9 to 24 months in a tech school will generally get you a job for you state's DOT as a mechanic of some type or another. Salaries average out to $60k/yr, with step increases etc. you'll pull in approx $76k/yr after about 5 years. If you live in a real city, mechanics and techs for police and fire generally rake in about $40/hr on a 37.5 hr week.
These are almost all union jobs, so you really can't get fired after you pass probation (6mos-1yr), and you have decent health care, vacation, etc etc etc. The negative is that you'll be paying dues (which isn't that bad), and you will have to deal with union politics (can be a massive ass pain).
After about 5 years of doing this, you'll have a decent resume and some savings. You can either stick it out with your union and public service job, or you can venture out into the private sector. An equivalent private sector job IF you have a decent resume which demonstrates progressive levels of responsibility will pay about mid to high six figures. But, if the economy tanks you may get laid off.
That's one way to go about things, anon. The guys in the field get paid a little more, but you will some get OT (just not quite as much). Good luck.
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