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Become An Equipment Mechanic

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Working As An Equipment Mechanic

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $53,760

    Average Salary

What Does An Equipment Mechanic Do

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians, also called mechanics, inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.

Duties

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians typically do the following:

  • Consult equipment operating manuals, blueprints, and drawings
  • Perform scheduled maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating parts
  • Diagnose and identify malfunctions, using computerized tools and equipment
  • Inspect, repair, and replace defective or worn parts, such as bearings, pistons, and gears
  • Overhaul and test major components, such as engines, hydraulics, and electrical systems
  • Disassemble and reassemble heavy equipment and components
  • Travel to worksites to repair large equipment, such as cranes
  • Maintain logs of equipment condition and work performed

Heavy vehicles and mobile equipment are critical to many industrial activities, including construction and railroad transportation. Various types of equipment, such as tractors, cranes, and bulldozers, are used to haul materials, till land, lift beams, and dig earth to pave the way for development and construction.

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians repair and maintain engines, hydraulic systems, transmissions, and electrical systems of agricultural, industrial, construction, and rail equipment. They ensure the performance and safety of fuel lines, brakes, and other systems.

Service technicians use diagnostic computers and equipment to identify problems and make adjustments or repairs. For example, they may use an oscilloscope to observe the signals produced by electronic components. Service technicians also use many different power and machine tools, including pneumatic wrenches, lathes, and welding equipment. A pneumatic tool, such as an impact wrench, is an air tool powered by compressed air.

Service technicians also use many different hand tools, such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches, to work on small parts and in hard-to-reach areas. They generally purchase these tools over the course of their careers, often investing thousands of dollars in their inventory.

After identifying malfunctioning equipment, service technicians repair, replace, and recalibrate components such as hydraulic pumps and spark plugs. This may involve disassembling and reassembling major equipment or making adjustments through an onboard computer program.

Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians service and repair farm equipment, such as tractors and harvesters. They also work on smaller consumer-grade lawn and garden tractors. Most work for dealer repair shops, where farmers increasingly send their equipment for maintenance.   

Mobile heavy equipment mechanics repair and maintain construction and surface mining equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, graders, and excavators. Most work for governments, equipment rental and leasing shops, and large construction and mining companies.

Rail car repairers specialize in servicing railroad locomotives, subway cars, and other rolling stock. They usually work for railroad, public and private transit companies, and rail car manufacturers.

For information about technicians and mechanics who work primarily on automobiles, see the profile on automotive service technicians and mechanics.

For information about technicians and mechanics who work primarily on large trucks and buses, see the profile on diesel service technicians and mechanics.

For information about technicians and mechanics who primarily work on motorboats, motorcycles, and small all-terrain vehicles, see the profile on small engine mechanics.

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How To Become An Equipment Mechanic

Most heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent. Because vehicle and equipment technology is increasingly sophisticated and computerized, some employers prefer to hire service technicians who have completed a formal training program at a postsecondary institution.

Education

Most heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent. High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, physics, and welding provide a strong foundation for a service technician’s career. However, high school graduates often need further training to become fully qualified.

Completing a vocational or other postsecondary training program in diesel technology or heavy equipment mechanics is increasingly considered the best preparation for some entry-level positions. Offered by vocational schools and community colleges, these programs cover the basics of diagnostic techniques, electronics, and other related subjects. Most programs last 1 to 2 years and lead to certificates of completion. Other programs, which lead to associate’s degrees, generally take 2 years to complete.

Training

Entry-level workers with no formal background in heavy vehicle repair often receive a few months of on-the-job training before they begin performing routine service tasks and making minor repairs. Trainees advance to more complex work as they show competence, and usually become fully qualified after 3 to 4 years of work.

Service technicians who have completed a postsecondary training program in diesel technology or heavy equipment mechanics require less training.

Many employers send new service technicians to training sessions conducted by equipment manufacturers. Training sessions may focus on particular components and technologies or types of equipment.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some manufacturers offer certification in specific repair methods or equipment. Although not required, certification can demonstrate a service technician’s competence and usually commands higher pay.

Important Qualities

Dexterity. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must perform many tasks, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, and using hand tools, with a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They must often disassemble major parts for repairs and be able to reassemble them.

Organizational skills. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must maintain accurate service records and parts inventories.

Physical strength. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must be able to lift and move heavy equipment, tools, and parts without risking injury.

Troubleshooting skills. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must be familiar with diagnostic equipment, which can help find the source of malfunctions when they are difficult to identify.

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Equipment Mechanic jobs

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Equipment Mechanic Career Paths

