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 Charleston, West Virginia

Auto mechanics can find many career and educational opportunities in the Charleston, West Virginia area. There are currently 4,180 working auto mechanics in West Virginia; this should grow by 8% to about 4,510 working auto mechanics in the state 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%. In general, auto mechanics repair automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles.

The income of an auto mechanic is about $11 hourly or $24,620 per year on average in West Virginia. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $16 hourly or $35,100 yearly on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Automotive, people working as auto mechanics in West Virginia earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Automotive nationally.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can study to be an auto mechanic, among seventeen schools of higher education total in the Charleston area. The most common level of education 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:

  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Mechanic Training

Garnet Career Center - Charleston, WV

Garnet Career Center, 422 Dickinson St, Charleston, WV 25301. Garnet Career Center is a small school located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 122 students. Garnet Career Center has a one to two year and a two to four year program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated three and eight students respectively in 2008.

Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology - Montgomery, WV

Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology, 405 Fayette Pike, Montgomery, WV 25136. Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology is a small university located in Montgomery, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 743 students. Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology has an associate's degree program in Automotive Engineering Technology/Technician.

Carver Career Center - Charleston, WV

Carver Career Center, 4799 Midland Dr, Charleston, WV 25306-6397. Carver Career Center is a small school located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 391 students. Carver Career Center has a less than one year program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician.

Ben Franklin Career Center - Dunbar, WV

Ben Franklin Career Center, 500 28th St, Dunbar, WV 25064. Ben Franklin Career Center is a small school located in Dunbar, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 390 students. Ben Franklin Career Center has a one to two year program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Fayette Institute of Technology - Oak Hill, WV

Fayette Institute of Technology, 300 West Oyler Avenue, Oak Hill, WV 25901. Fayette Institute of Technology is a small school located in Oak Hill, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 24 students. Fayette Institute of Technology has a one to two year program in Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Putnam Career and Technical Center - Eleanor, WV

Putnam Career and Technical Center, 101 Roosevelt Boulevard, Eleanor, WV 25070-0640. Putnam Career and Technical Center is a small school located in Eleanor, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 110 students. Putnam Career and Technical Center has a one to two 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, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.