Auto mechanics maintain and repair cars and light trucks. They must undergo continuous training to adapt to ever-advancing technology such as computerised engine control and sophisticated diagnostic tools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sees jobs for the field growing at five per cent until 2018, which is slower growth than average.
Because cars are becoming increasingly complicated, most employers prefer auto mechanics with formal training either in high school or in a postsecondary program at vocational schools or technical colleges. Voluntary certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence can increase job prospects and salaries. Median salaries after such training are £1,918 monthly, with a range of £1,074 to £3,245. This is according to the BLS as of May 2009.
The PayScale Report reveals how certain skills can affect salaries as of December 2010. The skill with the widest range of pay is welding, which is useful for repairing extensive body problems. Its monthly pay ranges from £1,532 to £4,225. A lucrative skill is electronic troubleshooting, which involves repair to a car's complex electrical systems. It offers £1,977 to £3,118 per month. Finally, knowing AutoCAD brings £1,489 to £2,755 because it facilitates planning for complex repair jobs.
The BLS states that the industry that hires the most auto mechanics is, predictably, automotive repair and maintenance, with 226,170 positions. It pays close to the median at £1,885 per month. The industry with the highest pay is aerospace product and parts manufacturing, with compensation at £3,590 monthly. However, because it only offers 110 positions nationwide, jobs here are difficult to obtain.
The BLS reveals that the state with the best employment rate for auto mechanics is Vermont, with 6.54 mechanics per thousand workers. Compensation here is at £1,875 per month. The state with the best-paying employers (due to the higher cost of living) is Alaska, with salaries at £2,674 monthly. However, the concentration is only 4.74 mechanics per thousand workers, making jobs somewhat harder to find.