10 Best Mechanic Schools in California 2024 | Requirements & Cost

Here is the best guide on the auto mechanic schools in California and the requirements you need to apply to become an automotive technician.

Do you need a guide on the requirements to apply to California’s best auto mechanic schools to train to become an automotive engineer?

Are you searching for the best automotive schools to help you carve out a career in the mechanical sector in CA?

We have done our research and come up with the best schools, colleges, and universities in California that will train you to become an auto mechanic.

We have also made provision for you to access the school of your choice after you have given it proper consideration.


Let’s get started!!!

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Table of Contents

Who is an Auto Mechanic?

Your car breaks down, and you start fixing it. You think you fixed it, right? Then it breaks down again a few days later; you call someone who can fix it perfectly and get it working in no time.

Such a person is an auto mechanic, and they can be referred to as a mechanic, automotive technician, or service technician. But in this article, we will use the terms “auto mechanic” and “mechanical technician.” 

Behind every car or truck is an auto mechanic who keeps such vehicles running.

Auto mechanics work inside mechanic shops, auto dealerships, and other garages to diagnose and repair car and truck trouble.

Their specific duties vary based on their training and area of focus or concentration. Also, auto mechanics check vehicles for mechanical problems and test systems for malfunctions. They put together reports of car problems and estimate parts and costs needed for their repair.

It is of utmost importance to know that there are various career opportunities available to an auto mechanic at the end of the academic program.

So if you want to pursue a career in auto mechanics and are skeptical about the employment opportunity, fear no more because you won’t look for a job in CA.

But first things first, you have to enroll in any of the best auto mechanic schools if you want to train as an automotive technician in California.

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What are the Various Types of Auto Mechanics?

Auto mechanics is a broad field; as such, you have to know the specifics to know what specialty suits your skills and interests best.

This will also influence the auto mechanic and automotive schools you should be looking out for in California (CA).

The various types of auto mechanics are

#1. Motorcycle Mechanic

A motorcycle mechanic is specially and specifically trained to maintain, repair, and diagnose all motorcycle systems, including the engine, brakes, suspension, lights, indication, and fuel.

Certifications are typically done through the manufacturers. Motorcycle mechanics can also attend schools to learn the field and become experts. They earn an annual salary of about $38,000.

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#2. Boat Mechanics

Boat mechanic responsibilities include repairing, maintaining, and troubleshooting boats’ engines, propellers, and steering systems. They can get jobs independently or at boat companies.

Depending on the type of boat or repair, boat mechanics could work indoors or outdoors. Boat mechanics typically have to do on-site repairs for large boats with specific problems. They can gain more experience through apprenticeships or school programs.

Not many automotive schools in California offer boat repair training and the ones that do are usually located near coastal areas. Their average annual salary is approximately $38,000.

#3. Auto Body Mechanics

Auto body mechanics repair automobiles that have been in a collision or some other type of incident. They perform major or minor repairs such as scratches, dents, and structural replacement. They can also perform paint jobs and change the outlook of a vehicle.

While some auto body mechanics learn on the job, most employers prefer they attend a formal trade, technical school, or community college. In California, these auto mechanic programs and schools can take six months and two years to complete.

Because automobile technology is constantly advancing, auto body mechanics must receive ongoing training. They can be certified through the ASE program, hence the need to attend any auto mechanic school in California. Auto body mechanics have an average annual salary of $37,000.

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#4. Tire Mechanics

A tire mechanic performs repairs, maintenance, and replacement of tires on various vehicles; there is no limitation to the kind of vehicle a tire mechanic can work on. As long as a vehicle has tires, the tire mechanic is the perfect man for the job. They perform routine inspections of tires for proper inflation, wear, or any other abnormalities.

Tire mechanics must also be proficient at removing tires from the rim and balancing them appropriately. They also must know how to install and torque the wheel per manufacturer specifications properly. This job can be very physically demanding.

Formal education typically isn’t a must, but some employers may require certifications. They have an average hourly wage of $13.71

#5. Auto Glass Mechanics

Auto glass mechanics remove, install, and repair vehicle glass. They usually get jobs at a repair shop or manufacturing facility. If working in a manufacturing facility, they will install windshields and all other glass on new vehicles and vehicles whose glass is damaged.

