Why Do Some Mechanics Get Paid Higher Than Others?


Why Do Some Mechanics Get Paid More Than Others?

Let me start out by saying that Money is not everything. Total compensation is way more important which also includes benefits, vacation time etc. but base pay is the easiest thing to measure and I get technicians asking all the time how can I earn more?

Below are some of the main reasons why some techs get paid more than others. Hopefully these help when making career decisions. If you are ever looking for a new job or just want to chat about your career give us a call at 1-833-937-3546 or e-mail us at info@rockstarrecruiting.ca or check out our job board at www.rockstarmechanics.com/jobs


The fastest way to increase your pay rate in almost any mechanic shop is to get certified. The more certifications you have the better!

Factory or OEM certifications are like Gold. If you are certified on Cummins, Detroit Diesel or CAT engines you are going to be a lot more valuable to any Diesel Shop. Getting specific training from any of the major players in your field sets you apart:

  • Diesel Techs – International, MACK, PACCAR, Peterbilt, Kenworth etc.
  • Automotive – Ford, Mercedes, GM, Honda, Hyundai, KIA, Toyota etc.
  • Heavy Equipment – CAT, Komatsu, SANY, Hyundai, CASE, Kubota, John Deere etc.

For Canadian Mechanics, make sure you get your Journeyman License or Red Seal or Certificate of Qualification.

For American Mechanics, take your ASE Certifications.

A common response from technicians is that they do not have a certificate because they never needed it. That may be true but they are almost always increase your value. Many shops pay an extra $0.50-$1.00 per ASE you have and Journeyman Techs almost always get at least 10% more than an unlicensed tech with the same experience.

Driver’s License

You need to have a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record. This allows a company to let you drive their company vehicle without their insurance rates going up. Even if you are not a full time field technician, having the ability to work in the field increases your value.

For Diesel Techs, get a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) this will almost always get you a raise. You need to be able to test drive the trucks you are working on.

I know that techs are scared, if I get a CDL they are going to make me drive all the time, this is not often true, you are more valuable as a tech than as a driver so most companies want to keep you on the tools but having that CDL makes you more versatile and usually gets you an extra $1.00/hour.

Welding Experience/License

Go take a welding course or if you are already good at welding go take a welding test. Having welding credentials will make you more valuable.

Inspectors License

Get your DOT or State/Provincial Inspector license. Being able to sign off on inspections will always make you more valuable. For Auto make sure you can do the drive clean inspections or Smog inspections.


Typically the mechanics in an individual shop that have been there longer are paid at a higher rate. If you are constantly bouncing between job to job you are unlikely to get the that point. Find a company that treats you well and stick with them. You will earn raises along the way.

Size Matters

For mechanics, usually the bigger the thing you are working on the more you get paid. Auto mechanics get paid more than Motorcycle Mechanics. Diesel Truck Technicians earn more than Automotive Service Technicians and Heavy Equipment Mechanics, particularly Mining Equipment Technicians earn the highest.


If you specialize in something and become a master you will always be sought after and command a higher earning potential. This could be a particular brand i.e Ford Master Certified, or type of niche equipment like Cranes or Generators. Being a specialist means you can be counted on for some of the more in depth jobs. This takes years and dedication but will pay off, especially if you love what you specialize in.


Be a leader in the shop, be a role model (show up on time, work hard, have a good attitude etc.) and you will be rewarded with promotions to roles like lead technician.

Money is not everything, you have to love your job and love what you do. Enjoying your work and having a positive work-life balance is more important than earning at a higher clip. That being said if you follow the above tips it can help you maximize your earning potential. For more career advice check out the rest of our career advice articles.

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