The Top 10 Highest Paying Careers for Mechanics

best jobs for mechanics

Mechanics are people who have a good mechanical aptitude, can solve problems effectively and don’t mind getting their hands dirty. The jobs listed on this list of the top 10 highest paying careers for mechanics include opportunities to work on everything from big construction equipment to motorcycles and motorboats.

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#1 Aircraft Mechanic

Job Description

Aircraft mechanics are charged with keeping aircraft of all sizes in good working order. They are required to complete inspections as directed under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, as well as perform scheduled maintenance checks and repairs.

Salary

The median salary level for an aircraft mechanic is $53,420 per annum.

Special Skills and Training

The first step in becoming a certified mechanic is to attend Aviation Maintenance Technician School. Candidates with 18-30 months of work experience must pass oral, written, and practical tests to obtain their certificate.

#2 Industrial Machinery Mechanic

Job Description

When the machinery used in factories needs to be serviced, repaired or replaced, the work is performed by industrial mechanics. They use technical manuals, computerized systems and their own observations to diagnose problems with the equipment.

Salary

An industrial mechanic earns a median salary of $45,420 a year.

Special Skills and Training

Machinery mechanics may start off working as helpers and gaining skills on the job and by taking courses offered through the employer. Some people working in this career gain the skills they need through an apprenticeship program, while others have completed a two-year associate degree program in industrial maintenance.

#3 Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic

Job Description

Mobile heavy equipment mechanics work on equipment used in the construction and railroad industries. They inspect, service and repair equipment used to perform functions such as digging earth, tilling land and lifting beams.

Salary

The median rate of pay for this job is $44,830 annually.

Special Skills and Training

A high school student who is interested in becoming a mobile heavy equipment mechanic should take courses in math, chemistry and physics to prepare for this career. After high school, the next step is to attend a community college or vocational school program in diesel technology.

#4 Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic

Job Description

Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics are also called HVAC technicians. The work may involve inspecting, repairing or replacing elements in a system’s pump, motor, fan, thermostat or switches. Work may be performed inside or outside, in less-than-ideal temperatures, due to the heating or cooling system being shut off or not performing properly.

Salary

A person working as a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic can expect to earn a median salary of $42,540 per year.

Special Skills and Training

Completing a training or apprenticeship program in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration offered by a community college, trade or vocational school, is a good starting point for future HVAC technicians. Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics must be licensed and the requirements for obtaining one vary, depending on the jurisdiction.

#5 Diesel Mechanic

Job Description

Diesel mechanics perform maintenance and repairs on heavy transportation and construction equipment, such as cranes, road graders and bulldozers, as well as farm machinery.

Salary

These trained specialists earn approximately $40,850 per year (median salary figure).

Special Skills and Training

Most employers prefer to hire graduates of community college or vocational school programs in diesel engine repair. Other qualifications for this type of work include being physically fit, excellent problem solving skills, a drivers license and a mechanical aptitude.

#6 Electrical Mechanic

Job Description

Electrical mechanics focus on testing, repairing and rebuilding motors, heaters, generators, electric wiring systems and controllers. They may work in institutional, commercial or industrial settings.

Salary

The average salary for an electrical mechanic is $40,000 per year.

Special Skills and Training

Training for a career as an electrical mechanic can be obtained through a four-five year apprenticeship program or on-the-job instruction offered by an employer.

#7 Radio Mechanic

Job Description

Radio mechanics install and service equipment for radio transmission and reception. Their job duties could involve servicing radio tower or marine equipment. The mechanic examines the equipment to detect damaged components and repair or replace them.

Salary

The median salary level for a radio mechanic is $39,740 per annum.

Special Skills and Training

A person interested in becoming a radio mechanic would complete an two or four-year undergraduate degree in electronics to qualify for this position or get training in the Military.

#8 Automotive Mechanic

Job Description

Automotive, or “auto” mechanics inspect and repair vehicles which run on gas, electricity or ethanol. Part of the work involves performing basic maintenance, including tire rotations and oil changes. These mechanics also diagnose more serious problems by running diagnostic tests, and reading and evaluating computerized printouts.

Salary

The median salary for this job is $35,790 per year.

Special Skills and Training

Many employers who wish to hire auto mechanics look for graduates of an automotive service technology program at a vocational school or community college.

#9 Motorboat Mechanics

Job Description

Motorboat mechanics work on engines, carburetors and other mechanized parts of watercraft. They also perform inspections and repairs on propellers and propeller shafts. The mechanic may mount motors onto boats and operate them on the water to observe any operating issues.

Salary

This type of work pays a median salary of $35,600 per year.

Special Skills and Training

Some employers will hire trainee mechanics who have a high school education, but the majority prefer to consider a job seeker who has completed a specialized program at a postsecondary institution.

#10 Motorcycle Mechanic

Job Description

Motorcycle mechanics work on choppers, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and cruisers. They may also repair snowmobiles and jet skis. Some motorcycle mechanics specialize in restoring these personal modes of transportation.

Salary

The median rate of pay for motorcycle mechanics is $29,973 per annum.

Special Skills and Training

Training programs for motorcycle mechanics are offered by an increasing number of vocational schools and community colleges.

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