Job search FAQs
Frequently asked questions about Mechanic jobs
Some examples of types of mechanics include collision repair technician, small engine mechanic, diesel mechanic, motorcycle mechanic or auto mechanic. Depending on their specialty and where they work, they could have a variety of day-to-day tasks.
For the most part, mechanic duties consist of performing routine maintenance, repairing or replacing broken parts, engines or other pieces, ordering new parts, tracking and managing inventory, and checking parts to ensure working order.
Additionally, they are expected to perform some administrative tasks such as keeping extensive records on work completed, ordering supplies or new parts, answering phones, responding to emails, scheduling appointments, and more.
They also work regularly with customers, providing quotes for parts and labor and communicating problems and solutions.
The minimum requirement for a mechanic position is typically a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some employers prefer to hire someone who has completed a certification or associate's degree in automotive technology or a related field.
Additionally, if you want to specialize in a particular machine or specialty, you may want to pursue further education or formal training in that field to have the experience and education you need.
Once you meet the education, training, or certifications requirements, you’ll likely start your career as an intern or in an entry-level position. Then, once you’re hired, many companies require you to spend at least two years as an apprentice before you start working on your own. This training program partners you with an experienced mechanic who helps train you further.
Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship and feel prepared, you can apply for open mechanic positions.
Requirements for a mechanic role can vary by company and specialty, but many require the same basic things like:
A high school diploma or equivalent
Certification from a vocational or trade school in automotive technology.
2+ years experience in a similar role.
In-depth knowledge of vehicle diagnostic equipment and mechanical systems.
Excellent vision and hand-eye coordination.
Experience providing great customer service.
Proven ability to diagnose and repair vehicles while following all safety instructions and directions.
The company may ask for experience in performing specific tasks that are related to the particular job, or for additional licenses or endorsements depending on the type of vehicle or machine you’ll be working with.
The job description should clearly outline requirements, but if you have questions, ask the hiring manager.
Location, years of experience, skills and expertise, and certifications are all taken into consideration when developing a mechanic’s salary. While salaries can range from minimum wage to $50 per hour or more, the average salary for a mechanic is around $21 per hour.
Keep in mind wages can also vary depending on how the company pays employees, meaning if they pay hourly or a flat salary.
Interview questions vary, but you can expect a mix of general questions, ones about your background and experience, and in-depth or job-specific queries.
Knowing what types of questions may be asked, and preparing answers ahead of time, can help you succeed in your interview:
What do you think are the main responsibilities of a mechanic?
How would you diagnose a vehicle issue?
What is your experience with working with X or Y machines/parts/vehicles?
Why do you think customer service skills are important for a mechanic to have?
How would you encourage customers to maintain their vehicles?
How do you prioritize customers and repairs on a busy day?
What types of repairs and maintenance do you have experience with? What type of repair do you specialize in?
There are several qualities and skills a good mechanic will have to be successful in their role. Some of the best qualities or traits include:
A mechanic’s skills should focus on diagnosing and repairing issues, performing routine maintenance, and customer service. These can include:
Time management skills
The skills gained by working as a mechanic translate well to other technical jobs where you’d be working on similar or different types of machinery. For example, you may start as an auto mechanic and move into a diesel service mechanic or heavy vehicle service technician role.
Some mechanics also go back to school for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in mechanical engineering to become a mechanical engineer or technician.
If you stay in the same specialty or field, you have the opportunity to advance as well. You may start as a level one technician doing maintenance work, and work your way to become a level four master technician. You could also become a shop supervisor or manager, overseeing the other mechanics in the location and taking care of a broader range of tasks and administrative duties.
Mechanics typically work full-time, or up to 40 hours per week minimum, but frequently are allowed to work overtime. They may work during weekdays or weekends depending on the location and specialty. You may also work evenings if your shop has extended hours.
Mechanics likely spend the majority of their time working in a garage, though they may have to work in an office setting or a job site.
Service shops can be owned and operated by a single mechanic, or mechanics could work at a dealership. You may be working alongside many other mechanics with a variety of skill sets and expertise, or with just one or two others at smaller shops.
Being a mechanic is a dirty job, and you’ll likely be covered in grease, dirt, and other fluids that can come from a vehicle or machine. Shops can also be loud and poorly ventilated but are typically well-lit.