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 median annual salary of an automotive mechanic was $36,610 in 2012, which amounts to $17.60 per hour (www.bls.gov). The top 10% of automotive mechanics and service technicians earned a median wage of $28.88 per hour, while the lowest 10% made a median hourly wage of $10.01. 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 2012, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists received a median annual salary of $42,320, or $20.35 per hour. The middle half of bus and truck mechanics earned between $16.18 and $25.45 hourly. Most of these jobs were in freight trucking, auto repair and maintenance shops, vehicle parts suppliers and local government.
Aircraft mechanics earned a median wage of $26.25 hourly, or $54,590 annually, as reported by the BLS in May 2012. Aircraft mechanics working for couriers and express delivery services companies earned the highest among all aircraft mechanics, with an average yearly salary of $76,440.
Industrial Machinery Mechanics
The BLS noted that industrial machinery mechanics received a median annual wage of $46,920 as of 2012, or $22.56 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.
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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