All About Being An Automotive Mechanic
You consider becoming an auto mechanic but are not sure whether this is the right career path for you to go yet?
Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you everything about a car mechanic career in the following chapters.
Not only will we talk about how much you can earn as an auto mechanic, but we will also talk about working hours, job satisfaction, educational requirements and much more.
At the end of this article, I will also provide you with an FAQ section where you can get answers to many questions you might have about an auto mechanic career.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What does an Automotive Mechanic do?
Auto mechanics repair cars and other motor vehicles and make sure that those vehicles can be operated by the owner in a safe manner.
Auto mechanics also give advice on what to fix and what to expect from one’s car in the next years.
Thus, car mechanics are crucial to assure the safety of our street traffic.
Duties of an Auto Mechanic
- Repairing cars
- Repairing other vehicles
- Diagnosing problems with cars
- Advising owners on possible issues
- Inspecting vehicles engine
- Inspecting electric parts of the car
- Diagnosing mechanical issues
- Making sure that computer systems work properly
- Making sure that lighting works fine
- Assuring that breaks work properly
- Replacing fluids and other minor maintenance work
- Preparation of timelines for future maintenance work
- Estimation of costs for repairs
- Assurance of the overall safety of traffic on our streets
What a Typical Day of an Auto Mechanic looks like?
Auto mechanics usually start their workday between 8 and 9 a.m. in the morning. Since they have to be present at work in person and have to wait until clients arrive with their cars, it doesn’t make sense to start working earlier since most clients will not bring their cars to an auto shop before 8 a.m.
After your clients arrive, you will do some routine checks with their cars and make sure that all basic things work as planned.
You will also listen to clients about problems with their cars and will find ways how to fix those issues.
You will also have to estimate the costs of those repairs and ask your clients whether they are ok with it or not.
Hence, your workday will be a mix of a lot of hands-on work and a little bit of client communication from time to time.
You will finish your workday between 5 and 6 p.m. most of the time and this gives you a pretty good work-life balance as a car mechanic compared to many other jobs out there.
Auto Mechanic Salary 2021
Auto Mechanic salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $75,000||> $37.19|
|Top 25 %||$58,000 – $66,000||$28.68 – $32.74|
|Bottom 25 %||$31,000 – $35,000||$15.21 – $17.15|
|Bottom 10 %||$21,000 – $27,000||$10.31 – $13.28|
|Range||$21,000 – $87,000||$10.31 – $43.37|
Auto Mechanic salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$21,000 – $28,000||$10.31 – $13.62|
|Junior||$27,000 – $35,000||$13.37 – $17.17|
|Professional||$31,000 – $43,000||$15.31 – $21.26|
|Senior Professional||$38,000 – $54,000||$18.72 – $26.81|
|Expert||$47,000 – $66,000||$23.36 – $32.91|
|Top Expert||$61,000 – $87,000||$30.38 – $43.37|
Auto Mechanic salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$54,900||$27.31|
Job Security for Auto Mechanics
Auto mechanics have pretty decent job security. Since an increasing number of people want to license a new car every day, there is a huge demand for qualified auto mechanics out there and you will easily find a job in this field.
Also in case you lose your job for some reason, chances are that you will find a new one pretty soon.
Future Job Prospects for Auto Mechanics
Auto mechanics will also be in high demand in the future. However, the skillset an auto mechanic will need in the future will be different since more cars will have an electric engine.
Thus, make sure to specialize in the repair of electric cars if you want to have excellent future job prospects since those cars will most likely be the future of transportation.
Working Hours of Auto Mechanics
Working as an auto mechanic is a classical 9 to 5 job. In fact, most auto mechanics don’t work many extra hours and come home relatively early.
In turn, you will have lots of leisure to meet up with people after work or to enjoy with your family at home.
Job Satisfaction of Auto Mechanics
Many automotive technicians are pretty happy with what they do for a living. However, most of them are also really passionate and interested in fixing cars.
