Becoming a mechanic is one of the most lucrative gigs out there. However, you might feel a bit confused about getting started as one.
Don’t worry! This guide will show you how to become a mechanic in a simple step-by-step guide.
You’ll also find a brief overview of the job along with answers to all the common questions you might be wondering about the job. Let’s dive in!
- An Overview of Mechanics: A Primer
- What You’ll Need to Become a Mechanic [& Associated Costs]
- Is it Hard to Become a Mechanic?
- How to Become a Mechanic in 5 Simple Steps
- Reasons to Consider Becoming a Mechanic
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Similar Gigs to Check Out
- Wrapping Up
An Overview of Mechanics: A Primer
A mechanic is a collective term that describes a wide range of workers in the automotive industry.
As a car mechanic, you typically have three main responsibilities, including:
- Inspecting the vehicle to troubleshoot problems and using your knowledge and experience to identify malfunctioning causes.
- Assessing and repairing the vehicle. This may also include purchasing the necessary parts.
- Maintaining the vehicles through servicing and routine checks to make sure that the vehicle stays in good shape. This includes tire rotation, oil changes, etc.
In addition to cars, you can also work on a variety of motorized vehicles, including trucks, boats, motorcycles, and more. You can also work on rideshare vehicle inspections, which are becoming more in demand recently.
Automotive service technicians typically work in an auto repair shop or independently from a garage.
However, they can also work for car dealerships or for other businesses with large fleets of vehicles. This includes businesses in transportation, delivery, construction, catering, or public services.
Another form of flexibility that mechanics enjoy is working hours. While some mechanics work full-time, others can have more flexible schedules and rotating shifts.
To become a mechanic, you need experience, training, and certification. You may also need to attend a trade school or community college to earn an associate degree in automotive technology.
How Much Do Mechanics Make?
Mechanics often make a decent living and earn a good salary with plenty of benefits. This includes bonuses, paid vacations, health insurance, etc. However, the benefits may vary from one employer to another.
According to recent data from the BLS, the annual median pay of a mechanic (automotive service technician) is $46,880. The median hourly pay for the same title is around $22.54 per hour.
This makes it a relatively high salary when compared to other jobs at the same educational level.
The scope of mechanics work is quite wide, ranging from side gigs all the way to full-time jobs. You can also register as a freelance mechanic on apps like YourMechanic.
Mechanics with good potential can also advance their careers through various methods, including:
- Earning certifications and completing any accredited auto mechanic training
- Establishing their own auto servicing business
What You’ll Need to Become a Mechanic [& Associated Costs]
Becoming a mechanic requires completing some essential steps. Here’s a quick look at them and how much they should cost you:
- GED or High School Diploma: The minimum requirement to apply for mechanic training programs and diplomas. The costs range from free to $180 for the exam.
- Mechanic Training Program: This ranges between six months to two years and typically costs between $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the program’s reputation.
- Associate Degree: Earned after completing a program in trade school or community college. This typically takes two to four years and costs around $10,000 to $25,000.
- Apprenticeship: Internship programs help you gain hands-on experience and learn from a professional while earning money. However, the pay is usually limited to entry-level hourly rates. ($21 to $28 per hour).
How Much Does it Cost to Become a Mechanic?
The total costs of becoming a mechanic depend on the programs you take. Becoming a mechanic can cost you as little as $5,000 to get started.
However, if you want to expand your career options, you’ll need to become certified and earn complete reputable courses. In that case, you should expect it to cost you anywhere up to $30,000 or more.
Is it Hard to Become a Mechanic?
Becoming a mechanic takes time and dedication, as there is a lot to learn and you need to keep up with all the recent knowledge in the field.
However, the difficulty of becoming a mechanic is fairly subjective. Some people with deeper knowledge and interest in the field may find it much easier than those with little to no information about auto repair.
It also depends on the level you want to achieve. For instance, becoming an entry-level mechanic and covering the basics is relatively easy.
On the other hand, becoming a master technician takes a lot of time and hard work.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Mechanic?
The timeline of becoming a mechanic is highly dependent on the path you want to choose. It also depends on the level of education/training you want to reach and the time you dedicate to it.
Ideally, a high school graduate with vocational training may take anywhere between one to two years to complete.
