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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Mechanics in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

If you want to be an auto mechanic, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 8,970 people work as auto mechanics in Iowa. This is expected to grow 17% to 10,470 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for auto mechanics, which sees this job pool growing by about 4.7% over the next eight years. Auto mechanics generally repair automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles.

Auto mechanics earn approximately $15 hourly or $32,090 yearly on average in Iowa. Nationally they average about $16 per hour or $35,100 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Automotive, people working as auto mechanics in Iowa earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Automotive nationally.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Cedar Rapids area, including one within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree to start your career as an auto mechanic. Given that the most common education level for auto mechanics is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time training to become 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 Cedar Rapids 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.
  • Farm Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul farm machinery and vehicles, such as tractors, harvesters, and irrigation systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Mechanic Training

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has an associate's degree program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated fifteen students 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: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.