This job usually requires a certificate in auto glass installation or collision and repair. Certificates can be obtained through trade schools, community colleges, or manufacturers. Auto glass mechanics in shops primarily repair or replace broken windshields or other auto glass. They typically provide mobile and in-shop repairs.

It can take six months to a year to master this job and get certificates. Mechanics are usually paid more because of the complicated and efficient nature of the job. These mechanics also perform glass weatherproofing duties. They treat the auto glass with a chemical to withstand heavy rain and snow.

These technicians also have to receive continual training as glass technology constantly evolves. The average annual salary for auto glass mechanics is $41,000.

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#6. Race Car Auto Mechanics

Race car mechanics have similar duties to auto mechanics, except they work on higher-performance cars. They are responsible for all car repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. They work closely with the driver to find ways to improve the performance of the car constantly.

Race car mechanics also perform pit-stop repairs. This job requires a combination of formal education and extensive on-the-job training. Race car mechanics work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. They also must be innovative and have robust mechanical understanding and knowledge.

Most race car auto mechanics don’t work for significant teams or automakers. These types of auto mechanics have an average annual salary of $36,000.

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Is Becoming an Auto Mechanic a Good Career Choice in 2024

With the recent development in the number of vehicles, one can say that becoming an auto mechanic is a good career choice in 2024. Mechanics may work in various settings, including gas stations, automotive parts stores, accessory stores, and tire stores, so there is no limitation to where they can work or are expected to work.

However, most get jobs in automobile dealerships or the auto mechanic repair and maintenance industry. Instead of only working with vehicles with diesel engines like those found in trucks, auto mechanics work on and inspect all vehicles, not just those with diesel engines.

Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 0.3 percent increase in auto mechanics in the country. Two thousand one hundred new jobs are expected to be created during that period.

But before joining the California workforce, you must train to become an automotive technician in any of the best auto mechanic schools and colleges with the proper requirements you need to apply.

What are the Requirements Needed for One to Become an Auto Mechanic in California?

To become an auto mechanic in California, you must attend any accredited automotive school, college, or university in the state.

One aspiring to become an auto mechanic must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Also, prospective auto mechanics must pursue additional training to increase their marketability to potential employers.

When hiring an auto mechanic, many employers prefer to hire someone who has completed an apprenticeship or postsecondary learning program at a vocational school or postsecondary learning institution, such as a college or a university. Auto mechanics must complete on-the-job training as part of a formal education program.

The hands-on experience gained by these newcomers over two to five years allows them to become fully-fledged technicians. They typically start as trainee auto mechanics, technician’s assistants, or lubrication workers, during which time they will learn virtually every type of repair in a one- to two-year period.

Newly hired auto mechanics should pursue industry certification as soon as hired to improve their future job prospects in terms of opportunities and pay.

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How Do I Become an Auto Mechanic in California?

You don’t just become an auto mechanic overnight. You have to be trained to be qualified and regarded as one. To become an auto mechanic in California, you will need to be admitted into any technical school or college to study to become an automotive technician.

The program you select is determined by the amount of education you hope to obtain. You can get a certificate as an auto mechanic or pursue an associate’s degree. You can also pursue a bachelor’s degree if you want to study more.

Now, to be admitted to any of the auto mechanic and automotive schools of your choice in California, you must first apply and then absolve.

The criteria include the following:

  • Good at math
  • Good with physics
  • Computer proficient
  • A high school graduate or have a GED

What Auto Mechanic and Automotive Programs Exist in California?

You must be certain that you enroll in a program approved by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF).

Associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs are at least two years long.

Other Programs you can attend as an aspiring auto mechanic include:

  • The Chrysler Automotive Program (CAP)
  • The Import Technician Training Program (ITTP)
  • The General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program (ASEP)
  • The Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) Program

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What Type of Auto Mechanic License Exists for Auto Mechanics in California?

In California, you are not required or expected to get this certification. However, you will be able to get employed much easier if you have it, so it is very important.

At the end of your auto mechanic program, you will be licensed to go and start working as an auto mechanic. You will be certified with an ASE certification.

You must pass one of the 50 exams to get an ASE certification.

The requirements to get this certification include the following:

  • Two years of related work experience
  • Other certification or an associate’s degree

To keep this certification up to date, you will have to retake the test once every 5 years.