Hence, if your passion is to spend time with your car also in your leisure, chances are that you will also be happy with a job as a car mechanic.
Promotion Opportunities of Auto Mechanics
There are not many promotion opportunities for car mechanics. While you will get more responsibilities over time, it will still take quite a long time until you get promoted in an official manner and you may have to do similar tasks for decades.
Career Levels of Auto Mechanics
- Junior auto mechanic
- Senior auto mechanic
- Auto mechanic who repairs more than just cars
- Auto mechanic with knowledge of various engine types
- Auto mechanic with budget responsibility
- Auto mechanic with budget and personnel responsibility
- Manager of a car repair shop
- Owner of a car repair shop
Fields and Types of Auto Mechanics
- Combustion engine auto mechanic
- Electric car auto mechanic
- Vehicle inspectors
- Service technicians
- Brakes technicians
- Transmission mechanics
- Lighting experts
- Electronic experts
- Diagnostic technicians
- Body repair mechanics
- Mechatronic technician
Educational Requirements for Auto Mechanics
Auto mechanics don’t need a college degree in most regions. Instead, getting a high-school diploma will often be enough to apply for an apprenticeship to become a car mechanic.
Hence, you don’t have to spend many years on education but can rather start making money right after finishing school.
How to become an Auto Mechanic
- Get as much information on an auto mechanic career as possible
- Get in touch with people who already work in this field
- Study hard and get good grades in school
- Learn a lot about how to fix cars and future technologies
- Work as an intern in a car repair shop during school breaks
- Stay in touch with your colleagues from the car repair shop
- Apply for vacancies at this car repair shop and other shops out there
- Make a good impression at job interviews
- Get your dream job as a car mechanic
Character Traits you need for Working as an Auto Mechanic
- Interest in fixing things
- You should be interested in spending time with cars and other vehicles
- You should like hands-on work
- Persistence is key for solving problems
- You should be an outgoing person to communicate with clients
- You should be patient
- Calm and composed manner helps to deal with difficult clients
- You should not get discouraged by drawbacks
Hard Skills for Being an Auto Mechanic
- Physical strengths can help
- You should be willing to work with your hands and to get dirty
- Excellent knowledge of cars and how to fix them
- You have to improve your knowledge of electric cars since they will be the future
- Good knowledge of how to promote a car repair shop
- Knowledge of digital marketing is a plus
- Ability to use technology to make your workday more productive
- You need to know how to sell your work to clients
- Good problem-solving skills
Soft Skills for Being an Auto Mechanic
- Good people skills
- Passion and interest in fixing cars
- You have to adapt to new problems every day
- Willingness to learn about your craft
- Ability to always stay up-to-date with changes in technology
- Confidence to overcome difficult periods
- Positive mindset
- Professionalism helps to convince clients to come back
- You should be a reliable person whom people can trust
Exit Options for Auto Mechanics
Car mechanics have pretty limited exit options. While it is often easy for car mechanics to switch jobs in the same industry, it is pretty hard for them to get out of this field since they often lack the skills that would be needed in the nowadays jobs market in a different industry.
Auto Mechanic – Similar Careers
- Airplane mechanic
- Boat mechanic
- Heavy duty mechanic
- Small engine mechanic
- Motorbike mechanic
- Racecar mechanic
- Tire mechanic
- Plumbing mechanic
- Air-con mechanic
- Bicycle mechanic
Auto Mechanic Career FAQs
Is working as an auto mechanic physically demanding?
Working as an auto mechanic can indeed be physically demanding. Quite often, you will have to lift heavy things and will also have to get down to your knees to identify and fix problems.
Consequently, you should not be afraid of physical work if you want to become an auto mechanic.
Is working as an auto mechanic mentally demanding?
While you will have to use your brain to identify certain issues, you will not have to do heavy mental work all day long as in many other jobs.
In fact, the focus of your work will be on repairing pretty basic things and this means that you will not be mentally exhausted after work most of the time.
