The Starting Salary for an Auto Mechanic

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America’s internationally famous car culture means one thing for certain. There’s no shortage of demand for automotive mechanic jobs. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting a five percent increase in automotive mechanic and technician jobs between 2008 and 2018, mechanics just beginning their career can be reasonably assured they’ll be able to advance past entry-level pay.

Average Starting Salary

The average entry-level automotive mechanic’s annual salary is $33,422 as of December 2010, according to Salary.com. Half of all beginner mechanics earn between $29,247 and $38,613, although 10 percent earn more than $43,338. Automotive mechanics who earn salaries in this range typically have less than two years of experience, though most have received an apprenticeship or earned basic ASE certifications.

Salary by Experience Level

Automotive mechanics and technicians may expect their earnings to increase the longer they spend in the garage, as experience and additional certifications help them earn higher salaries. Automotive mechanics with one to four years of experience earn salaries between $23,979 and $37,332 as of December 2010, according to PayScale. Those with five to nine years on the job typically earn annual salaries between $28,785 and $45,532, and those with 10 to 19 years in the industry may expect salaries as high as $49,968. Those with 20 or more years of experience may earn up to $60,230 each year.

Average Earnings

Regardess of experience level and training, the average automotive mechanic or technician earned wages and commissions of $16.88 per hour, or $35,110.40 annually, as of May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. Half of all mechanics’ hourly earnings are between $12.44 and $22.64 per hour, or between $25,875.20 and $47,091.20 annually. Mechanics who work for a local governmental agency tend to receive the highest hourly wage, while those employed in a parts or tire store earn the smallest hourly wage, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Benefits

It’s not uncommon for automotive mechanics to receive health benefits, although they’re certainly not industry-standard as part of their compensation packages. Exactly half of all mechanics receive medical benefits from their employer, although only 28 percent receive a dental plan. A mere 16 percent receive vision coverage as part of their compensation.

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