How Much Does a Mechanic Make?

Mechanics generally maintain and repair mechanical systems. Continue reading for an overview of the training, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

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 mechanics without formal training. Mechanics generally learn their trade through on-the-job training or some postsecondary education.

Career Automotive Mechanic Bus and Truck Mechanic Aircraft Mechanic Industrial Machinery Mechanic
Required Education High school diploma, on-the-job training High school diploma, on-the-job training FAA-approved training program or on-the-job training High school diploma, on-the-job training
Other Requirements Licensure and/or certification Optional certification Recommended FAA certification n/a
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 9% 9% 2% 19%
Median Salary (2013)* $36,710 $42,730 $55,980 $47,910

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Information and Career Options

Mechanics can work on a variety of equipment, including cars, diesel buses and trucks, aircraft and industrial machines. The type of equipment a mechanic works on generally defines his or her career requirements and salary potential. Read on to learn about mechanics salaries and job requirements.

Automotive Mechanics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary of an automotive mechanic was $36,710 in 2013, which amounts to $17.65 per hour (www.bls.gov). The top 10% of automotive mechanics and service technicians earned $29.43 or more per hour, while the lowest 10% made an hourly wage of $10.06 or less. Most of these mechanics worked in automotive repair and maintenance shops, auto dealerships and automotive parts stores.

Bus and Truck Mechanics

The BLS cited that, as of May 2013, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists received a median annual salary of $42,730, or $20.54 per hour. The middle half of bus and truck mechanics earned between $16.34 and $25.78 hourly. Most of these jobs were in freight trucking, auto repair and maintenance shops, vehicle parts suppliers and local government.

Aircraft Mechanics

Aircraft mechanics earned a median wage of $26.91 hourly, or $55,980 annually, as reported by the BLS in May 2013. Aircraft mechanics working for semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing companies earned the highest among all aircraft mechanics, with an average yearly salary of $89,460.

Industrial Machinery Mechanics

The BLS noted that industrial machinery mechanics received a median annual wage of $47,910 as of 2013, or $23.03 per hour. Most such mechanics worked in either commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance, or for machinery, equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers.

Career Requirements

Training

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.

Certification

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. Mechanics who work on aircraft may be required to seek FAA airframe and powerplant mechanics certifications.

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