Best Mechanic Careers?

Lets say a young man wants to work on vehicles.

What do you feel is the best career path?

Ex. Diesel? Transmissions? Motorcycles? Custom design?

Depends on the goals, but I’d just go the traditional auto mechanic route - when you’re ASE certified, you’re nigh-guaranteed at least a median-paying job in pretty much any city in the US you want to live in.

Plus, long-term you can pick up the ancillary business skills of running a shop by paying attention and asking questions, and go open your own shop somewhere when you’re far enough along on your career skills and savings, and then make owner money if you’re good at running your shop as a business.

If the goal is immediate income maximization, then I’d say specialization on the order of diesel or transmission mechanic may be a good path.

Major metropoilitan transit if long term financial stability is a concern.

My husband is a pretty successful mechanic. He started working in small shops and dealerships after going to a trade school. From there, he’s bounced around until he found his niche. He now works at a restoration shop doing major restoration projects on Corvettes for customers. He gets to work with a wide variety of model years and does all the major mechanical and electrical work. He is paid pretty well and is happy with what he does.

There are a lot of ways to go though. Whereever there are engines, there are mechanics. I think the most successful mechanics are the ones who are willing to learn and who pay attention to what’s going on around them. People who just want to change oil all day and don’t take the time to learn new skills won’t do as well.

I believe specific certifications are required for hybrid, EV, fuel cell, etc. Seems those skills will continue to be in demand in the near and long term.

Is career security the highest priority? If so then ASE certification plus diesel training is probably your best bet. There seems to be several places around me that keep looking for watercraft techs but that may be a local demand. I would avoid motorcycle or custom work if job security is prioritized.

Where specifically does your “young man”'s interests lie? What kind of vehicles does he want to work on?

Don’t discount being an aircraft mechanic either. I went the avionics route and it provided me with a great career in the military plus I learned a bunch of other skills that have carried over into my present occupation.

I don’t know anything about mechanics.
But…it occurs to me that if your “young man” is, say 20 years old, and wants a career to last til 65 or more, he’s going to see a lot of changes in 5 decades.
And one of those changes may be that electric cars might replace most private cars. And apparently electric engines need a lot less maintenance,so fewer jobs for mechanics.

But I’m guessing that diesel trucks will still be carrying freight on the highways.
So maybe concentrate on diesel.
(Disclaimer: this is just an idea that popped into my head a few seconds ago–I don’t know if it’s a realistic concern.)

Your not far off. Actually those BIG diesel engines on say road working equipment will always need mechanics.

BTW, even electric cars will have the same issues with ball joints, suspension, air bags, steering, and air conditioning systems.

Automobile technology may change radically with hybrid and battery electric vehicles, but aside from some novelty or short haul commuter planes I would expect aircraft to continue to use liquid hydrocarbon fuels for the foreseeable future, and while the source of that fuel may change, the basic engine technology won’t radically change. And as long as you are living near a city or air logistics center there will be jobs for aircraft mechanics and technicians.

It’s a real concern, and I would go so far as to say that even for long haul OTR shipping battery or hybrid electric vehicles will probably come to dominate as the technology (and automation of driving systems) improves, both for cost savings and simplicity of maintenance. There will still be a need for mechanics because vehicles will still have transmissions, suspensions, brakes, electronics, et cetera, and for passenger vehicles the occupant safety and comfort systems but the point is I wouldn’t focus in on engine maintenance and repair certifications to the exclusion of everything else.

There was an expert tech trainer named Rick who used to post here but it looks like he hasn’t posted in over a year. He worked for one of the major automotive companies and would probably have a good recommendation of what to focus on in the automotive field.


My cousin did this. Didn’t go to technical college but he went to the high school trade school, 20 years ago.

He’s been steadily employed for 20 years, makes good money and can work anywhere he wants. When he’s tired of where he’s at, he leaves. Someone else swoops him up right away, and gives him whatever training he needs.

Right now he’s the supervisor for a forklift repair company.

Those who said to get ASE are absolutely correct. There is an ASE certification for just about everything mechanics related. Those tiny little propane powered engines used on model planes, ASE certification available, automobile air conditining, ASE cert available. And shop owners often or sometimes don’t care as long as they can say you’re ASE certified and thus charge more for your work.

Is he going to get a degree in Engineering? Being chief engineer on a ship or designing aircraft engines is pretty sweet.

Heavy equipment mechanics make good money. I suspect they will for the foreseeable future. My Son was trained and has certificates and he can choose where he works. At the moment he’s working for a dealership. There are factories and private businesses he could go to. The dealership has better insurance and matches his 401k contributions.

Start with cars and do some basic jobs like changing brakes etc etc
Go over to more electric and diagnosing. You can earn good money if you are good at diagnostics and can solve problems that nobody else can do.

Work in the truck area is even better, but tougher. I guess starting your own workshop is the best money if you are good.

I’m a mechanic which is working with diagnostics and I earn good money from it!

I’d say Military. Get paid to learn, get benefits afterward, get a bump ahead in the hiring process after discharge.

Sometimes wish I’da gone that route…

Well, I know someone who works in an F1 team, but as far as I know he basically went to Mechanic High School, applied for a job with an automaker that’s got an F1 team, and the rest was internal selection.

I worked as a general truck mechanic all my life and am currently comfortably retired in So California. I was able to buy a home and always drive late model and sometime new vehicles and never have large amounts of debt. I was never able to have all the latest and greatest toys but always took nice vacations and usually had a decent 10 year old boat for fishing and fun. I got my kids through college with some student loan help but not much. I retired about 6 years ago at $34.00 per hour when I left. At this rate in So Cal you have to watch your money pretty close but can still live a pretty decent life especially if two of you are working.

After college (criminal justice major) my stepson decided that what he really enjoyed was “working on cars” so he did the night school auto mechanic training thing and then got a fairly well-paying job at a Jaguar dealership in suburban Philly (his advice would be to follow the money). ASE certification requires five years of experience, but by that point he was regularly ranked among the top 15 techs within Jaguar North America (they had annual troubleshooting and diagnosis competitions).

After about ten years he began to tire of being up to his elbows in engine every day and so he retrained again as an RN, and just moved to a diagnostic radiology clinic after about five years working in an ER (which was essentially more troubleshooting and diagnosis, just on squishier systems).

It’s not really a “vehicle” but elevator mechanics make a pretty penny.