On the other hand, if you want to seek high certifications like an associate degree or equivalent, it may take up to 4 years.
How to Become a Mechanic in 5 Simple Steps
If you’ve made up your mind about becoming a mechanic, this guide will put you on the right track to get started:
1. Get Your High School Diploma
Since it’s the minimum requirement to become a mechanic, you need to earn a high school diploma or an equivalent degree, such as GED.
You can also attend special automotive education classes during that time to further expand your knowledge of the field, such as the Automotive Youth Education Services (AYES) program.
2. Complete a Mechanic Training Program/Apprenticeship
After completing general education, you should enroll in a specialized training program to receive proper certification as a mechanic.
Ideally, you’ll have the best employment opportunities if you earn an associate degree or complete a reputable mechanic training program from a trade school.
You can also further expand your experience by applying for an internship or apprenticeship program.
The main advantage here is that you can get paid while gaining experience. The duration of these programs ranges from one to three years or more.
3. Follow Local Regulations
This requirement varies depending on where you want to practice as a mechanic. In some states like Texas and Florida, you don’t need a state license to be a mechanic.
Always check with the local authorities to see if there are any licensing requirements needed to become a mechanic. You may also need to pay a small fee.
4. Look for a Mechanic Job
Now that you’re a fully licensed mechanic with hands-on experience and proper certification, it’s time to apply for your first official job as a mechanic.
According to the BLS, 31% of mechanics work for automotive dealerships and 26% work for repair centers, so you’ll have the best luck applying there.
5. Gain More Experience
After getting your first job, your journey as a mechanic has just started. You can expand your knowledge by gaining further experience and obtaining higher certifications.
One of the best certifications to target is becoming an ASE-certified master technician. The organization also offers plenty of certifications depending on your specific field as a mechanic.
Reasons to Consider Becoming a Mechanic
While everyone might have their own set of reasons, many auto repair specialists agree on some specific advantages. Here’s a quick look at some of them:
- Freedom and Flexibility: Many full-time jobs are extremely limited when it comes to work hours and shifts. However, as a mechanic, you can schedule your work freely and achieve a much better work-life balance.
- High Earning Potential: As an auto mechanic, the higher your skill level, the higher the demand for your services. This means higher income, especially if you work on/for high-class brands like Porsche, Mercedes Benz, and BMW.
- Job Security: As more and more vehicles hit the road, the demand for mechanics is always on the rise. This makes it easy to find a job as an automotive mechanic, even if you don’t live in the city.
- Dynamic Work Environment: In addition to cars, you can also work on motorcycles, boats, and other motorized vehicles. This makes work always interesting and provides opportunities to learn new things and expand your automotive technology knowledge.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the following section, we’ll answer some of the common questions aspiring auto mechanics often ask.
What Country Pays Mechanics the Most?
According to a 2020 report by Statista, the average monthly salary of a mechanic in Germany was the highest worldwide at around $3,780 per month.
The United States was a close second with an average monthly mechanic salary of around $3,400. Keep in mind that these numbers exclude bonuses and taxes, which can significantly affect the net income.
What is an ASE Certification?
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is one of the most reputable certifications a mechanic can obtain. The certification is granted by a national institute of the same name and remains valid for 5 years.
It means an automotive technician passed the hands-on training and ASE certification exam necessary to become a certified master technician.
Similar Gigs to Check Out
An automotive service technician doubles as an excellent career and a great second job. However, you’re not out of options if you don’t find it suitable for you.
Here’s a quick look at some similar promising gigs to consider:
- How to Become a Forklift Driver: Forklift drivers are always in demand and have excellent job security. You can also expand your skills and obtain certifications to improve your earnings.
- How to Become a General Contractor: If you’re a handy person, being a general contractor can be perfect for you. The job also allows you to improve your skill level and earnings by attending a trade school training program.
- How to Become a DoorDasher: Being a DoorDasher is a great side gig if you’re all about flexibility. It’s also ideal if you don’t mind high competition and being physically active.
Becoming a mechanic is an excellent way to make a decent living while enjoying the freedom or flexibility of a gig worker.
The job also offers great opportunities to expand your career with decent job security and plenty of courses to extend your knowledge of the field.
You also don’t have to spend a remarkable sum of money before you land your first job!