Becoming an industrial mechanic is a smart way to set yourself up with a lifelong career. Employees in this position make a solid income and the demand for industrial mechanics is only expected to go up in the coming years.
Whether you’re interested in this career path, or if you’re already on it, you might be curious about the best places to look for a job as an industrial mechanic.
Here’s everything that you need to know about industrial mechanics and where the most opportunities for them are.
What does an industrial mechanic do, exactly?
An industrial mechanic’s job is to maintain and repair factory equipment and various types of machinery. This can involve completing a wide variety of tasks during an average shift. For example, a typical industrial mechanic may spend time working on each of the following responsibilities:
- Reading through technical manuals and blueprints
- Adjusting equipment
- Troubleshooting problems with machinery and repairing them
- Disassembling and reassembling machines and equipment
- Perform tests to help optimize machine performance
If working on these types of tasks sounds enjoyable to you, then you should consider becoming an industrial mechanic. Keep in mind, you’ll likely work in a factory or power plant if you do. These can be pretty noisy and you’ll need to wear protective gear while on the factory floor.
Are industrial mechanics in high demand?
Industrial mechanics play a super important role in the workforce. It’s their job to ensure that the machines needed in factories, power plants, and other locations can function properly. If these machines went down, it could screw up the entire supply chain.
That’s why it makes sense that industrial mechanics are currently in very high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the number of jobs for industrial mechanics in the United States is expected to grow by 13% over the next decade. That’s much faster than the average rate.
Stats like these offer reassurance to anyone interested in getting started with a career as an industrial mechanic. It means that once you complete your training, you should have plenty of job opportunities available to choose from. And the more jobs you get to pick between, the likelier you are to find one that meets all of your needs.
Do industrial mechanics make good money?
Industrial mechanics make good money. The average annual salary for this position is $54,920 per year or $26.40 per hour.
Keep in mind, industrial mechanics don’t have to earn a four-year college degree before they can start making this amount. That number looks even better when you compare it to the average salary for a high school graduate, which is $38,792.
Another thing that’s worth keeping in mind is that an industrial mechanic’s salary can vary quite a bit based on several factors. For example, the state that an industrial mechanic works in can have a huge impact on how much they earn.
Industrial mechanics in Wyoming earn $70,990 per year on average while those in Arkansas make just $50,600 per year on average. That means if you have some geographic flexibility, you may be able to make more as an industrial mechanic if you pick the right state.
How do I become an industrial mechanic?
There are two components that you need to think about if you want to become an industrial mechanic. Here’s a close look at each of them.
The educational requirements for industrial mechanics aren’t super intense. At a minimum, you need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent of one. Once you have that, you can technically get hired as an industrial mechanic right away. But starting to look for jobs immediately may not be your best strategy.
Many aspiring industrial mechanics decide to complete a 2-year associate’s degree program in a field like industrial maintenance.
Pursuing a degree like this will give you a big leg up on the competition during the hiring process, as employers will know that you have a strong understanding of important topics in industrial maintenance, such as welding, mathematics, hydraulics, and pneumatics.
Many industrial mechanics also decide to pursue some real-world training before looking for long-term positions in this field. This type of experience is something that employers find very valuable because it indicates that the person in question can begin completing their tasks effectively from the moment they’re hired.
There are several different ways that you can get this type of training. One option is to look for an entry-level position as an industrial mechanic. You can use that job to develop your skills and then leverage those skills into a higher-paying position after a year or so.
Another option is to complete an apprenticeship. These tend to take 3-4 years to complete and they involve both technical instruction and paid on-the-job training.
For example, an apprenticeship will teach you how to set up, repair, start, and monitor the machinery that you’ll work with in your long-term position.
You can find apprenticeship opportunities in several places. Technical schools and community colleges often offer them as part of broader industrial maintenance academic programs. Or, you could look into apprenticeships that are being offered by the local union and non-union organizations.
What are the top areas hiring industrial mechanics?
Texas has the most job opportunities for industrial mechanics out of anywhere in the United States. The Lone Star State is home to approximately 41,140 industrial mechanics. That’s over 15,000 more job opportunities than the next state on this list.
California is home to about 25,190 industrial mechanics. That’s good for second-most in the entire country. Industrial mechanics that work in California tend to make more than they do elsewhere. The average annual salary for an industrial mechanic in the state is about $64,680
Michigan is up next on our list with a total of 20,540 jobs for industrial mechanics. Industrial mechanics make up a larger percentage of Michigan’s total workforce than they do nearly anywhere else in the country. 5.23 out of every 1,000 workers in Michigan is an industrial mechanic.
What are the best metropolitan areas for aspiring industrial mechanics?
State-level data is helpful because it offers a birds-eye view of the best general parts of the country to find a job as an industrial mechanic. However, we can dig a bit deeper into the data to zero in on the best places to look for this line of work within states. For example, here are the top metropolitan areas for aspiring industrial mechanics:
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland, TX – 14,170
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI – 14,060
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – 11,230
- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI – 8,940
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA – 8,540
What non-metropolitan areas have the most opportunities for industrial mechanics?
You don’t have to live in a city to find a job as an industrial mechanic. There are plenty of opportunities available in rural parts of the United States as well. For example, these non-metropolitan areas offer the most opportunity for industrial mechanics that are looking for a rural lifestyle:
- Kansas nonmetropolitan area: 1,870
- Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan: 1,850
- North Northeastern Ohio: 1,700
- Northeast Alabama: 1,690
- Northeast Mississippi: 1,690