Is it dangerous to work as an auto mechanic?
Working as an auto mechanic is not that dangerous. If you comply with the safety standards that are common in this industry, the risk of serious accidents will be rather low and your overall security at your workplace will be pretty solid, although people who work in office jobs may be even safer than you.
How long do auto mechanics stay in their jobs?
Auto mechanics stay in their jobs for quite a long time. While many people who work in this field are really passionate about what they are doing, others just stay in their jobs since it is pretty hard to get out of this industry.
Is it easy for automotive technicians to find a new job?
It is pretty easy for auto mechanics to switch from one car repair shop to the other since auto mechanics are in high demand right now.
Hence, you don’t have to worry about becoming unemployed if you want to stay in the auto mechanic industry for a long time.
Is it hard to switch from being an auto mechanic to another field of work?
While it is rather easy to find a new company that will be willing to employ you in the auto mechanic niche, it is pretty hard for auto mechanics to switch fields and to work in a completely different industry.
Thus, once you start working as an auto mechanic, you may get stuck in this field for quite a long time and you should therefore make sure that this is what you really love doing to avoid any issues in this regard later on.
Do auto mechanics have a high social status?
Auto mechanics have a rather low social status. While many people will appreciate your work, they will still not value your work as much as the work of doctors or other people who can save the lives of many people on a regular basis.
Can you help out your family and friends as an auto mechanic?
Car issues are quite common and if you have excellent knowledge of cars and how to fix them, you can greatly help out your loved ones who don’t have to spend lots of money on a car repair in a car repair shop but can rather come to you to get things done.
Can auto mechanics work remotely?
Auto mechanics can’t work remotely at all. In fact, car mechanics have to be present at work in person since they have to fix issues with their hands and video calls are just not enough.
In turn, this means that you will have to commute to work and that you will have to waste lots of time on it every day.
Is it easy to find a partner as an auto mechanic?
Since auto mechanics don’t make lots of money and also don’t have a high social status, it will also be rather difficult for auto mechanics to find someone for a long-term relationship.
Hence, while many other people who make good money will have an easy time in this regard, you as a car mechanic may have serious problems in the dating market.
Do auto mechanics have to work on weekends?
Auto mechanics don’t have to work on weekends. However, you could still work on weekends if you want to make additional money on the side.
In fact, this is quite convenient since you can adjust your working hours and work more if you need the money and less if you don’t.
Do auto mechanics have to work on holidays?
Car mechanics also don’t have to work on holidays. Yet, similar to weekends, you could still work during those times in an unofficial manner and make some money on the side.
The demand for car repairs is huge and there will always be someone who needs to urgently get repairs done.
Do I have to work at nighttime as an auto mechanic?
Auto mechanics don’t have to work at nighttime. Most of the time, you will start your workday between 8 and 9 a.m. and you will quit your work between 5 and 6 p.m.
Hence, while many other people have to work in the evening, you will be able to meet up with your favorite people after work.
Do you have to travel as an auto mechanic?
There is no need to travel for auto mechanics. You will just have to work at the same location every day.
While this can be great in case you have a family at home, it can also be annoying to work at the same location every day, especially if you are an outgoing person who really wants to experience many different things.
Are auto mechanic pensions good?
Since auto mechanics don’t make good money, their pensions will also be rather limited.
Moreover, they will also not be able to save and invest enough money for retirement and this may lead to poverty once auto mechanics quit their active careers and rely on their savings and their pension payments.
Are auto mechanic salaries going up?
The salaries of auto mechanics have gone up quite a bit within the past decade. Yet, auto mechanics still don’t make good money and if money and luxury are really important to you, you should definitely not go for a career as an auto mechanic but rather work in a different field instead.
Can you have a positive effect on society as an auto mechanic?
Since you will assure the safety of our traffic, you will do a pretty important job for society as a car mechanic, even though people may not appreciate your work as much as the work of doctors or other people who have a direct and visible positive effect on society every day.
