If you love working around cars, you may have considered working as a mechanic. A mechanic does general maintenance and repairs on cars, trucks, boats, and bikes. Although some mechanics work independently, others work in auto garages and dealerships.
Most mechanics are men. According to Zippia, 423,670 mechanics are currently employed in the U.S., and only 4.3% are women. If you want to be a mechanic, you won’t need any formal education or expensive schooling. Most mechanics employed in the U.S. have a high school diploma, and a few have a bachelor-level degree.
Working as a mechanic can be quite fulfilling. As a mechanic, you can offer helpful service and work regular hours in some companies. If you like seeing tangible results, you’ll love the satisfaction that comes with solving problems on cars. Yet it’s possible to love cars and desire another career path. In this article, we will look at alternative jobs that are well-suited for mechanics.
Why Some Mechanics Change Careers
Working as a mechanic is quite satisfying for some people, especially those who love cars and solving problems. Yet some situations or circumstances necessitate a career change. Fortunately, mechanics have transferable skills that can be used for other professions. Here are some common reasons that could motivate you to look for alternative jobs for mechanics.
1. A Steadier Work Schedule
While some workplaces allow mechanics to have a regular work schedule, for the most part, mechanics will be working on call. Your work is dependent on when clients need services. You must work weekends if a client needs their car fixed on the weekend. If you love cars but would like more flexible hours, it may be time to look for alternative jobs for mechanics.
2. A Job That Isn’t Physically Demanding
Working as a mechanic is a physically intensive job. You may need to move heavy parts, bend, stand, and squat for long hours. You’ll have to get your hands dirty on a daily basis. However, there are lots of alternative jobs for mechanics that require a similar skillset, without the physical labor. As a mechanic, you can still work around cars without having to engage in back-breaking labor.
3. A Higher-Paying Job
One of the reasons people work is to earn an income to provide for themselves. Depending on your situation and employer, your wages as a mechanic might not be high enough to meet your standard of living. Additionally, if your employer does not offer insurance packages or other benefits, you might consider looking for alternative jobs that have a little more to offer. Auto-parts representative careers, for instance, can potentially offer more than your average mechanic wage.
4. A Job With Less Responsibility
Working as a mechanic can be stressful. Clients trust you to work on their expensive cars. If you make a mistake, it means you may be liable for the damage done to the car. You also may get in trouble with your employer. On top of all that, you’re responsible for fixing whatever problem the car has in the first place. If you’re sick of dealing with clients and having to be responsible for their cars, it may be time to consider a job change.
What to Do Before Making a Career Change as a Mechanic
If you haven’t been feeling great about your job, you may be thinking about changing careers. It’s best to consider all of your options and figure out if your working conditions are unfair or uncommon. Here are some tips to help you navigate changing careers as a mechanic.
1. Talk to Your Employer
If the biggest reason for looking for alternative jobs for mechanics is your working conditions, you should consider talking to your employer. Could they let you work less than 40 hours weekly, with paid weekends? Can they increase your insurance coverage? Can they offer more benefits? If your problems arise from a difficult colleague, you should consider asking your employer if they can do something about it.
2. Consider Working Independently
Although it might be challenging to venture out independently, working as an independent contractor might offer you the flexibility and room that you’re looking for. Sometimes the greatest success comes when we take risks and make bold moves. Starting out on your own may be worth the risk.
3. Invest in an Apprenticeship or Paid Training
If you love being a mechanic but are afraid of damaging someone’s car, you can invest in more training to become more confident in your skills. An apprenticeship with an expert mechanic can boost your confidence and make you a better mechanic. You might find more enjoyment in being a mechanic if you find somebody to mentor you for a period of time.
4. Consider What You Want
No career is without a bit of headache. While some careers offer better perks, people have different interests and talents. One may work as a dentist earning a six-figure salary. One may find that teaching elementary school is more satisfactory with lower pay. While everyone needs to pay bills, financial rewards should not be the only factor to consider when making a career move.
Alternative Jobs for Mechanics
If problem-solving doesn’t change your desire to look for alternative jobs for mechanics, it’s time to start thinking of what’s next. Where are your skills most transferrable? Where can you express your love for cars without doing actual mechanic work? Let’s dive into ten alternative jobs for mechanics you can consider.
1. You Can Still Work at an Auto Shop
If you love cars, you may not want to move away from the automotive industry entirely. You can still work in an auto shop without doing the work of a mechanic. While it may seem like auto shops are similar to auto garages, they are not. Auto shops typically do not do mechanical repairs.
As an auto repair technician, you would be involved in one or more of the following services:
- Window replacement and repair: Your work typically involves replacing broken window panes and screens. Sometimes a repair does the job if the damage is not extensive.
