Mechanics make a range of salaries based on the industry and exact profession, but they usually fall within the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Learn about education requirements, salary statistics and the nature of the work to decide if this is the right career for you.
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 (2014-2024)*||5%||12% (for all bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists)||1%||18%|
|_Median Salary (2015)*||$37,850||$44,520||$58,370||$49,690|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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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.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary of an automotive mechanic was $37,850 in 2015, which amounts to $18.20 per hour (www.bls.gov). The top 10% of automotive mechanics and service technicians earned $30.45 or more per hour, while the lowest 10% made an hourly wage of $10.11 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 2015, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists received a median annual salary of $44,520, or $21.40 per hour. The middle half of bus and truck mechanics earned between $16.96 and $26.90 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 2015.
Industrial Machinery Mechanics
The BLS noted that industrial machinery mechanics received a median annual wage of $49,690 as of 2015, or $23.89 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. Mechanics who work on aircraft may be required to seek FAA airframe and powerplant mechanics certifications.
While mechanics' salaries differ based on the type of repair they perform, their earnings can be increased by additional schooling, experience and optional professional certification. While important, earnings are just one of the factors you should consider when deciding on a career path.