The choice to become a mechanic can allow you to combine your love for automotive technology and performance with the ability to make a good living. Nationwide, automotive technician jobs pay an average of just over $37,000. With that being said, this is only the median earnings. On the lower end of the scale, mechanics might earn just over $21,000 or as much as $63,000. In Michigan, the average salary for auto technician jobs is $39,750, which is more than the national average. Still, there are things you’ll need to do to ensure that you’re able to earn as much as possible.
Get your education first
While you might have an aptitude for mechanical maintenance and repair, it is important to understand that mechanic jobs are really not that different from any other career. That is, you’ll need the right education in order to be qualified for higher paying jobs. There are several community colleges and technical schools in Michigan that can offer beginner, intermediate, and even advanced training courses. Some of your options include the following:
- Northwestern Michigan College
- Washtnaw Community College
- Bay De Noc Community College
- Michigan Career and Technical Institute
- Muskegon Community College
These schools can provide you with the education needed to earn your certification and get your foot in the door with an entry-level position. However, understand that this is just the starting point. Automotive technology is very complex, and offers the ability to specialize in a particular area, or earn your master certification. ASE certification is the standard for the industry, and you can take multiple courses that allow you to build your expertise in specific areas. You can earn your ASE certification in individual systems, and then go on to become a master certified automotive technician. Hirers appreciate the experience and knowledge ASE certification grants, and are willing to pay certified mechanics more than others.
In addition to ASE certification, there is also the possibility of becoming dealership certified. These courses are generally provided through branded dealerships (Ford, Kia, Chevrolet, etc.), and focus exclusively on that automaker’s technology, systems and designs. While this may not be as beneficial as ASE certification, it does allow you to build your skills in a particular brand’s offerings, and it also deepens your overall automotive knowledge and expertise. You can also take that training with you if you decide to leave the dealership for another position, either with another dealer of the same brand, or in another position completely.
Supplement your income with work as a mobile mechanic
With the right training and education, and time spent considering your options, you will be able to embark on a rewarding career.
While there are many career options for mechanics, one option you might consider is working with YourMechanic as a mobile mechanic. YourMechanic technicians earn up to $60 an hour and complete all work onsite at the car owner's location. As a mobile mechanic, you control your schedule, set your service area, and serve as your own boss. Learn more and apply.