A career as a mechanic can be a great choice if you enjoy tinkering with machinery and solving mechanical puzzles. As a female mechanic, you can also help to break a longstanding glass ceiling in the world of work: few women work as mechanics. For example, the Department of Labor reported in 2009 that women made up just 3.8 percent of aircraft mechanics, 0.8 percent of diesel mechanics, and 0.5 percent of small auto mechanics. While some mechanics are trained informally after they are hired, employers are increasingly looking for applicants who have some form of postsecondary training.
Automotive mechanics service non-diesel passenger cars and trucks. In 2012, auto mechanics reported an average income of $39,060 per year. Average pay ranged significantly by type of employer. For example, auto mechanics averaged $33,830 per year at automotive parts stores and $35,360 at garages, but far higher average earnings of $43,250 per year when employed by automobile dealerships.
As of 2012, diesel mechanics earned an average income of $43,660 per year. Diesel mechanics who worked on long-haul 18-wheeler trucks reported pay average pay ranging between $38,000 and $40,000 per year. Those employed in the repair of charter buses averaged $40,830 per year, while diesel mechanics specializing in the repair of urban transit vehicles averaged $47,430 per year. Diesel mechanics employed directly by local governments averaged $50,640 per year.
Aircraft mechanics earned an average of $55,690 per year in 2012, one of the highest pay rates among mechanics. They also tend to have more training; a typical stint at an FAA-approved flight mechanic school usually lasts between 18 months and two years. Aircraft mechanics employed in the scheduled air transportation industry averaged $60,130 per year, while those working for private chartered and corporate nonscheduled air transportation companies reported an average income of $56,550 per year.
Other specializations for mechanics include motorboat mechanics, who earned an average of $37,140 per year in 2012. Mechanics who primarily service agricultural equipment reported an average income of $35,680 per year. Service technicians who specialize in motorcycle, scooter and moped repair earned an average of $34,910. Small engine mechanics, who repair equipment such as lawnmowers and chain saws, reported an average annual income of $31,820.
2016 Salary Information for Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians earned a median annual salary of $60,230 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,370, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $73,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 149,500 people were employed in the U.S. as aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Outdoor Power Equipment and Other Small Engine Mechanics
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Motorboat Mechanics and Service Technicians
- Department of Labor: Nontraditional Occupations for Women in 2009
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become an Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanic or Technician
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Farm Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Motorcycle Mechanics
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
- Career Trend: Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians