You can find mechanics working for automobile dealerships, garages, car-care centers, gas stations and many more locations. Mechanics will service, repair and provide maintenance on automobiles to ensure they run smoothly and efficiently. The amount of training can vary from mechanic to mechanic, but most start training while in high school with some type of auto mechanics class.
Mechanics can become Automotive Service Excellence certified, which means they need to pass one of the 40 exams offered and have approximately two years of work experience. Once a mechanic has completed the certification process, he is viewed as more professional, knowledgeable and experienced by coworkers, employers and the general public. If a mechanic wants to remain ASE certified, she has to be tested every five years. About one-third of all mechanics fail these certification tests.
Once you become a mechanic, you'll need expensive tools and boxes. Some toolboxes are 5 to 6 feet tall and cost $10,000 or more. A mechanic needs other hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches and jacks to ensure he can complete jobs on a regular basis. When a new car hits the market, a mechanic may need a special tool just to work on that particular car.
A variety of tools can be purchased from retail outlets, but they are not not designed for daily professional use and have to be replaced often. Many mechanics will deal with tool distributors from companies such as Matco Tools, Mac Tools and Snap-on Tools. The distributors visit the mechanic at her place of business and sells tools, fixes broken tools and provides service regarding other problems or concerns. Mechanics must pay a higher premium for these tools because of the service provided and the durability.
The number of auto mechanics in the United States was expected to increase 14 percent from 2006 through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The position will become more technical as more technological advances come into play. Mechanics must have knowledge of computers and electrical systems if they want perform maintenance and repairs on the newer cars.
The average salary for a mechanic was $16.24 per hour in 2006, according to the BLS. The salary can vary based on experience, certification and location. At the very high end of the salary range, mechanics can make $27 per hour. Salaries tend to be higher for mechanics working for the government and at automotive dealers. Auto-repair shops and gas stations allow mechanics to make about $14.50 per hour.