Different Types of Mechanics and What They Earn

Mechanics are responsible for maintaining and repairing motorized vehicles and machinery. If something has a motor, you’ll generally need a mechanic to fix it and all vehicles need regular checks, services, and repairs. An accomplished mechanic should know how to dismantle and reassemble a motor but also keep up with new advancements in automotive engineering.

Most mechanics work with vehicles, like cars, buses, motorcycles but there are dozens of specialized mechanic positions, working on everything from motorboats to radios to airplanes. Here are a few of the duties of those mechanics and, crucially, what they earn.

Here are 5 Common Types of Mechanics

Auto Mechanic

Vintage shot of mechanic work shop

Auto mechanics carry out a huge range of tasks to keep your car running safely and smoothly. Working from a garage, an auto shop or a service station, auto mechanics are responsible for car maintenance and repair. Often working directly with customers, auto mechanics perform diagnostic tests to identify what’s wrong with a vehicle then do whatever is necessary to get it back on the road. According to the US Department of Labor, the average auto mechanic earns around $40,000 per year.

Small Engine Mechanic

Working on small engines, such as those in boats, jet skis and lawn mowers, small engine mechanics are in high demand. Small engine mechanics need to understand the workings of a huge range of engines and can offer their services to a range of customers. As a result, small engine mechanics can turn a tidy profit but are also vulnerable to seasonal trends; busy before the holidays and slow right after. On average, small engine mechanics earn around $36,000 but can earn more running their own business.

Keeping Safe with the Right Work Boots and Gear in the Workshop

It doesn’t matter what type of mechanic job you’re doing there are going to be safety measures put in place to protect yourself and others while working.

Mechanical worker with black boots on

These will vary depending on the exact type, for example a vehicle mechanic to an electrical mechanic. A vehicle mechanic will most likely shouldn’t be as concerned having mechanical work boots with electrical proof safety toes, depending on the work environment, where an electrical mechanic will most likely seek out work boots made from a composite material. As always you should check with your superior or your industry standards for what you are supposed to wear.

Heavy Vehicle Mechanic

Heavy vehicle mechanics carry out work similar to that of an auto mechanic. However, due to the size and complexity of heavy vehicles, these mechanics usually have a specialty like farm equipment or rail cars and work on site, rather than from a garage. Heavy vehicle mechanics earn around $50,000 per year.

Diesel Mechanic

Diesel mechanics work only on diesel engines. People are often surprised to hear that many transportation vehicles use a diesel engine, like buses, airplanes, and long-haul trucks. Diesel engines are large and complex and need a great deal of maintenance to work properly. Some diesel engines are so large they take up as much space as a car so work is usually done on site. Diesel mechanics earn around $46,000 per year.

Engine in diesel work shop

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanic

Often shortened to HVAC technician, these mechanics are responsible for a range of heating and cooling systems. This work can be high pressure as there can be serious consequences when a heating or cooling system fails. For example, a fault with the cooling system for a large server room could affect thousands of websites or a fault with a heating system in a building cold climate may force the building to shut down. Much of the work of an HVAC mechanic is maintenance that stops these scenarios happening. HVAC mechanics or technicians must be licensed and earn around $47,000 per year.

Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft mechanics are responsible for the maintenance of a range of aircraft engines and must be accredited by the Aviation Maintenance Technician school. From small aircraft right up to giant airbuses, aircraft mechanics must keep engines of all sizes up to specific inspection standards. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines these standards. The average salary for an aircraft mechanic is around $54,000.

Electrical Mechanic

Electrical mechanics can work in a range of settings including commercial, industrial and even residential. These mechanics are trained to work on motors, generators, wiring systems and controllers. A good electrical mechanic knows how to repair these pieces of equipment but can also break down and rebuild them when needed. It takes around four years to become a fully qualified electrical mechanic and training is usually done through an apprenticeship or by arrangement through an employer. Typical salary is around $40,000 per year.

If you’re considering becoming an electrical mechanic, research what training is available in your area. A high school diploma is usually all you need to get started on a mechanic apprenticeship or to secure a position with an employer who will pay your way. One qualified you can develop a specialism and make your dream career a reality.

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