How Much Does a Mechanic Make?
Mechanics service and repair various types of equipment, ranging from industrial machinery to aircraft engines. Wages differ based on the industry, skills required and duties performed. Mechanics who have completed a formal training program may receive higher wages than do mechanics without formal training.
Salary Information for Mechanics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average hourly wage of an automotive mechanic was $18.21 in 2009 (www.bls.gov). The top ten percent of automotive mechanics earned a median wage of $28.81 per hour, while the lowest ten percent made a median hourly wage of $9.54. Automotive mechanics who were employed in the aerospace parts manufacturing industry earned the highest wages, with average earnings of $31.87 an hour or $66,290 annually.
Bus and Truck Mechanics
The BLS cited that, as of May 2009, bus and truck mechanics received mean hourly wages of $20.00. The middle half of bus and truck mechanics earned between $12.78 and $28.70. Those employed in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry earned the highest wages, with annual salaries of $60,240 or $28.96 per hour.
Aircraft mechanics averaged $25.47 hourly or $52,970 annually, as reported by the BLS in 2009. Mechanics working for express delivery services companies earned the highest among all aircraft mechanics, with average hourly earnings of $40.83.
Industrial Machinery Mechanics
The BLS noted that industrial machinery mechanics received mean hourly wages of $22.19 through May 2009. The median earnings were $21.38 per hour or $44,470 per year. Industrial machinery mechanics in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry received the highest earnings, with hourly mean wages of $31.43.
Prospective mechanics may look to junior colleges and vocational schools to receive training in the specific field of repair they wish to pursue. These institutions offer certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in automotive technology and diesel repair to help aspiring mechanics gain the knowledge they need to enter the field. While intermediate and advanced courses differ by industry, most programs begin with introductory courses in blueprint reading, electronic circuits and control systems.
Mechanics may also learn the necessary skills through on-the-job training or apprenticeships under the supervision of more experienced technicians. Mechanics-in-training often begin by performing routine work, like greasing parts, changing filters or replacing batteries.
Mechanics who have the required skills, education and experience may consider earning voluntary certifications, like those offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Certifications may help mechanics increase their employment opportunities and pay rates.
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