WHAT DO ENGINE MECHANICS DO?
Does your heart race when you hear an engine rumble? Got grease in your veins? If you were born with a wrench in your hand, you're ready for a career as an engine mechanic. Engine mechanic is a broad term for people who assess, maintain and repair engines. This could be in cars and light trucks, small engines like lawnmowers or outboard motors, aircraft engines, or diesel engines.
Engine mechanics have a lot of technical know-how, using a number of hand tools and diagnostic equipment, and work with big and small mechanical components. They also need customer service skills, working with clients and customers to help them understand what is needed to keep their engine running, and different options for repair or maintenance.
HOW MUCH DO ENGINE MECHANICS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2010, Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians made a median of $20.50 an hour, or $42,630 a year. The average auto mechanic made $17.21 hourly and an average annual wage of $35,790. Avionics and aircraft mechanics made $25.59 per hour ($53,220/year) and small engine mechanics made $15.29 an hour ($31,790/year.)
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Again, it depends on the job. Equipment mechanics will benefit from postsecondary degrees in diesel technology, heavy equipment mechanics, small engine repair or similar. Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through an FAA-approved technical school.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Attention to Detail: Some parts need to be in the exact right place, or they will not work. Being able to pay attention to the minute details of engine repair will be necessary.
- Strength: Engines and parts can be extremely heavy and will take a lot of strength to move or manipulate.
- Mechanical Skills: Engine mechanics will need familiarity with parts and components of engines, as well as the tools to fix them.
- Technical Skills: Some engine mechanics will need to be familiar with electronic diagnostic equipment to troubleshoot repairs.
- Manual Dexterity: Good hands and great hand-eye coordination help engine mechanics be successful.
- Troubleshooting Skills: Engine mechanics need to be able to look at engine components, identify problems, and think about possible solutions.
THE FUTURE OF ENGINE MECHANICS
Aviation/avionics mechanic jobs will grow slowly between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS, while most other mechanic jobs will grow at an average rate.