But in California, you can choose from one of the following exam categories:

  • Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification Test (G1)
  • Automobile & Light Truck Certification Tests (A Series)
  • Collision Repair & Refinish Certification Tests (B Series)
  • Damage Analysis & Estimating Certification Test (B6)
  • Automobile Service Consultant Certification Test (C1)
  • Truck Equipment Certification Tests (E Series)
  • Alternate Fuels Certification Test (F1)
  • Transit Bus Certification Tests (H 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)

Unlike other exams you can take online and anywhere, the ASE test must be done in person.

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Top 10 Best Auto Mechanic Schools in California 

#1. Pasadena City College, CA

Pasadena City College offers four automotive degree programs. It’s a very large, public, two-year college in a midsize city. In 2020, a total of 125 auto mechanics students graduated, earning 121 Certificates and 4 associate’s degrees.

Pasadena City College offers 4 automotive degree programs. The college has accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

With a variety of auto mechanics programs to choose from on this note, PASADENA gives nothing but the best.


#2. Cerritos College Norwalk, CA

Cerritos College offers five various auto mechanics degree programs. It’s an extensive, public two-year college in a large suburb. In 2020, 69 auto mechanics students graduated, earning 40 Certificates and 29 Associate’s degrees.

With a total enrollment of 20,406. Cerritos College was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. with a provision of financial aid and assistance. In Cerritos, every student’s dream is valid.

Here you get the best training as an auto mechanic.


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#3. Universal Technical Institute of Northern California: Sacramento, CA

Get auto mechanic training in less than a year. This College is a private for-profit system of technical colleges throughout the United States. It is also one of the auto mechanic and automotive schools in California.

The school offers specialized technical education programs under the banner of several brands, including Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI), MIAT College of Technology (MIAT), and NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI).

Universal Technical Institute was founded in 1965. UTI expanded its programs with additional curricula and opened various new campuses, growing internally and through acquisitions. Looking for an Institution with a historical background and a touch of excellence you have it  ‘ UTI ‘


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#4. Fresno City College Automotive Tech; Cucamonga CA

Here, you will receive the most current training developed in cooperation with the community and industry representatives in the Auto Mechanic Technology program.

You will be trained with state-of-the-art tools, equipment, and technology that is state-of-the-art and ensures that you are workforce ready, employable, and qualified for appropriate certifications in auto mechanic technology, advanced technology vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, and diesel Technology.


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#5. Los Angeles Trade–Technical College

Los Angeles Trade–Technical College (L.A. Trade–Tech, LATTC) is a public community college in Los Angeles, California.

It offers academic courses for 4-year colleges and various vocational training programs, including auto mechanics.

It is part of the Los Angeles Community College District and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. 

Its headquarters are in downtown Los Angeles. Over the past seventy-seven years, LACCD has served as an educator to more than three million students. In addition to typical college-aged students, the college also serves adults of all ages: over half of all students are older than 25, and more than a quarter are 35 or older.

The college educates almost three times as many Latino students and nearly four times as many African-American students as the campuses of the University of California combined. Eighty percent of students are from underserved populations.

The Los Angeles Community College District is the largest community college district in the United States, one of the largest in the world, and one of the best mechanic and automotive schools in California. This college is rooted in its historical background, so if you are looking for a college to assist you in not forgetting your identity.  I believe you know the answer.


#6. Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) is a public community college in Santa Rosa, California. With an additional campus in Petaluma and centers in surrounding Sonoma County.

Santa Rosa Junior College was initially modeled as a feeder school for the University of California system (a “junior” version of the nearby University of California, Berkeley, with the Bear Cub mascot modeled after Oski).

The Sonoma County Community College District operates SRJC. Founded in 1918, Santa Rosa Junior College is the tenth-oldest community college in the state. Here you have an opportunity to pick any area of interest in auto mechanics of your choice.

In due time, you can become a grandmaster in auto mechanics. If that is the goal, let Santa Rosa Junior College guide you. 


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#7. Chaffey College Rancho Cucamonga CA

Chaffey College offers four different auto mechanic degree programs. It’s a large, public, two-year college in a large suburb.

In 2020, 86 automotive students graduated, earning 73 certificates and 13 Associate’s degrees. What is better than becoming a Professor in Auto mechanics!!


#8. Cypress College; Cypress CA

Cypress College is a public community college located in Cypress, California, and one of the best automotive schools in the California Mechanic schools and colleges list.

