A mechanic career is a constantly changing career. Mechanics spend most of their time analyzing vehicle problems and creating solutions while the automotive technology is constantly changing around them. The people best suited for a mechanic career are automotive-educated individuals who love to analyze and repair vehicle problems. However, to really know what being a mechanic is all about requires a more in-depth study of the career.
Auto mechanics have some very important responsibilities. They are responsible for identifying and repairing any problem that occurs within any kind of car. Some mechanics work only with a particular brand of car, but most work on all brands. The mechanic has to know the vehicles well enough to know what a non-working part looks like. Since most vehicles are now run with computer support, knowledge of the electronic and computer functions of each vehicle is a must as well.
Mechanic salaries vary greatly with experience and location. Entry level mechanics make anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 per year. Mechanics with specialized training or a few years of experience can expect to earn up to double that amount. Only a few mechanics are known as master mechanics, and they can earn up to $100,000 per year. Mechanics who are also part of a labor union will often also receive more benefits than mechanics who are not part of a union. With many specializations and certifications it is possible to earn a large salary within just a few years. Some mechanics even open their own shops where the income potential is even higher
Mechanics are surprisingly well-educated. Most employers require an automotive service technology degree for all mechanic employees. Some high school students can participate in the Automotive Youth Education Service program to get them certified by the time they graduate. Most two-year colleges offer extensive automotive training programs as an associate's degree. The classes are designed to offer classroom instruction combined with hands on experience. Once initial degrees are acquired, many mechanics move on to ASE certification which proves their ability to work in one of eight specific areas. Master Automobile Technicians are certified in all eight areas.
There is a lot of potential for auto mechanics. It is projected that in the future the demand for automotive mechanics will rise 20% or more from the current demand. ASE certified mechanics have a good chance of getting hired as many of the older mechanics are retiring. Newer certifications also mean that mechanics are more up-to-date on the newest cars, which is beneficial to new employees. It is also possible to move from a mechanic position to other related careers. A repair estimator is a popular choice. It is also possible to move into auto body repair, engine repair or diesel service.
Before deciding on a career path to take, it is important to consider a few things. The typical work week for an auto mechanic is 40 hours. They work hard and the work itself is very taxing both mentally and physically. In some cases the work environment is difficult. Some garages are not insulated which makes them hot in the summer and cold in the winter. There is also a high potential for injury while on the job.