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Working As a Field Mechanic

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $43,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Field Mechanic Do

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, or overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine.

Duties

Diesel service technicians and mechanics typically do the following:

  • Consult with customers and read work orders to determine work required
  • Plan work procedures, using technical charts and manuals
  • Inspect brake systems, steering mechanisms, transmissions, engines, and other parts of vehicles
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Read and interpret diagnostic test results to identify mechanical problems
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components, parts, and other mechanical or electrical equipment
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
  • Test-drive vehicles to ensure that they run smoothly

Because of their efficiency and durability, diesel engines have become the standard in powering trucks and buses. Other heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, including bulldozers and cranes, are also powered by diesel engines, as are many commercial boats, and some passenger vehicles and pickups.

Diesel technicians handle many kinds of repairs. They may work on a vehicle’s electrical system, make major engine repairs, or retrofit exhaust systems with emission control systems to comply with pollution regulations.

Diesel engine maintenance and repair is becoming more complex as engines and other components use more electronic systems to control their operation. For example, fuel injection and engine timing systems rely heavily on microprocessors to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize harmful emissions. In most shops, workers often use hand-held or laptop computers to diagnose problems and adjust engine functions. 

In addition to using computerized diagnostic equipment, diesel technicians use a variety of power and machine tools, such as pneumatic wrenches, lathes, grinding machines, and welding equipment. Hand tools, including pliers, sockets and ratchets, and screwdrivers, are commonly used.

Employers typically provide expensive power tools and computerized equipment, but workers generally acquire their own hand tools over time.

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

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on farm equipment, construction vehicles, and rail cars, see the profile on heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians.

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

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How To Become A Field Mechanic

Most diesel technicians learn informally on the job after a high school education, but employers increasingly prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary training programs in diesel engine repair. Although not required, industry certification can demonstrate a diesel technician’s competence and experience.

Education

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. High school or postsecondary courses in automotive repair, electronics, and mathematics provide a strong educational background for a career as a diesel technician.

An increasing number of employers look for workers with postsecondary training in diesel engine repair. Many community colleges and trade and vocational schools offer certificate or degree programs in diesel engine repair.

Programs mix classroom instruction with hands-on training, including the basics of diesel technology, repair techniques and equipment, and practical exercises. Students also learn how to interpret technical manuals and electronic diagnostic reports.

Training

Diesel technicians who begin working without any postsecondary education are trained extensively on the job. Trainees are assigned basic tasks, such as cleaning parts, checking fuel and oil levels, and driving vehicles in and out of the shop.

After they learn routine maintenance and repair tasks and demonstrate competence, trainees move on to more complicated subjects such as vehicle diagnostics. This process can take from 3 to 4 years, at which point a trainee is usually considered a journey-level diesel technician.

Over the course of their careers, diesel technicians must learn to use new techniques and equipment. Employers often send experienced technicians to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors to learn about the latest diesel technology.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the standard credential for diesel and other automotive service technicians and mechanics. Although not required, this certification demonstrates a diesel technician’s competence and experience to potential employers and clients, and often brings higher pay.

Diesel technicians may be certified in specific repair areas, such as drive trains, electronic systems, or preventative maintenance and inspection. To earn certification, technicians must have 2 years of work experience and pass one or more ASE exams. To remain certified, diesel technicians must pass a recertification exam every 5 years.

Many diesel technicians are required to have a commercial driver’s license so they may test-drive buses and large trucks.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Diesel technicians frequently discuss automotive problems and necessary repairs with their customers. They must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Diesel technicians must be aware of small details when inspecting or repairing engines and components, because mechanical and electronic malfunctions are often due to misalignments and other easy-to-miss causes.

Dexterity. Mechanics need a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination for many tasks, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, or using hand tools.

Mechanical skills. Diesel technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They often disassemble major parts for repairs, and they must be able to put them back together properly.

Organizational skills. Diesel technicians must keep workspaces clean and organized in order to maintain safety and ensure accountability for parts.

Strength. Diesel technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, such as exhaust system components and pneumatic wrenches.

Troubleshooting skills. Diesel technicians must be able to use diagnostic equipment on engine systems and components in order to identify and fix problems in increasingly complicated mechanical and electronic systems. They must be familiar with electronic control systems and the appropriate tools needed to fix and maintain them.

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Field Mechanic Career Paths

Field Mechanic
Lead Mechanic Maintenance Supervisor Supervisor
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Maintenance Supervisor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Maintenance Supervisor Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Owner/Operator
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Owner
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Service Manager
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Lead Technician
Service Technician Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Store Manager Parts Manager
Parts Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Service Manager Construction Manager Quality Control Manager
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Principal Assistant Superintendent
Maintenance Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Master Mechanic Foreman Hvac Technician
Maintenance Lead Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Master Mechanic Foreman Lead Person
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Master Mechanic Foreman Millwright
Mechanics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Foreman Millwright Industrial Maintenance Technician
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Foreman Millwright Mechanics Supervisor
Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Foreman Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Senior Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Sheet Metal Mechanic Hvac Mechanic Senior Mechanic
Senior Maintenance Mechanic
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Field Mechanic?

Top Skills for A Field Mechanic

  1. Parts Inventory
  2. Heavy Equipment
  3. Diesel Engines
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained parts inventory including coordination with several parts vendors.
  • Maintain diesel heavy equipment-Diagnose and repair diesel heavy equipment-Maintain records of all repairs completed.
  • Diagnose and repair hydraulic system and diesel engines on all oil field equipment.
  • Performed repair and preventative maintenance on military trucks and trailers, diagnosed problems and determined corrective actions.
  • Service and maintain Fracturing Fleet Equipment* Preventive Maintenance on all Cummings and Caterpillar Diesel Engines.

Field Mechanic Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,749 Field Mechanic resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Field Mechanic Resume

View Resume Examples

Field Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

91.5%

Unknown

5.5%

Female

3.0%
Ethnicity

White

62.6%

Hispanic or Latino

17.5%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.6%

Arabic

9.1%

Comanche

4.5%

Portuguese

4.5%

Cherokee

4.5%

French

4.5%

Chickasaw

4.5%

Korean

4.5%
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Field Mechanic Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

24.9%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

10.9%

San Juan College

8.8%

Community College of the Air Force

5.2%

Oklahoma State University

4.7%

WyoTech - Laramie

4.7%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

4.1%

Del Mar College

4.1%

Casper College

4.1%

Odessa College

3.6%

Rosedale Technical Institute

3.6%

Arizona Automotive Institute

3.1%

Redstone College

2.6%

Salt Lake Community College

2.6%

University of Alaska Anchorage

2.6%

Universal Technical Institute of Texas Inc

2.1%

Houston Community College

2.1%

Great Basin College

2.1%

Ashford University

2.1%

The Academy

2.1%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

36.3%

Business

9.5%

Aviation

5.7%

Industrial Technology

5.4%

General Studies

5.1%

Precision Metal Working

4.7%

Electrical Engineering

4.1%

Engineering

3.5%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

3.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.1%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Mechanical Engineering

2.8%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.2%

Accounting

1.8%

Management

1.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.5%

Education

1.3%

Computer Science

1.2%

Project Management

1.2%
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Degrees

Other

48.9%

Associate

20.9%

Certificate

12.3%

Bachelors

10.1%

Diploma

5.7%

Masters

1.3%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.2%
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