How to Become an Auto Mechanic in Alaska

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How to Become an Auto Mechanic in Alaska

There are many career options available if you have these qualities:

  • You like working with your hands
  • You have an eye for detail

Many of them are related to being an auto mechanic.

Read on if you want to learn more about this occupation in Alaska!

Auto Mechanic Training in Alaska

In Alaska, there are no specific requirements for someone who wants to become an auto mechanic.

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Most commonly you’ll be asked for:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Some training

There are various ways in which you can undergo training.

Receiving some formal education in the field is a very good idea if you also hope for a career in the future.

Even employers will often ask for certifications or a degree. depending on the position.

This type of education involves both theory and laboratory classes.

You could be  earning one or both of the following:

  • An ASE certification
  • An associate’s degree

In Alaska, most training is provided through colleges, in programs that last for 2 years.

You’ll have to meet different requirements to be accepted into these programs, but all of them require you to be computer proficient.

Depending on the program you choose, certification, or associate’s degree, you’ll have to accumulate a different amount of credit hours.

The general coursework is the same, with the exception of general education which is missing in the certification program.

The programs are approved by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF).

If the program is sponsored by some company, like the General Motors ASEP program is, then you’ll have the opportunity to work as an intern for that company as well.

Keep in mind that the number of students in these programs is very low, with not more than 20 people accepted.

Generally, at the end of the program, you’ll have all the skills needed for most entry-level positions in this industry.

Earning an ASE Certification

ASE refers to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

The ASE certifications are not mandatory to work in this field, but they’re a tool towards a career and a higher salary.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence issues several certifications, but you don’t need all of them.

The requirements to earn an ASE certification are:

  • 2 years of work experience in the field
  • Passing an exam

You’ll have to renew your ASE certification every 5 years.

This is done by re-passing the certification exam.

These exams cannot be taken online, but only at the approved testing centers across the state.

There’s also a set protocol on how one signs up and takes any of these exams.

609-Refrigerant Certification

The air conditioning system on vehicles generally uses regulated substances.

Those who need to perform work related to these substances or the MVAC system will need a 609-refrigerant certification.

Like most certifications, you’ll need to first undergo some training and then pass an exam.

The 609-refrigerant certification proves you meet the EPA standards for servicing and repairing MVAC systems.

You can enroll in a distance learning program to earn this certification.

Manufacturer Certification

You might prefer working on a specific car, and in this case, you could consider getting a manufacturer certification.

There are many car producers who offer training programs and certifications for those interested.

The programs are organized at either colleges or various training centers across the state.

Ford, Honda, and BMW are just a few of the manufacturers offering brand-specific certifications in Alaska.

Training as an Apprentice

Auto mechanics don’t have many apprenticeship options available.

This is even more evident in a state like Alaska.

Generally, the apprenticeship periods are part of the formal training programs.

Unlike many other skilled occupations, that of an auto mechanic requires quite a bit of knowledge, such as math and physics.

The training programs also teach how to solve certain problems, something that can’t be learned in an apprenticeship.

Employment and Salary Information for Auto Mechanics in Alaska

There are many types of businesses where an auto mechanic can find employment at:

  • Dealerships,
  • Independent establishments
  • Body repair shops
  • Tire shops
  • Gas stations

Some specific job titles are:

  • Automotive service technicians, or auto mechanics
  • Diesel mechanics
  • Auto body and collision repair workers
  • Glass installers and repairers

Your salary will depend greatly on your experience, the number of certifications you have, as well as the niche in which you work.

If you want to earn even more, you could consider becoming a master auto mechanic.

Annual Salary Range:
$34K
$44K
$58K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Anchorage$44,618
Juneau$44,221
Fairbanks$44,434
Wasilla$44,016
Sitka$43,619
Ketchikan$43,619
Kenai$44,016
Palmer$44,016
Bethel$44,016
Kodiak$44,016

Additional Information about Auto Mechanics in Alaska

Those who want to become a master auto mechanic in Alaska will need to pass several ASE certifications in a single test series.

ASE already established the tests and the series for this distinction.

Here are some examples of series:

  • Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certification Test (L1)
  • Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification Test (L2)
  • Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist Test (L3)
  • Engine Machinist Certification Tests (M Series)
  • Parts Specialist Certification Tests (P Series)
  • School Bus Certification Tests (S Series)
  • Medium-Heavy Truck Certification Tests (T Series)
  • Undercar Specialist Exhaust Systems Test (X1)

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