The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a fantastic resource to find the latest data and information about any industry that large enough to be a unit of analysis. One of these is the automotive service technician industry, which contains and is made up of those who work in auto repair. This service is massively essential to the economy of the United States as it is the only industry that repairs the vehicles that other industry employees use to get to and from the workplace. It also repairs and maintains the vehicles that are used to transport goods and services throughout the United States, from coast to coast.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the auto repair industry is projected to grow at 17% over a range of a 10-year period. This is slightly faster than average, though with the constant yearly stream of new automobiles that are introduced to the marketplace this year, this growth rate is rather normal. The industry currently employs around 723,400 people throughout the country that make an average of $17.21 per hour, or $35,790 per year. While union membership and wages can skew the numbers, these are the average wages of those that operate in this industry. As inflation increases and more customers are likely to enter the industry over the next ten years, wages are likely to increase along this trendline.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics note that many of these workers operate in uncomfortable positions with sometimes dangerous tools and equipment, the industry has made great strides in making the workplace safe for those workers. New innovations in protective gear continue to make the workplace safe for auto repair technicians and their managers in these environments. While the BLS also noted that most employees have a high school degree or equivalent, most hiring customers and their employees prefer technicians who have underwent a degree program or certification course in a specialized field. Those who belong to Unions often find convenience and cost efficient programs that they can attend while working in this field. Nevertheless, attending school while working and maintaining a family continues to be one of the most major challenges for the American worker.
Because this industry is projected to grow by nearly one-fifth of its 2010 size by the year 2020, many of these employees are attempting to certify themselves in detailed and specialized fields to maintain a competitive edge over others. This not only ensures that their wages are likely to increase, but that their knowledge helps to maintain vehicles to the benefit of an increasing amount of customers the industry will serve. As more employees are eager to gain this certification, more schools and community college trade programs are being formed to supply this demand. Those who work in this field who have the time and energy to attend a certificate program will likely have a competitive edge over new employees entering the industry.