Your complete mechanic job overview
Mechanic job highlights
- On average, mechanics make $16 per hour
- About 70 percent of auto mechanics work in shops, dealerships or in parts stores
- Most mechanics have some sort of formal training
What do mechanics do?
There are few feelings worse than walking out of an auto mechanic's garage a few hundred dollars poorer than when you walked in. It's no wonder that just about every person who owns a car also wishes they were a mechanic. Becoming an auto technician will not only allow you to flex your problem solving muscle (that's the one on your right leg behind your knee cap), but you'll also get to help out the little guy by cutting him a break on his auto repair bill (a guy can dream, right?).
Nearly 70 percent of auto mechanics work in shops, for dealerships or in parts stores (like Goodyear). No matter where you work you'll be performing basic auto care maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations, in addition to diagnosing more complex problems ("my engine makes a wirrhhh vroom clink bang broop broop broop noise when I turn the key - is that bad?"), and then fixing them.
You'll need to be a focused problem solver who works well independently. Being reliable is key because the shop owner or manager will need to be able to trust you to get things done in a timely manner. Many of the diagnostic tests run by mechanics are computerized, so being comfortable with technology and adapting to change easily will be important. Generally you'll be working indoors in a well ventilated area but you'll be on your feet, stooping, crouching, and lifting heavy objects all day so be sure you're up to the task.
How much do mechanics make?
The average hourly pay for a mechanic is around $16 per hour. Like in most jobs, pay will vary by skill level, experience and location but you could eventually make upwards of $25 per hour.
What are the education requirements to be a mechanic?
A high school diploma or GED is necessary for most auto technician positions. For these entry-level positions training may be required. Some employers offer on-site training or apprenticeships, but many will want you to have successfully completed a vocational program before they hire you. These programs will provide you a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on practice so you can learn to fix any problem that comes your way.
Career paths for mechanics
Typically a hard-working mechanic will be promoted to team leader or a manager position after a few years on the job. Most auto mechanic managers are grouped together into a geographic region which is led by a district manager. An ambitious and successful mechanic may be able to move into this high-level management role after working as a team leader.
The future of mechanics
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for mechanics are growing slower than normal. The good news is that as many experienced technicians retire, there will be more opportunities. If you complete a postsecondary training program, your chances of getting a job are even better.