Auto mechanics are also called service technicians, because fixing modern cars requires more than mechanical know-how. For example, many diagnostic tests are computerized, and electrical components govern the mechanical systems. A high school diploma and on-the-job training are the minimum job requirements, but many prospective mechanics complete postsecondary training programs. Employers also typically require industry certification. Although wages vary with the employer, region and worker's experience, mechanics averaged nearly $40,000 annually as of 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Average Pay and Range
The average hourly pay for an auto mechanic was $18.97 as of 2013, or the equivalent of $39,450 annually full time, according to the BLS. Wages varied depending on the type of job and the mechanic's experience. The lowest-earning 10 percent received $20,920 annually or less, while the top 10 percent earned $61,210 per year or more.
Auto repair shops employed 225,500 mechanics in 2013, more mechanics than any other industry, and paid them an average annual wage of $35,930, according to the BLS. An additional 208,380 mechanics worked for auto dealers, receiving a higher average annual salary of $43,450. On the other hand, the third-place industry for jobs, auto parts stores, employed 62,180 mechanics but paid only $34,170 annually on average.
The top-paying state for mechanics in 2013 was high-cost Alaska, where wages averaged $51,320 per year, according to the BLS. The $49,910 average annual pay in the District of Columbia topped the salaries for mechanics in all the remaining states. The highest-paying metro area was San Francisco, which reported an average annual wage of $54,160. Mechanics in Fairbanks, Alaska, earned $51,950 per year on average, the second-highest pay among metro regions.