How long does it take to become an auto mechanic?
Since you will not need to go to college for becoming a car mechanic, you can work in this field within a rather short period of time.
After finishing high school, you just need to apply for an apprenticeship and will be ready to start working in this industry within a few weeks.
Is it difficult to become an auto mechanic?
It is not difficult to become an auto mechanic at all. You don’t need a fancy degree or other qualifications on paper.
What’s much more important is that you have excellent knowledge of cars and deep interest to fix them.
Do you need to be smart to work as an auto mechanic?
You don’t need to be super smart for working as a car mechanic. However, you should still have average mental capacities so that you are able to detect and fix many issues of cars.
Do auto mechanics have a good work-life balance?
Auto mechanics have a pretty good work-life balance. In fact, most auto mechanics only work 40 hours or even less and also have free weekends and holidays.
Consequently, working as a car mechanic can be great for you if leisure is more important to you than making good money from what you are doing.
Do auto mechanics have to work many extra hours?
Auto mechanics don’t have to work many extra hours. Instead, they work in classical 9 to 5 jobs and will come home early on a regular basis.
If you are more ambitious, you could work extra hours if you really need the money since there is always something to fix in the car industry and there will be more jobs than you could work on.
How to maximize your chances of becoming an auto mechanic?
For maximizing your chances of becoming a car mechanic, you need to get good grades in school.
Moreover, you should also work as an intern in a car repair shop for a few weeks to get some practical knowledge and therefore an edge over your competition.
Can auto mechanics work part-time?
Auto mechanics are also able to work part-time. However, since your hourly wage will be relatively low, you will often not be able to make a living from a part-time job as an auto mechanic and may therefore have to work full-time instead.
Do auto mechanics work indoors or outdoors?
Auto mechanics work indoors most of the time. However, this doesn’t mean that you will sit in a nice cozy office.
Instead, you will often spend your time in the garage where it can be quite cold and uncomfortable.
In turn, many auto mechanics secretly wish to change places with people who work in office jobs in this regard.
What does the workplace of an auto mechanic look like?
Auto mechanics spend most of their time in an auto repair shop where they fix many different issues of cars and other vehicles.
Hence, your workplace will not look fancy at all and you will also have to work with your hands and get dirty on a regular basis.
Do you have to look good for working as an auto mechanic?
Your looks don’t matter for an auto mechanic career. What’s much more important is that you have excellent knowledge about fixing cars and that you also have good people skills so that your clients trust you and come back to your car repair shop.
Is an auto mechanic career beneficial for your private life?
Since you will have a pretty good work-life balance and lots of leisure as a car mechanic, your job can also be beneficial for your private life since you will have enough time to spend with your family.
However, you may also experience financial issues due to your relatively low salary which may be not good for your family life at all.
Do you need a college degree for becoming an auto mechanic?
You don’t need a degree for becoming an auto mechanic. Instead, you can start your apprenticeship right after finishing high school and while many other people have to spend many years in college and have to go into student loan debt, you can avoid all those issues and start your career as an auto mechanic soon in your life.
Do you need to be certified to work as an auto mechanic?
You also don’t need any additional certifications for working as a car mechanic. What’s much more important than looking good on paper are your actual skills and your expertise in repairing cars and other vehicles so that your clients are happy.
How much does it cost to become an auto mechanic?
Since you will not have to get a college degree for becoming an auto mechanic, you can start your career as an auto mechanic at virtually no cost.
You will even be able to make money right after finishing school from your first workday and can become financially independent of your parents sooner than most other people.
Is being an auto mechanic a good career?
Becoming an auto mechanic can be great for you in case you are really interested in cars and also spend lots of time on cars in your leisure.
If this is the case, you can turn your passion into a job and this will often be the best way to stay motivated with what you are doing in the long run.
Is it easy to start your own business as an auto mechanic?