Equipment Mechanic
Mechanics Supervisor Maintenance Manager Maintenance Director
Airport Maintenance Chief
5 Yearsyrs
Foreman Assistant Superintendent Golf Course Superintendent
Buildings And Grounds Director
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineering Technician Engineer
Chief Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Delivery Driver Electrician
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Equipment Operator Electrician Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician General Manager Maintenance Technician
Lead Mechanic
7 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Maintenance Manager
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Operations Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Lead Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Equipment Operator Delivery Driver Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Shop Foreman Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Mechanics Supervisor Maintenance Technician Senior Technologist
Master Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Technician Mechanical Technician
Mechanics Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Technician Maintenance Technician
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Field Engineer Assistant Superintendent
Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Master Mechanic 5.6 years
Head Mechanic 4.7 years
Plant Mechanic 4.6 years
Senior Mechanic 4.4 years
Lead Mechanic 4.3 years
Equipment Mechanic 4.0 years
Line Mechanic 3.8 years
Fleet Mechanic 3.7 years
Generator Mechanic 3.7 years
Mechanic Driver 3.6 years
Field Mechanic 3.5 years
Mechanic 3.5 years
Diesel Mechanic 3.5 years
Service Mechanic 3.3 years
Truck Mechanic 3.1 years
Crane Mechanic 3.0 years
Shop Mechanic 2.9 years
Junior Mechanic 2.2 years
Mechanic Helper 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Mechanic 19.5%
Technician 5.3%
Welder 3.5%
Top Employers After
Mechanic 13.9%
Technician 5.7%
Welder 3.7%
Supervisor 3.3%
Owner 2.6%

Equipment Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

94.5%

Female

4.5%

Unknown

1.0%
Ethnicity

White

81.6%

Hispanic or Latino

10.9%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.9%

German

7.3%

French

7.3%

Carrier

7.3%

Russian

7.3%

Polish

4.9%

Swedish

2.4%

Portuguese

2.4%

Choctaw

2.4%

Ukrainian

2.4%

Occidental

2.4%

Tagalog

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%

Korean

2.4%

Italian

2.4%
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Equipment Mechanic Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

18.7%

Community College of the Air Force

15.8%

University of Phoenix

9.4%

Central Texas College

8.2%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

5.8%

Corning Community College

3.5%

Tidewater Community College

3.5%

American InterContinental University

2.9%

Arizona Automotive Institute

2.9%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

2.9%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

2.9%

Houston Community College

2.9%

Monroe Community College

2.9%

Lincoln Technical Institute

2.9%

Kaplan University

2.9%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

2.3%

The Academy

2.3%

University of Maryland - University College

2.3%

San Joaquin Delta College

2.3%

Ohio Technical College

2.3%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

26.0%

Business

10.7%

Electrical Engineering

6.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

5.1%

Aviation

4.7%

Industrial Technology

4.4%

General Studies

4.4%

Precision Metal Working

3.5%

Criminal Justice

3.5%

Mechanical Engineering

3.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.2%

Education

3.1%

Computer Information Systems

2.4%

Management

2.2%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

2.2%

Engineering

2.1%

Drafting And Design

1.9%

Psychology

1.8%
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Degrees

Other

45.0%

Associate

21.1%

Bachelors

13.0%

Certificate

11.9%

Diploma

5.0%

Masters

2.9%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Equipment Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Equipment Mechanic BRW Safety and Supply Inc. Santa Ana, CA Oct 15, 2007 $43,034
Logging Equipment Mechanic G. Lavoie Inc. ME Jan 06, 2016 $36,523
Logging Equipment Mechanic Pepin Lumber Inc. ME Jun 06, 2016 $36,147
Logging Equipment Mechanic YPC Forest Enterprise Inc. ME Jul 24, 2015 $35,479
Equipment Mechanic/Technician GSE & E Co, Inc. Somerville, NJ Jan 09, 2009 $34,400
Logging Equipment Mechanic Pepin Lumber Inc. ME Jun 01, 2015 $33,914
Assistant Irrigation Equipment Mechanic Swift Ranch Co. Inc. Oxnard, CA Apr 03, 2008 $33,914
Irrigation Equipment Mechanic Swift Ranch Co. Inc. Oxnard, CA Apr 09, 2008 $33,914
Equipment Mechanic Hights Farm Equipment Hightstown, NJ Jan 16, 2008 $32,453
Logging Equipment Mechanic G. Lavoie Inc. ME Jun 01, 2015 $31,305
Logging Equipment Mechanic G. Lavoie Inc. ME Jun 01, 2014 $31,305
Logging Equipment Mechanic Pepin Lumber Inc. ME Jun 02, 2014 $31,305
All Other Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanics G.S Development Inc. NY Feb 29, 2008 $29,218
Turf Equipment Mechanic Taylor Farm Lyman, ME Jan 04, 2016 $24,501
Turf Equipment Mechanic Winding Brook Turf Farm Inc. Wethersfield, CT Jan 04, 2016 $24,501
Turf Equipment Mechanic Winding Brook Turf Farm Inc. Wethersfield, CT Jun 08, 2016 $24,501

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Top Skills for An Equipment Mechanic

SafetyDieselEnginesGeneralMaintenanceHeavyEquipmentPreventiveMaintenanceAirCompressorsBoomLiftsElectricalSystemsConstructionEquipmentHandToolsHydraulicSystemsTestEquipmentRoutineMaintenanceTechnicalManualsDumpTrucksHvacGroundSupportEquipmentOshaDiagnosticEquipmentEquipmentMaintenance

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Top Equipment Mechanic Skills

  1. Safety
  2. Diesel Engines
  3. General Maintenance
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conduct safety training classes such as initial orientation and refresher classes.
  • Serviced, repaired and maintained ground equipment including turbines/diesel engines.
  • Perform General Maintenance throughout the shop.
  • Dismantled and reassembled heavy equipment.
  • Trained technicians and personnel on preventive maintenance procedures and how to handle breakdowns in combat zones.

Top Equipment Mechanic Employers

Equipment Mechanic Videos

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