What does a mechanic do?

A mechanic inspects and repairs machines, automobiles, and light trucks. The specific mechanical components that you will work on as a mechanic will vary depending on what industry and company you are working for. A job as a general automotive mechanic, for instance, will entail diagnosing and repairing common problems for a varied assortment of cars and trucks. Diesel mechanics, on the other hand, will work to restore any vehicles or machines that run on a diesel engine, such as commercial trucks and generators.

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What is the average salary of a mechanic?

As a mechanic in the United States, you can expect to earn an average of $21 per hour or $44,000 per year, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The actual hourly earnings you make will depend on a number of factors, including location, employer and industry, level of experience, and any special skills and qualifications. For instance, if you have experience restoring classic cars, you may be able to earn higher wages than regular automotive mechanics because of your specialty knowledge.

Additional perks

In addition to wages, mechanics are eligible to receive employee benefits, including sick and vacation days, paid holidays, employer-matched retirement contributions, medical and dental insurance policies, and a life insurance plan. In most cases, you are also provided a set of uniforms and tools. If you are required to procure your own toolbox, you may be reimbursed by your employer for the cost.

 

Picture of two arms fist bumping while holding a wrench with a red car in the background.
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Working as a mechanic

Working as a mechanic gives you access to all of the benefits that come with a trade job. For starters, jobs in the mechanical engineering and repair field are more stable compared to other industries. Society will always have a need for mechanics, regardless of how advanced machines become. Mechanics have to undergo continuous education and training in order to keep up with new mechanical innovations. New tools and devices for diagnosing and repairing machines will help you do the work of a mechanic. Ultimately, however, companies and consumers will need professionals to diagnose, repair, and maintain these mechanical components.

Other benefits of working as a mechanic

As a mechanic, you'll also be able to find work across many industries, not just the auto industry. You can be hired to work on manufacturing floors and processing plants of companies that produce other consumer goods. With enough hands-on experience, there is also the option to go into business for yourself. As an independent contractor, you'll be able to pick your work hours and clients.  

What are the responsibilities of a mechanic?

As mentioned earlier, mechanics work in different industries and perform different roles and responsibilities. In general, you will be expected to conduct regular maintenance on machinery and equipment. You'll also be meeting with clients to better understand what the main issue is and how to resolve it. As a mechanic, your day-to-day work involves examining machines and facilitating diagnostic tests to determine performance issues, designing an efficient plan of action for all maintenance and repair needs, and maintaining a comprehensive work log that details past repairs and maintenance.

What type of equipment do mechanics use?

Mechanics typically have a basic set of tools that they bring to every job. These include pressure gauges, wrenches, cutter tools, compressors, and so on. Depending on what specific job you are hired for, you may need specialized tools to perform tasks in a safe and efficient manner. For instance, as an automotive mechanic, you may keep clutch alignment tools, steering wheel lock plate tools, and spark plug sockets close to perform diagnosis, repair, and maintenance of your vehicles.

What is the work environment of a mechanic?

The work environment of a mechanic is typically well-ventilated and well-lit. While you don't go into an office or corporate setting, you'll often be working indoors, such as in a repair shop. Expect to work closely with other mechanics and around heavy equipment and dirt, dust, and grease. In some cases, you may need to lift heavy objects and move parts around. You will be asked to undergo safety training to learn about preventative measures to avoid workplace accidents.

Who are your colleagues as a mechanic?

Mechanics usually work independently, but you might also work in an environment (such as a larger repair shop or factory) alongside other mechanics. You can ask and, at the same time, be asked to render support to coworkers who may need technical or physical help, such as help with a mechanical anomaly or moving a heavy part from table to machine. An overwhelming number of mechanics also find themselves working with automotive dealers and salespeople, especially if you work within the automotive industry.

What is the work schedule of a mechanic?

Most mechanics are hired as full-time employees, while others are brought in as independent contractors when there is a spike in demand. For instance, more automotive mechanics may be hired, or existing mechanics may be asked to work longer hours during seasons of extreme weather when outdoor conditions lead to myriad automotive problems. If you are hired as a mechanic, expect 40 to 48 hours per week. You may have the option to work overtime hours and earn extra pay during busy periods of the year.

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What is the career outlook for a mechanic?

The demand for mechanics is unlikely to cease in the future, as people continue to need the skill set and expertise of a skilled and qualified mechanic. The career outlook for mechanics going from 2020 to 2030 is expected to show little to no change. Roughly 69,000 job vacancies will be available for mechanics looking for work within the automotive service industry. The majority of these openings will be created as a result of older mechanics retiring from the labor force.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a mechanic?

Spherion makes it easy for you to find the top mechanic jobs for you. As a mechanic working with Spherion, you can pursue the career you are most interested in while also getting rewarded for it. Here are some benefits of securing a mechanic job with Spherion:

  • Weekly pay
  • Flexibility with shifts ranging from full time to overtime or fill-in shifts
  • Convenience of an on-call point person who helps find jobs and serves as an advocate when you need assistance
  • Valuable training opportunities for workers
  • The ability to search for grinder operator jobs with multiple companies in your area
  • Working with a contact person to get help as you apply for jobs and once you go to work.
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What education do you need as a mechanic?

While a traditional undergraduate degree is unnecessary, employers still consider completion of a program from a post-secondary institution a huge plus. As a bare minimum, you'll need a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) diploma to be considered by most businesses. 

You will also need to hold a valid vehicle inspection license in your state and have a certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or an equivalent credential. 

Depending on your employer, you may need to undertake certain courses before you start work as a mechanic. For instance, you may have to take a course on how to properly use certain diagnostic equipment, or how specific systems or machinery work.

Skills & competencies

To thrive as a mechanic, you need certain skills and competencies to complement your training and educational background. Customer service is one key attribute that can help you become a more marketable job candidate. Being a good customer service representative can boost your employer's credibility and reassure customers that their machinery or vehicle is in good hands. A good mechanic also values continued education. You'll want to regularly partake in certification courses and advancement programs to keep up with new machines and models on the market.

 

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FAQs

Mechanics build, assemble, maintain, and repair machines for maximum performance and longevity. We answer some common questions about becoming a mechanic below.

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