Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Mechanics in Columbia, Maryland

Auto mechanics can find many career and educational opportunities in the Columbia, Maryland area. About 17,330 people are currently employed as auto mechanics in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow 11% to 19,220 people employed. 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.

The income of an auto mechanic is about $19 per hour or $39,630 yearly on average in Maryland. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $16 per hour or $35,100 per year on average. Incomes for auto mechanics are better than in the overall category of Automotive in Maryland, and better than the overall Automotive category nationally.

There are 109 schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including four within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as an auto mechanic. The most common level of education for auto mechanics is a post-secondary certificate. You can expect to spend a short time studying 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 Columbia include:

  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic. Repair, install, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Mechanic Training

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated eleven and fifty-one students respectively in 2008.

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated forty-two and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Lincoln Technical Institute - Columbia, MD

Lincoln Technical Institute, 9325 Snowden River Pky, Columbia, MD 21046. Lincoln Technical Institute is a small school located in Columbia, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,217 students. Lincoln Technical Institute has a one to two year program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated 224 students in 2008.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated ten and twenty-seven 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: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.