The Average Salary of Automotive Service Technicians

Information updated January 2016.

By Charles K. Green

What automotive technicians and car mechanics earn.

Automotive service technicians and mechanics are trained to diagnose, adjust and repair vehicles, performing work ranging from accomplishing oil changes to handling complex engine and transmission overhauls. These professionals, numbering more than 740,000 people as of 2014, often receive training through technical schools with follow up training on the job or through select training programs. As of 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average annual wage of $39,980 for such professionals.

Automotive Service Technicians Average Pay

sparksPay for automotive professionals including mechanics and service technicians ranges from $20,800 per year for those in the 10th percentile to $62,280 for those in the 90th percentile. Most workers likely made somewhere between the 25th and 75th percentile, earning $27,270 to $49,780 per year. The median average salary for these workers was $37,120 according to the BLS.

Largest Industries for Employment

Nearly two-thirds of all technicians and mechanics are concentrated in three industries: automotive repair and maintenance businesses; automobile dealers; and automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores. Those working in the first industry earned an annual mean wage of $37,060; those employed in the second industry earned $44,000 on average. Those employed in the third-largest industry earned $34,580 per year on average.

Other industries employing significant numbers of technicians and mechanics included local governments such as towns and cities, where these individuals could expect to earn $49,320 per year on average. Gasoline and related service stations paid $35,420 per year on average.

Salaries By Location

Where you live can have a huge bearing on what you can earn as an automotive service technician or car mechanic.

Among states, Alaska offered the highest wages, with such workers earning $52,050 per year. New Jersey, Massachusetts followed with average pay ranging from $44,950 to $46,240 per year. On the lower end of the pay spectrum were such states as West Virginia where wages averaged $31,370 per year. Maine at $36,710 and Montana at $37,940 were other states where average salaries were well below the national mean.

Training Requirements

Important for this industry is the training such professionals earn, usually learned at the high school or technical college level. Many employers look for automotive service technicians who have completed such training and may require National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certification as a condition of employment. Some car manufacturers and franchised automotive dealers sponsor associate degree programs at postsecondary schools across the United States. Such programs typically allow students to alternate their schooling with working in a service department, allowing students to earn a salary and to receive training concurrently.

BLS Job Outlook

The BLS has forecast a 5 to 8 percent growth rate in the number of jobs available for the 10-year period from 2014 to 2024. This rate is slightly below the national growth average for all jobs. For those who complete their secondary training and obtain ASE certification, their prospects are expected to be very good. Possessing superior diagnostic skills and familiarization with today’s complex vehicle systems, including hybrid drivetrains is a bonus. Expect positions to continue to open as older workers retire. And, with people keeping their cars longer, the need for trusted mechanics to help keep these vehicles running should remain strong.

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Matthew Keegan
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