It is not that easy to start your own business as a car mechanic. While you might have all the knowledge, you may still lack the financial capabilities to quit your job and to start your own car repair shop since this involves significant upfront costs that most car mechanics are not able to afford.
Can auto mechanics teach themselves?
While you can teach yourself as an auto mechanic, you also need to get proper education and advice from experienced colleagues to fix more advanced issues that are not that obvious.
However, the more you teach yourself, the more you will learn and the faster you will become an expert in your field.
Do auto mechanics make good money?
Auto mechanics don’t make good money. Instead, most of them only make enough to cover their basic expenses and some auto mechanics even need a second job to survive, especially if they live in rather expensive regions and have to pay lots of money for rent.
Is it ever too late to become an automotive mechanic?
While it is never too late to become an automotive mechanic, it is still advisable that you start your career while you are still young since the older you get, the less employable you will get and you may also suffer from physical health issues that may prevent you from carrying out this job.
Do car mechanics have to quit their careers early?
Many car mechanics have to quit their jobs and retire early since they are just no longer able to stress their bodies.
In fact, once we get older, our bodies no longer work that properly and many car mechanics are just not able to do out this exhausting work anymore.
What is the most challenging thing about working as an auto mechanic?
The most challenging thing about working as an auto mechanic is that you will always have to learn and expand your knowledge.
The world and our technologies change quite rapidly and if you don’t always stay up-to-date with those things, chances are that you will not be able to stay competitive in the near future.
Can you provide for your family by working as an auto mechanic?
Since auto mechanics make rather poor money, they often struggle to provide for their families.
In fact, if your partner doesn’t work, you may have to work two jobs to pay your bills since your auto mechanic salary may simply not be enough to cover your basic expenses as a family.
Will auto mechanics suffer from old-age poverty?
Due to your rather low salary as a car mechanic, you will also not get a good pension and may also not be able to save enough money for retirement age.
In turn, your risk of suffering from serious old-age poverty will be significant if you don’t work in a second job.
Can auto mechanics retire early?
Since auto mechanics don’t make good money from what they are doing, they will not be able to retire early.
Instead, many auto mechanics have to work until their 60s and sometimes even 70s, even though their bodies may no longer be suited to work under those physically demanding conditions at this age.
Can you get rich as an auto mechanic?
You can’t get wealthy or rich as an employed auto mechanic. The only option to get rich as an auto mechanic would be to start your own car repair business and to open many car repair shops so that you can scale your business model and increase the turnover at rapid speed.
Do you get continuous training as an auto mechanic?
While you will get some training as an auto mechanic, you still have to acquire lots of knowledge yourself and you will always have to learn and adapt to new technologies.
Otherwise, you will become obsolete pretty soon and may just lose your job sooner or later.
Are auto mechanics organized in unions?
While there is no union that is specifically designed to meet the demands of auto mechanics, there is a union called the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers that will represent the needs and preferences of mechanics on a broader scale.
Do you get paid when you are sick as an auto mechanic?
Whether you get sick pay or not as an auto mechanic greatly depends on the auto repair shop you work for.
If you are not sure about it, ask your boss or look into the terms of your working contract.
You can also ask a lawyer that is specialized in those sorts of topics to get more information in this regard.
Do auto mechanics have a high level of responsibility?
Auto mechanics have a high level of responsibility. In fact, if auto mechanics make mistakes, this can lead to serious accidents on our roads and you will therefore always have to stay focused as an auto mechanic to avoid those adverse outcomes.
Can auto mechanics work abroad?
While working abroad is possible for auto mechanics, you may still need to get additional certifications before you are allowed to work as a car mechanic in a different country that might have other regulatory and educational requirements.
Is it stressful to work as an automotive mechanic?
Working as an auto mechanic is not that stressful. While you will have a lot to do all the time, you will still be able to spend enough time on each vehicle and the more experienced you get, the better you will be able to manage your time and reduce your stress level at work.
Is it boring to work as an auto mechanic?