- Paintless dent removal: PDR involves removing dents without repainting. PDR is a cost-effective method for minor dents and dings.
- Frame damage repair: You work on repairing the frame after a collision.
2. You Can Paint Cars
As a former mechanic, you have relevant experience with different brands of cars and have probably done a bit of painting. One of the most suitable alternative jobs for mechanics is painting cars. You must be delicate and detailed to ensure the right color match. If you have a bit of experience and you like painting, this may be a great alternative job.
You can work independently or in auto paint protection companies. A switch from mechanics to auto painting will require some training. If you are committed to the path, you could do a short-term apprenticeship with an expert auto painter. Training will give you the confidence you need to do a good job.
3. You Can Offer Automotive Glass Services
When a collision occurs, the windshield and side windows of a car may need repair or replacement depending on the extent of the damage. Auto glass service for glass repair and replacements might be quite a fulfilling role if you enjoy working on cars. You will get to recommend high-quality auto glass for clients, repair windshields, and work with manufacturers to stock replacement parts.
4. You Can Work on Brakes
As a mechanic, you have experience with a vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems. You can easily switch to working on car brakes with your knowledge as a car mechanic. You would still work with cars, albeit in a less physically demanding position.
As a car brakes expert, you offer car brake inspections, brake pad inspections, brake repair, and brake replacement. You won’t be diagnosing the damage when a car breaks down. Since you would only work on one part of the car, you would become an expert with specialized knowledge. So you would be less worried about damaging a client’s car and more eager to offer a helpful service. Clients will also pay more for specialized services.
5. You Can Offer Specialized Services
One of the most suitable alternative jobs for mechanics is a job that offers specialized services. While being a general mechanic may have some perks, offering specialized services makes you an expert. You can become an expert on brakes, suspensions, or engines. You could also become an expert on a certain car brand. If you work with a car manufacturing brand, you can access suitable resources to make your job easier.
According to Statista, Honda sold 4.1 million units in the 2022 fiscal year. That makes Honda one of the most popular automotive brands. If you have experience as a mechanic working on Honda vehicles, you could offer Honda services to clients. You could work at an authorized Honda service center where you could access resources from Honda like support and high-quality tools.
6. You Can Tow Cars
Did you know you could tow trucks as a former mechanic? If you love working around cars but prefer a job involving plenty of movement and traveling, towing might be the right job for you. Moreover, you will offer a helpful service when someone needs immediate assistance.
As a tow truck driver, clients will call you when they have a flat tire, run out of gas, or the engine won’t start. A driver may be frustrated with the inconvenience, but your sight will offer some relief. Your former experience as a mechanic will prove helpful as you can advise the client on the best course of action.
7. You Can Sell Aftermarket Parts
If you have been looking for alternative jobs for mechanics, have you considered selling aftermarket truck parts? You may have realized that you like working around people more than cars. Working in sales could be a fulfilling and financially rewarding career change.
Your knowledge of cars will come in handy when explaining parts and functions to buyers. You may also be able to introduce them to your network in case they need mechanic services.
8. You Can Do Inspections
If you are not up to the hands-on work of a mechanic, you can consider doing an auto inspection service. Vehicle owners often do car inspections to reduce maintenance and repair costs. Yet most don’t have the certifications to do a proper auto inspection.
As a person more conversant with how vehicles work, your expertise and knowledge will help car owners make informed choices on how to maintain their vehicles. You could work at a company or establish your own business.
9. You Can Detail Cars
If you are looking for one of the creative alternative jobs for mechanics, you could become an auto detailer. Perhaps detailing cars is the most satisfying task for you. Ideally, you take a beaten car and deliver it to the client looking new and pristine. You will work with a diverse pool of clients with varying desires for their vehicle’s exterior and interior appearance. The auto detailing niche is quite attractive if you are a creative person who loves cars.
As an auto detailer, you will do waxing, exterior detailing, luxury polishing, and interior cleaning. In short, you will clean cars. And you may love it!
10. You Can Unlock Cars for People
Did you know you could spend your work hours unlocking cars for people as an automotive locksmith? People often lock themselves out of their cars, lose their keys, or the key gets stuck in the ignition. Safely unlocking a car requires an expert locksmith. You might need some specialized training and tools before becoming a professional automotive locksmith.
Now you know the different alternative jobs for mechanics that you can pick from. There are many options if you love cars but would love to work in a different field. You could detail cars, sell truck parts, or even paint cars!
Before making a career change from mechanic work, it’s best to take some time to reflect on why you want a career change. Sometimes, a career change may be the best option to take. In that case, we hope that the list was helpful for you. What are some other jobs suitable for former mechanics?