What Are Average Salaries for Entry-Level Auto Mechanic Jobs?

Average salaries for entry-level auto mechanic jobs depend on your experience, location, industry and type of training. Additionally, many employers offer a minimum salary to auto mechanics who typically work on commission. Read on to learn more about salaries for this career. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Automotive service technicians and mechanics are responsible for inspecting and repairing cars and some other types of vehicles. While all technicians and mechanics must have general knowledge of tools and parts needed to maintain and fix automobiles, some may also specialize in a specific aspect in the field. Some of these options include air conditioning or brake repair, wheel alignment, transmissions, and drivability.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education High school or GED is the minimum requirement; many employers prefer to higher those who have completed a training program at the postsecondary level
On-the-Job Training Long-term training lasting anywhere from 2 to 5 years
Licensure Technicians who deal with refrigerants must be licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Professional Certification Specialty certification is available from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and is often required by employers
Key Skills Attention to detail, ability to troubleshoot and work with customers, dexterity, and mechanical skills
Similar Occupations Small engine mechanic, automotive body and glass repairer, diesel service technician and mechanic

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that automotive service technicians and auto mechanics held approximately 633,390 jobs in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS in 2012, 32% of auto mechanics worked in automotive repair shops, while auto dealers employed 29%. Self-employment accounted for 14% of all working automotive mechanics.

The BLS expects that there will be a 9% employment growth for this career over the 2012-2022 decade. Skilled and educated individuals are expected to have the best prospects, while those who haven't completed formal training may have to deal with significant competition.

Salary Overview

The BLS reports that the average hourly wage for automotive and service technicians and auto mechanics was $19.22 in May 2014. The median hourly wage was $17.84. Wages for the middle 50% were between $13.11 and $23.93 per hour. The lowest-paid hourly workers earned $10.00 or less per hour, while the highest-paid auto mechanics made $29.94 or more hourly.

Weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Employers will often guarantee trained technicians a fixed hourly salary. In addition, workers belonging to labor unions can generally expect to earn a higher wage and more benefits than non-union members.

Salary by Industry

Your mean hourly wage will also be determined in part by the industry in which you work. Due to the number of qualified applicants, competition will be high for top-paying jobs. The BLS shows that the three top-paying industries for auto mechanics and their mean hourly wages in May 2014 were:

  • Natural gas distribution: $31.87
  • Couriers and express delivery services: $30.08
  • Other fabricated metal product manufacturing: $28.50

Your chance of employment might be higher in industries that employ the most number of auto mechanics. Although they offered slightly lower wages than the top-paying industries, the industries employing the largest amount of auto mechanics paid the following average hourly wages as of 2014:

  • Automotive repair and maintenance: $17.82
  • Automobile dealerships: $21.15
  • Automotive parts, accessories and tire stores: $16.62
  • Gasoline stations: $17.03
  • Local government: $23.71

Salary by State

Your salary as an auto mechanic can vary by state. The BLS reported in May 2014 that mean hourly wages for the top three states according to pay were:

  • District of Columbia: $25.27
  • Alaska: $25.02
  • New Jersey: $22.23

Mean hourly wages for the top three states according to employment level were:

  • California: $21.26
  • Texas: $18.85
  • Florida: $18.45

Salary by Experience

According to PayScale.com, years of experience also play an important role in determining the hourly wage for an auto mechanic. Salary ranges in January 2014 for the 10th-90th percentile varied depending on the years of experience that workers had achieved in the field:

  • 0-5years: $8.88-$19.59
  • 5-10 years: $11.13-$24.52
  • 10-20 years: $12.38-$27.87
  • 20 years or more: $14.82-$29.15

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