Working as an auto mechanic is not boring at all. You will have to solve many different problems every day and if you are passionate about cars, chances are that you will never get bored with what you are doing as a car mechanic.
Is being an auto mechanic hard?
While you will have to work with your hands on a regular basis, working as a car mechanic is not that hard from a mental and emotional standpoint.
In fact, there are many jobs out there that are much more stressful than working as an auto mechanic.
Is burnout a problem for auto mechanics?
Since auto mechanics don’t have to work with their brains but rather have to work with their hands, their risk of suffering from burnout will be rather low.
In fact, many auto mechanics are pretty happy with what they are doing and don’t feel burned out at all.
Is there a dress code for auto mechanics?
You will often have a standard dress code as an auto mechanic that protects your own clothes from getting dirty. You will get those clothes from your employer and don’t have to buy them yourself most of the time.
What kind of auto mechanics are paid the most?
You can make the most money as an auto mechanic if you have profound knowledge about the electrical systems of cars.
Moreover, it can also help to have personal or budget responsibility since the more responsibility you have, the higher your wage as a car mechanic will be.
What percentage of auto mechanics are women?
The car mechanic industry is still dominated by men. In fact, under 10% of car mechanics are women will the vast majority of car mechanics consists of men.
While this may change a bit in the future, this industry will likely be dominated by men for quite a long time.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as an automotive mechanic?
While having experienced colleagues on your side can be helpful to succeed as an auto mechanic, it is not necessary to have a real mentor.
What’s much more important is that you are willing to work hard and that you become a real expert in your field through your experience.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as an auto mechanic?
If you work as an employed auto mechanic, you will not be personally liable for mistakes most of the time. However, this might be different if you own a car repair shop.
If you are not sure, you should talk to a lawyer that is specialized in those things to get proper advice.
Do auto mechanics have a high life expectancy?
Auto mechanics don’t have a high life expectancy. In fact, their life expectancy is slightly below average.
This is due to the fact that they will inhale harmful fumes all day long and since they will not make decent money, most auto mechanics are also not able to get proper medical treatment in case they get sick.
Do auto mechanics suffer from sleeping problems?
Since auto mechanics don’t have to work at nighttime and have a rather regular schedule, they will also not suffer from sleeping problems, at least not from sleeping problems that are related to their jobs.
What states are best for working as an auto mechanic?
Since car mechanics don’t make good money, the best states to live as an auto mechanic are the states where you have rather low living costs.
Hence, make sure to choose a region where you have decent job opportunities while living costs are still rather low.
Who do auto mechanics work with?
Automotive mechanics mainly work with cars and their owners. Hence, apart from having great hard skills, it is also important that you know how to talk to people and how to convince them that they come back to your car repair shop in the future.
Is working as an auto mechanic cool?
Most people who are interested in cars consider a car mechanic career as cool. However, many people who are not that interested in cars will not be fascinated about it at all and some people may even make fun of you.
Do you have to be creative as an automotive mechanic?
You don’t need to be creative as an auto mechanic. What’s much more important is that you have great analytical and problem-solving skills and that you also have enough technical knowledge to spot and fix many issues that may be present in cars.
How employable are auto mechanics?
Auto mechanics are pretty employable right now. In fact, there is a huge shortage of qualified auto mechanics out there and this trend will likely continue in the future since not many people want to do this job anymore.
Are auto mechanics happy with their jobs?
Most auto mechanics are pretty happy with what they are doing. Even though auto mechanics don’t make good money, they still have lots of leisure and if you are really passionate about cars, chances are that you will become happy with an auto mechanic career as well.
Is working as an auto mechanic exciting?
Working as a car mechanic can be pretty exciting. In fact, many people who work in this field are confronted with new and unknown issues on a regular basis and figuring out how to solve those issues can be an exciting challenge.
What are the pros and cons of working as an auto mechanic?
If you want to learn even more about an auto mechanic career, make sure to also check out additional pros and cons of working as an auto mechanic.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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