes: Successfully passing test H4 will certify you in transit bus brakes.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Transit Bus Technician: Electrical/Electronic Systems: Successfully passing test H6 will certify you in transit bus electrical/electronic systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Undercar Specialist: Exhaust Systems: Successfully passing test X1 will certify you as an undercar specialist in exhaust systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Painting and Refinishing Technician: Successfully passing test B2 will certify you in collision repair and refinish: painting and refinishing.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Non-Structural Analysis and Damage Repair: Successfully passing test B3 will certify you in collision repair and refinish: non-structural analysis and damage repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Structural Analysis and Damage Repair: Successfully passing test B4 will certify you in collision repair and refinish: structural analysis and damage repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Mechanical and Electrical Components: Successfully passing test B5 will certify you in collision repair and refinish: mechanical and electrical components.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Truck Equipment Specialist: Installation and Repair: Successfully passing test E1 will certify you as a truck equipment specialist in installation and repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Truck Equipment Specialist: Electrical/Electronic Systems: Successfully passing test E2 will certify you as a truck equipment specialist in electrial/electronic systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Truck Equipment Specialist: Auxiliary Power Systems: Successfully passing test E3 will certify you as a truck equipment specialist in auxiliary power systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanic: Certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanic® (CIMM®) Program CIMM® will provide a non-biased, third-party, objective assessment and confirmation of the skills of your industrial maintenance mechanics.

For more information, see the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.