We live in a world of fast-moving, hard-working equipment and vehicles, from the trains, planes and semis that transport people and goods across our country to the factories and plants that produce our products. Every day companies utilize diverse machinery to accomplish what needs to get done. As technology rapidly advances and companies continue to automate, more and more complex machinery is being put to work and every device needs to be installed, serviced and repaired on a regular basis.
Who keeps all this equipment up and running? Mechanics, of course.
Got you curious about a career as a mechanic?
Mechanic positions include:
Mechanics are increasingly becoming specialists in their skill areas. While the basics of mechanical knowledge may be similar between two different career areas, most positions require unique knowledge such as diesel engines, electrical motors, hydraulics, welding/fabricating, avionics, low-voltage wiring, etc. If you are interested in becoming a mechanic, talk to friends and colleagues about the work they do and try to get a sense of what sounds the most interesting and what has the type of career advancement that you want. It is also helpful to think about the specific opportunities in your area and which specialty will provide the most opportunity to you.
There are several possible paths to become a mechanic:
High School Diploma or GED: Often times, working hard right out of high school is all you need to start developing your mechanic career. The pay levels or shifts may not be music to your ears right away, but it should be a strong starting point for you to quickly gain skills and prove your value to an employer.
Trade School: For other positions, you may need to invest your time in a preparatory course, usually available from local colleges or technical/vocational institutes. Within these programs, you’ll not only learn how to work on specific equipment, but also the diagnostic software that you will use to troubleshoot problems.
Certification: After an apprenticeship, qualified workers can be granted a ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certification, after a series of tests of the worker’s aptitude. This certification can help advance your career to positions like Diesel Mechanic, Master Mechanic, or ASE Certified Mechanic.
Master Mechanic: Certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is required to become a Master Mechanic.
Other Paths: Some mechanics transition to even more specialized fields, like Aircraft Mechanics and Heavy Equipment Mechanics. For those with business savvy, you can go into business for yourself or work your way up into managerial positions in established companies.
The path is really up to the ambitions of the individual.
A lot of interest in the mechanic field has to do with its attractive pay. Because mechanics are always in high-demand, if you are good at your job, then job security can be nearly guaranteed. According to government statistics, median pay is $46,360 per year; the average hourly wage being nearly $22/hr. Entry-level to somewhat experienced mechanics can expect to make $12/hr to $16/hr, depending on geography and previous experience. For a mechanics with certifications, the rate rises to $17/hr to $32/hr.
Building a successful career as a mechanic can take time. The benefit is that mechanics are in huge demand. Don’t come out of the gate thinking that you immediately deserve a top pay rate because you have some training. Take your time and be willing to give more than you receive at first. From experience, we have seen this approach pay off massively for ambitious tradesmen and tradeswomen.
Similarly, it will always serve you well to think as much as possible from the perspective of your employer. Wondering what they are looking for in a great mechanic? Find out here.
Xemplar Workforce Solutions provides career resources as well as recruiting services to top professionals and the companies that employ them in manufacturing, transportation, energy, automation/robotics, industrial services and many others. We enable machinists, mechanics, welders, fabricators, electricians, installers, quality control techs, service techs and other related tradespeople to find great opportunities and achieve their greatest potential in their fields of choice. Learn more at www.xemplar.com.