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Farm Equipment Mechanic Careers

What Does a Farm 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.

How To Become a Farm 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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Average Salary
$40,935
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
24,489
Job Openings

Average Salary for a Farm Equipment Mechanic

Farm Equipment Mechanics in America make an average salary of $40,935 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $57,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $29,000 per year.
Average Salary
$40,935

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Southampton, NY
Salary Range35k - 63k$47k$47,455
Salinas, CA
Salary Range30k - 55k$41k$40,871
New Iberia, LA
Salary Range28k - 48k$37k$37,140
Stow, OH
Salary Range27k - 49k$37k$37,035
Clovis, NM
Salary Range24k - 44k$33k$33,096
Statesville, NC
Salary Range24k - 40k$31k$31,249
$24k
$63k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Farm Equipment Mechanics
Farm Equipment Mechanics
Statewide Harvesting & Hauling, Inc.
Statewide Harvesting & Hauling, Inc.
08/15/2019
08/15/2019
$23,45808/15/2019
$23,458
Farm Equipment Mechanic
Farm Equipment Mechanic
Keimig Harvesting & Trucking, LLC
Keimig Harvesting & Trucking, LLC
08/08/2019
08/08/2019
$32,98908/08/2019
$32,989
Farm Equipment Mechanic
Farm Equipment Mechanic
Adecco Staffing
Adecco Staffing
08/06/2019
08/06/2019
$27,13108/06/2019
$27,131
Farm Equipment Mechanics
Farm Equipment Mechanics
Statewide Harvesting & Hauling, Inc.
Statewide Harvesting & Hauling, Inc.
07/02/2019
07/02/2019
$23,45807/02/2019
$23,458
Farm Equipment Mechanic
Farm Equipment Mechanic
Oak Ridge Sod Farm, Inc.
Oak Ridge Sod Farm, Inc.
04/23/2019
04/23/2019
$28,25804/23/2019
$28,258
See More Recent Salaries

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Farm Equipment Mechanic Demographics

Gender

male

95.4 %

female

2.8 %

unknown

1.9 %

Ethnicity

White

77.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

12.4 %

Black or African American

6.2 %
See More Demographics

Farm Equipment Mechanic Education

Degrees

Associate

31.0 %

Certificate

26.2 %

High School Diploma

26.2 %
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Farm Equipment Mechanic

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 46.0% of farm equipment mechanics listed cdl on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and mechanical skills are important as well.

Best States For a Farm Equipment Mechanic

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a farm equipment mechanic. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, New York, Oklahoma, and Connecticut. Farm equipment mechanics make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $48,615. Whereas in New York and Oklahoma, they would average $45,830 and $42,424, respectively. While farm equipment mechanics would only make an average of $41,277 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Oklahoma

Total Farm Equipment Mechanic Jobs:
351
Highest 10% Earn:
$72,000
Location Quotient:
1.3
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wyoming

Total Farm Equipment Mechanic Jobs:
78
Highest 10% Earn:
$65,000
Location Quotient:
1.49
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Dakota

Total Farm Equipment Mechanic Jobs:
122
Highest 10% Earn:
$55,000
Location Quotient:
1.5
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Farm Equipment Mechanic Employers

1. Riverview
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$38,931
Farm Equipment Mechanics Hired: 
3+
2. Blaine Larsen Farms
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$35,756
Farm Equipment Mechanics Hired: 
3+
3. Meadow Ridge
3.0
Avg. Salary: 
$37,469
Farm Equipment Mechanics Hired: 
2+
4. Wayne Farms
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$35,794
Farm Equipment Mechanics Hired: 
2+
5. Daniel
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$38,819
Farm Equipment Mechanics Hired: 
2+
6. LaPorte County Sheriff's Office
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$34,020
Farm Equipment Mechanics Hired: 
2+
Updated October 2, 2020