If you live in the Big Sky State and are considering taking advantage of automotive technician jobs, it pays to learn a little more about the industry and your career prospects before committing. The good news is that mechanic jobs can pay quite a bit for the right person. The national average salary for automotive technicians is just north of $37,000, but the average in Montana is $36,930. This is slightly below the national average, but it should be remembered that there are mechanic jobs that pay quite a bit more. There are also things you can do that will help increase your income as a mechanic.
Educate yourself before entering the job market
Before you start applying for mechanic jobs, it’s important to get the training and education you need. While you can learn a lot through hands-on training and working on your own car, there really is no substitute for formal education. There are quite a few schools in Montana that offer automotive technology courses. A few of the schools open to Montana residents include the following:
- University of Montana
- Montana Tech
- Helena College University of Montana
- Montana State University
- Montana State University Billings
Once you’ve completed your course or courses, you will have the basic skills needed for entry-level mechanic jobs in the state. However, you should not consider your education done. If you really want to earn a higher auto mechanic salary, you’ll need to go a bit further. ASE certification is the standard in the industry, and once you’ve earned a certification or two (or gone for your master certification), you’ll find that you can command a much higher salary. That’s because shop owners, dealership owners, and service center managers understand this certification proves that you have experience, expertise, and knowledge that others lack, and they’re willing to pay more for that.
It may also be worth your while to consider dealership certification. These programs provide you with a better understanding of a specific automaker’s designs and technology. For instance, if you worked at a Ford dealership, then certification would broaden your knowledge of Ford’s systems and how they work, as well as how they differ from other automakers. These certification programs can help you earn more at your current dealership, or at another similarly branded shop. They can also be valuable when working at a private shop or when starting your own business.
Supplement your income with work as a mobile mechanic
Get the education you need, and then earn your ASE certification. Plan your employment strategically, and you’ll find this can be a very rewarding career path.
While there are many career options for mechanics, one option you might consider is working with YourMechanic as a mobile mechanic. YourMechanic technicians earn up to $60 an hour and complete all work onsite at the car owner's location. As a mobile mechanic, you control your schedule, set your service area, and serve as your own boss. Learn more and apply.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Montana? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.