Auto mechanics and service technicians have fast-paced jobs working at auto companies, dealerships, auto part stores, and repair shops. You’ll work on motors, transmissions, drive belts, and more, and you will need to be proficient in the increasing technology of the automotive industry: Many components of the car are controlled by computers and electronic components, and even more will be in the coming years.
Between now and 2026, the job outlook is expected to rise 6 percent. While that may not seem like a lot, it’s on par with the average for all occupations. People will always need car repairs, and car repairs require your expertise. There will be almost 46K new jobs opening through 2026 and, as long as you have the right qualifications, you should have plenty of job opportunities available.
What Is The Salary Of An Auto Mechanic?
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for an auto mechanic is $39,550. The highest earners make roughly $64,430 per year, while entry-level auto mechanics will bring home $22,610. Most auto mechanics can easily work 40 hours a week plus overtime hours, but slow days do happen, and your check will reflect the slump.
Mechanics typically work under an hourly rate or a flat rate.
Hourly rate means you are paid for the time you are clocked in. No matter how short or long a job takes you, you’ll get paid for those exact hours.
Flat rate mechanics get paid by the job. If a job is estimated to take one hour, yet you have to spend three on it, you only get paid for one hour. But flat rate pay can work in your favor: If a job is estimated to take three hours to complete, and you finish in one hour, you still get paid for three. Employers will make sure you aren’t doing sloppy repairs to take advantage of the structure.
Most dealerships use flat rate compensation, while hourly pay is most common in smaller independent shops.
Increasing Your Income
No matter what your starting pay is or the pay structure you're under, there will come a time where you are ready to make more money. Here are some ways how.
Auto mechanics who have post-secondary education and are certified will have a higher chance of being employed and paid more than those who learned the trade through hands-on experience. Receiving certification from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence is attractive to potential employers, and will earn you about 20-30 percent more than a mechanic who is not ASE certified.
Choose a niche
The more specialized you are as an auto mechanic, the more marketable you are, which can lead to larger paychecks. Specializing in electric or luxury cars is something to consider. BMW technicians can make upwards of $120,000 a year with the right qualifications.
Also, being brand-specific can help raise your income. You’ll be extremely familiar with the problems that come in and be able to diagnose and fix them that much faster, which really adds up on a flat rate pay structure.
Do more than the required
Keeping up with the latest trends in automotive technology repairs as well as continuing your education through classes will keep you fresh and in demand. Employers like to see initiative, and having drive to learn more can set you apart from colleagues.
In addition, being thorough and staying honest with your client base will guarantee repeat customers who, through word of mouth, will bring in more clients in need of car repairs. Take time to answer all of your clients’ questions, and ask what else you can do for them. They will appreciate the effort.
Go After What You Want
Your career and salary as a mechanic will be as enjoyable and profitable as you make them. If you want the better position or bigger check, then additional training, specializations, and a great work ethic and attitude will get you there. Ready to get started? Find an auto mechanic school near you.