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There is no doubt that a lot of us like to tinker with our cars. It comes along with the curiosity of how things work. Some turn that tinkering into an auto maintenance job in hopes of turning a passion into a career and earning a handsome paycheck. 

Becoming a car mechanic is not for everyone, but if you love cars, it is something to consider. For those who have that curiosity, are willing to work hard, and aren’t afraid of getting dirty, it could be your calling.

The duties of car mechanics

An auto mechanic changes the tires on a car
A mechanic changing the tires on a car | Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

Car mechanics typically take on a lot of different duties. It partially depends upon where you work. Some mechanic job locations include working at a general auto service shop, a car dealership, or even being a mobile mechanic.

Duties also depend upon schooling, experience, and the type of work that interests you along with any desire for advancement, according to U.S. Mechanic. Some mechanics work on older vehicles, others on newer models.

Entry-level positions can start with oil changes and tire repairs. This can lead to diagnosing and performing more difficult types of service. The more you learn and the more experiences you have, the more you can control your future.

Education, training, and experience

There is no exact path to becoming a car mechanic. There is no rule that you need to start right out of high school. In fact, there are cases of great car technicians that don’t get started in the field until they were in their 30s or 40s. Technical schools offer a lot of training and associate degrees are offered in automotive technology. 

Attending technical school or obtaining an associate degree will expose you to a variety of options within the mechanical field, according to Trade School Future. You will also become familiar with all the tools of the trade and all types of automotive parts. These experiences can help you decide what you are comfortable with and what type of position you want to work toward.

Becoming certified in one or more of the nine areas offered through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence will boost your job level and your pay. If you want to work for a particular automotive company also look to its individualized certification process.

What are the typical car mechanic benefits and salary?

One of the first perks you will receive from working in car mechanics goes back to the fact that you like to tinker with cars. As a car mechanic, you will get paid to do just that. You will also have job stability. There is a continual need for auto mechanics.

Breaking into car mechanics is pretty easy. While it helps to have higher levels of education, you can get into the automotive repair job market through an apprenticeship and/or an entry-level position with just your high school degree.

Becoming an automotive mechanic can open doors to working on other vehicles as well such as trucks, buses, construction equipment, boats, and airplanes. 

Salaries for auto mechanics can vary between states. Those states that need more mechanics the most are apt to have the highest salaries. Entry-level mechanics can earn substantial raises as they further their knowledge and gain more experience. 

The national average salary of an auto mechanic is above $41,000 per year, according to ZipRecruiter. In Hawaii, where there is the highest demand for mechanics in the country, the salary average is $46,500.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island are not far behind. In other states such as California, the average pay is $18.63 per hour. In Texas, the average hourly wage for an auto mechanic is $16.90.

Working your way up to an automotive service manager position is well worth the effort if you are so inclined. You take on more responsibility but benefit from a large salary bump. The national average for that a service manager comes in just shy of $70,000 per year. 

Working in the car mechanics field can be rewarding and fun while earning a steady, healthy income. If you like to tinker with cars, this might be a career path for you to look into.


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