It is part of the California Community Colleges System and belongs to the North Orange County Community College District. It offers a variety of general education (55 associate degrees), transfer courses (58 transfer majors), and 145 vocational programs leading to associate degrees and certificates, with auto mechanics being ranked the highest.

A college that accommodates transfer students even for auto mechanics. If you are an auto mechanic student who wants to transfer and have a fresh start in auto mechanics, don’t sigh anymore because, at Cypress College, your sighs become smiles.


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#9. American River Junior College; Sacramento CA

This college was opened in 1955 as American River Junior College on the old Grant Technical College site. It moved to its current location in 1958, occupying eight newly built office complexes and the original Cameron ranch house.

This college enrolls about 35,000 full-time and part-time students, making it one of the largest community colleges in California. The college also offers three types of online learning: online, hybrid, and web-enhanced. With state-of-the-art materials and an auto mechanic factory for auto mechanic students, the college encourages practicals among students. 


#10. Citrus College; Glendora CA

Citrus College is a public community college in Glendora, California. The Citrus College is the oldest community college in Los Angeles County, California, and the fifth oldest in California.

Until 1961, the school was operated by the Citrus Union High School District and served the local area as both a high school and a junior college. The college has Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation. Its professional memberships include the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Community College League of California (CCLC).

The college comprises various technical academic programs, with auto mechanics topping the list. This institution doesn’t just give the best; it is the best, and being the best in auto mechanics, it gives nothing less. Hence, it is one of the best California automotive schools.


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Are There Apprenticeship Programs Available For Auto mechanics in Auto mechanics In California? 

The auto mechanic process requires time spent on the job and in-school training. An auto mechanic trainee must complete a four-year program, including 6,360 workplace hours and 840 in-school hours of training.

After completion of training, a passing grade on inter-provincial exams will result in the BC Certificate of Apprenticeship and the Certificate of Qualification, with Red Seal Interprovincial Certification.

Yes, there are apprenticeship programs available to auto mechanics. All aspiring auto mechanics should complete the apprenticeship program before setting out to work independently or for an auto mechanic company.

How Much Do Auto Mechanics Make In California?

The average salary for an auto mechanic in California is $43,000. An auto mechanic’s salary typically ranges from $22,000 to $62,000. The best-paid 10% of auto mechanics make over $60,000 annually, and the lowest-paid 10% make less than $20,000 annually.

Factors that can affect an auto mechanic’s income include their state, their level of experience and training, and whether or not they are self-employed or employed by a larger company.

For example: In 2014, the median annual wage for auto mechanics was about $37k ($17hr). It’s worth noting that auto mechanics can earn additional money every time they fix something on someone’s car. Some refer to this as “gratuity” or a “tip.”

Auto Mechanics typically receive tips of around $10-$15 per job.

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Frequently Asked Questions About California Best Auto Mechanic Colleges and Automotive Schools

Do You Need a Degree to Become an Auto Mechanic in California?

Yes, you do need a degree not just for having a degree’s sake. But for better business opportunities as an Auto mechanic. 

Do You Need a Working License to Start Working as an Auto Mechanic in California?

You need a working license to start working. The ASE certification. It gives clients trust in any auto mechanics regarding any auto mechanic work, and it also serves as a confidence boost to the auto mechanic. 

How Much Does an Auto Mechanic Make Per Hour in California?

As of Oct 3, 2022, the average annual pay for the Auto Mechanic jobs category in California is $41,080 a year.  In case you need a simple salary calculator, to help with the calculation that works out to be approximately $19.75 an hour. This is the equivalent of $790/week or $3,423/month.

Are there Auto Mechanics Jobs that Pay Over 100k Per Year in California?

Yes, they are but it doesn’t come easy. You have to be qualified and trained to be able to make such an amount or even more than that.

Can Ladies and Women Study Auto Mechanics?

Anyone can be an auto mechanic.  Gender can never and will never be a limitation so yes ladies can become auto mechanics with the right training and qualifications.

How Long Does the Training to Become an Auto Mechanic Take?

The training to become a qualified auto mechanic takes a maximum of 3 years and a minimum of 6 months. All these training sessions are definitely rigorous and draining but any aspiring auto mechanic upon completion of the course becomes a certified auto mechanic. Congratulations in advance as you start your auto mechanic academic and vocational program. 


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