If you’re considering a career in automotive services, one of your first questions is like “How much is the typical auto mechanic salary?” In this guide to automotive technician pay, we’ll help you determine what you should expect to earn in your state, and what the factors are that determine how much you’ll actually get paid.
What is the Median Auto Mechanic Salary?
According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median U.S. salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $37,120 in 2014. This number was slightly above the national median for all positions, and represents one of the better salaries available to skilled professionals without a four-year college degree.
The need for new auto mechanics is also expected to grow at a healthy 5% through 2024, so there should be plenty of opportunities available to those who begin their careers in automotive services over the next decade.
What Influences Auto Mechanic Pay?
There are four primary factors that influence how much an auto mechanic makes. To learn more about each of them, simply click on the corresponding tabs below.
Where do You Live?
Where in the United States you live and work has a huge impact on how much you’re ultimately going to get paid while working as an automotive services professional. Not only is there a difference between working in a rural area as opposed to a major metropolitan center, but salaries tend to vary greatly from one state to the next.
As a general rule, auto mechanics who are employed in the Northeast U.S. or on the West Coast will earn more than their peers in other parts of the country. It is also generally true that those who work in big cities are paid more than those in the suburbs and rural areas.
The following table reflects the median auto mechanic salary in each state in 2014.
|State||2014 Median Auto Mechanic Salary|
Type of Employer
Type of Employer You Work For
The type of employer you work for also has a large effect on income. As you can see in the table below, mechanics employed by automobile dealerships are usually paid significantly more than those who work in private shops.
|Auto Mechanic Employer||2014 Median Annual Wage|
|Automotive mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance||$34,750|
|Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores||$31,550|
How Much Experience Do You Have?
It stands to reason that with more experience comes greater pay. While this is generally just as true in automotive services as it is in other fields, you may find that there are usually additional circumstances that make this true (e.g. veteran mechanics usually hold additional certifications, etc.).
The table below reflects national medians for auto mechanic salary by years of experience.
|Years of Experience||2014 Median Annual Salary|
|Less than 1||$33,683|
|1 to 4||$36,035|
|5 to 9||$40,675|
|10 or more||$49,770|
Which Certifications Do You Have?
If you really want to ensure that your salary is as high as possible, it is highly recommended that you pursue additional professional certifications. As with most professions, employees with specialized, unique skills are at a premium and can command higher salaries as a result.
|Type of Certification||2014 Median Annual Salary|
|Automotive Body & Glass Repair||$39,260|
|Diesel Service Mechanics||$43,630|
|Heavy Vehicle Service Technicians||$45,930|
|Small Engine Mechanics||$34,130|
How to Maximize Your Automotive Services Salary
Ensuring that you get paid what your worth is important, so we’ve included the following tips on maximizing your auto mechanic salary. Click on any of the tabs below to learn more!
Work for a Dealership
Get a Job at a Dealership
As was mentioned in the previous discuss of employers, car dealerships tend to pay their auto mechanics considerably higher wages than independent shops and other types of garages. For this reason, you can aspire to find a position at your local dealership if you want to make sure that you’re earning some of the best pay possible in your area.
Get a Professional Certification
Becoming a certified professional in a specialized field of the automotive services industry will help you command a significantly higher salary than would have otherwise been possible. Consider pursuing one of the auto mechanic certifications offered by ASE in order to increase both your pay, and your job satisfaction.
Are You Willing to Relocate?
Picking-up and moving may not be an option for everyone, but if you do have the opportunity to move to an area where your services will command a higher salary, then it is something to consider. Perhaps the most-likely scenario for you is to either move, or commute to a local community where the pay is better if you’re in a lower-paying area.
It is important to remember, however, that the reason why certain states and cities offer higher wages is usually because the cost of living there is also higher. Be sure to research this piece of the equation before planning to relocate!