How to Become an Auto Mechanic in Iowa

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How to Become an Auto Mechanic in Iowa

Auto mechanics have a lucrative occupation and plenty of chances to advance in their careers or run their own companies.

This article is for those who want to become auto mechanics in the State of Iowa.

We’ll tell you what training and diploma you need, as well as the expected salary.

Auto Mechanic Training in Iowa

There might have been a time when an apprenticeship was the main way of becoming a mechanic.

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Technology especially that used in making cars, has evolved greatly in the last 50 years or so.

This means that auto mechanics need a lot of knowledge and skills to be successful in this field.

Formal education became the norm when it comes to learning the ropes of this occupation.

The programs aimed at future auto mechanics last for about 2 years.

Graduates can earn either a certificate, a diploma, or an associate’s degree.

Those interested can consider one of these schools:

  • Marshalltown Community College
  • Iowa Lakes Community College
  • Southwestern Community College
  • Eastern Iowa Community College
  • Northeast Iowa Community College

The courses are called either Automotive Repair Technology or Automotive Mechanics Program.

All of them equip students with all the knowledge and skills needed for an entry-level position.

This is because they are approved by the  National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).

The Foundation is the body responsible for the criteria expected of such a training program.

Earning an ASE Certification

Earning an ASE certification is how individuals can set themselves apart when applying for a job.

These certifications are not mandatory upon hiring, but many employers will prefer certified candidates.

Here are some of the certifications you can earn:

  • Repair technician
  • Parts specialist
  • Collision damage estimator
  • Service consultant

Keep in mind that for this credential, you’ll usually have to accumulate 2 years of work experience and then pass an exam.

You can only take the exam in person at approved testing centers.

If you manage to get certified, you’ll have to re-take the exam every 5 years, to keep the certification.

You can also try to obtain more than 1 ASE certificate.

Individuals can also pass a series of ASE exams to become master auto mechanics.

The series of exams are pre-decided.

Here are some of the master certifications you can get:

  • Engine repair
  • Automatic Transmission/Transaxle
  • Manual drive train and axles
  • Suspension and steering
  • Brakes
  • Electrical/electronic systems
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Engine performance

You can also specialize in trucks, transit buses, medium-heavy trucks, and not only.

Earning a 609-Refrigerant Certification

Those who work with the heating and air conditioning system of a car, or MVAC, need to earn the 609-refrigerant certification.

To get this credential, you’re expected to attend a training course because you’ll be working with regulated and hazardous substances.

Fortunately, both the course and the exam you’ll have to pass, are available online.

There are two providers for this course:

  • EPA
  • ASE, with approval from EPA

This certification doesn’t expire.

Auto Mechanic Schools in Iowa

School Name Address
Midwest Diesel Tech Academy 2601 Voyager Ave, Sioux City, IA 51111
Automotive Technology 101 50th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Hawkeye Community College Main Campus 1501 E Orange Rd, Waterloo, IA 50701
Southwestern Community College 1501 W Townline St, Creston, IA 50801
Eastern Iowa Community College 101 W 3rd St, Davenport, IA 52801
Northwest Iowa Community College 603 W Park St, Sheldon, IA 51201
NIACC - North Iowa Area Community College 500 College Dr, Mason City, IA 50401
Iowa Western Community College 2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Southeastern Community College 1500 W Agency Rd, West Burlington, IA 52655
Marshalltown Community College 3700 S Center St, Marshalltown, IA 50158
Iowa Lakes Community College - Estherville Campus 300 S 18th St, Estherville, IA 51334
Indian Hills Community College 525 Grandview Ave, Ottumwa, IA 52501
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Employment and Salary Information for Auto Mechanics in Iowa

Here are some of the types of businesses hiring auto mechanics:

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

Not all positions will have the same title or duties.

Here are some job titles you’ll see in ads:

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

Generally, the duties will depend on position to position.

Sometimes, clients will have specific requests while at other times you’ll have to discover what needs to be done to the vehicle.

When you just start working you’ll earn less compared to a seasoned mechanic, though in some cities salaries tend to be overall higher.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Des Moines $38,742
Cedar Rapids $38,063
Davenport $38,179
Sioux City $34,144
Iowa City $37,750
Waterloo $36,398
Ames $38,381
West Des Moines $38,742
Council Bluffs $37,928
Ankeny $38,742

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA200$47,330$22.76$66,560$29,240
Cedar Rapids, IA650$48,840$23.48$71,540$29,380
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL980$47,910$23.03$69,810$28,790
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA1,640$49,260$23.68$76,630$29,420
Dubuque, IA270$47,750$22.96$73,640$29,430
Iowa City, IA350$48,410$23.27$73,500$30,110
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD420$47,430$22.8$66,320$29,570
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA390$47,350$22.77$70,940$29,270
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, OCC Code 49-3023, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Additional Information about Auto Mechanics in Iowa

As an auto mechanic, you can also earn a manufacturer-specific certification.

This way, you’ll know the ins and outs of specific car brands, such as:

  • Diagnosis of problems
  • Repair procedure
  • Design of engine
  • Fuel demands
  • Vehicle safety system
  • Electrical parts

With such a diploma you can easier find work in dealerships or within the company issuing the certification.

It is preferred to first gain general knowledge related to the above-mentioned aspects, and then to specialize in a specific brand.

This certification is also not mandatory unless you want to work with a specific car brand.

USA Mechanic Schools by City

USA Mechanic Schools by State

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