The most common kind of mechanic is the auto mechanic who is responsible for keeping everyone’s car in working order so that everyone can drive safely. Since most of us need this mechanic, is it reasonable to say they make good money?
Auto mechanics make between $30,000 and $60,000 per year, with a current median salary of $40,000. This isn’t considered a great salary when compared to the present cost of living in the United States which lies between $35,772 and $61,884. However, other mechanic roles do make a better salary.
Keep reading to take a look at the median annual income of auto mechanics compared and the factors that determine if it’s good money or not.
Do Mechanics Make Good Money in the United States?
Most mechanics do not make an annual income that is considered “good money” in the United States.
“Good money” is generally measured based on your cost of living. Currently, it’s estimated that the cost of living for an individual is $2,981 and for a family of four it’s $5,157 which makes the average base cost of living in the United States approximately between $35,772 and $61,884.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they help answer the question “do mechanics make good money?” by showing the median salary of automotive service techs and mechanics in the U.S. was $46,880 in 2021. Today, they are expected to make an average of about $40-$45,000 a year and a minimum of about $31,000.
Your salary as a mechanic will be characterized by 4 things:
- Geography: The wages of the state or province you live in.
- Education: The height of your training and degree earned.
- Experience: How long you’ve been a mechanic & type of work you specialize in.
- Company and Industry: Do you work for a small or large company? Dealership or repair shop?
$34,000 is generally considered to be a good starting salary for a mechanic that is new to the industry. If you already have a bachelor’s of science in Mechanical Engineering or already specialize in highly sought-after mechanical work you can expect or fight for a much higher wage, like $56,000 or even $60,000.
We talk more about what a good annual salary to strive for here so you don’t find yourself in a dead-end job.
Is a Mechanic a Good Career?
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
Pros of Being a Mechanic
1. There is a Lot of Work Available
If you are new to this industry, it isn’t very difficult to find a mechanical engineering position.
There is a high demand for the skills of a mechanical engineer in a variety of divisions. It should be noted that the auto mechanic industry often has a high rotation rate with employees because shop owners usually want cheap labor.
2. You Can Easily be More Valuable in this Market
There are many subdivisions of specialties that you can specialize in to make yourself more and more valuable. You don’t have to be an auto mechanic. It’s good to be an expert in general work, more specialized jobs, and in the latest mechanical developments to be able to work anywhere.
The more you specialize in, the more fluid you are in where you can work. A mechanic can do more than replace car parts. There are higher paying jobs for aviation mechanics or those who repair various industries’ equipment.
Cons of Being a Mechanic
1. There are Occupational Health Hazards
Mechanics can work in hazardous conditions. It’s important to educate yourself in the risks you can face, but in short, if you’re not careful or given the correct safety equipment, you can suffer chemical burns, eye injuries, broken bones, loss of limbs or fingers, and strains and/or sprains.
2. The Market can be Highly Competitive
There is plenty of work available, but all of the shops are competing against one another which can mean offering lower prices, which tends to lead to shops hiring you for a salary that’s less than your true worth.
3. You Might have to Buy Your Own Tools
It’s not uncommon for mechanics to have to supply themselves with the tools they need to do their job. Even for just entry-level work, collecting the tools is expensive. You may pay between $1000-$3000 for everything you need to get started.
Where do Mechanics Make the Most Money?
In order to find out which state mechanics make the most money, you have to compare the state median wage for auto mechanics with its cost of living.
Hawaii has the highest median pay for auto mechanics at $49,091 but is also the most expensive place to live. Meanwhile, Mississippi is considered the cheapest state to live in, but only has a median pay of $33,935.
The best state to be an auto mechanic may be Oklahoma. Not only is it one of the cheapest states in several categories including housing, healthcare, and groceries but also pays mechanics a decent annual salary of $39,187.
What Kind of Mechanic Makes the Most Money?
Like we said earlier, you don’t have to be an auto mechanic. There are a number of other positions that require similar skills as yours that pay much better. According to Indeed, the current top paid mechanic roles are,
- Product Designer ($120,702 per year)
- Aeronautical Engineer ($103,725)
- Robotics Engineer ($96,580)
- Petroleum Engineer ($76,056)
- Aviation Mechanic ($71,545)
- Industrial Machinery Mechanic ($50,094)
- Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic ($53,370)
- HVAC Mechanic ($41,300)
- Diesel Mechanic ($40,850)
Be aware that a higher salary can often mean trading things like time at home, having more hours at work, and having higher competition.
And don’t forget to pay attention to what your weekly pay is. The annual income means nothing if you can’t make monthly payments. You can learn more about how much you should make a week in my article here.
In short, the answer to the questions “do mechanics make good money?” and “is a mechanic a good career?” is yes – depending on how much you’ll work for those higher-paying jobs and where you intend to live.
Thanks for reading folks.