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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Mechanics in Charleston, South Carolina

Auto mechanics can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Charleston, South Carolina area. There are currently 10,590 jobs for auto mechanics in South Carolina and this is projected to grow 15% to about 12,230 jobs by 2016. 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 $14 hourly or $30,710 annually on average in South Carolina and about $16 per hour or $35,100 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for auto mechanics are not quite as good as in the overall category of Automotive in South Carolina, and better than the overall Automotive category nationally.

There are fourteen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston 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 Charleston include:

  • Aircraft Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Mechanic Training

Trident Technical College - Charleston, SC

Trident Technical College, 7000 Rivers Avenue, Charleston, SC 29423-8067. Trident Technical College is a large college located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,758 students. Trident Technical College has a less than one year program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated eight 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: Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina photo by AudeVivere

Charleston is situated in Charleston County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 111,978, which has grown by 15.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston cost $157,600 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, five hundred eight new homes were built in Charleston, down from eight hundred seventy-eight the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 37.5% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 10.5%, which is less than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Plymouth Congregational Church, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charleston is home to the United State Department of Agriculture and the The Center as well as Harmon Field and Stoney Field. Shopping malls in the area include Church Creek Plaza Shopping Center, Citadel Mall Shopping Center and South Windermere Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from French Quarter Inn, Fulton Lane Inn and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.