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Become A Field Technician

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Working As A Field Technician

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $64,465

    Average Salary

What Does A Field Technician 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 A Field Technician

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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Field Technician Jobs

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Field Technician Career Paths

Field Technician
Field Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Field Engineer Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Operator Foreman Field Supervisor
Field Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operator Equipment Operator Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Specialist Dispatcher
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Crew Leader Material Handler Installer
Installation Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technician Service Manager
Regional Service Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Specialist Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Service Manager
Service Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Human Resources Coordinator Technical Recruiter
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Dispatcher Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Technical Manager
Technical Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Engineer Sales Engineer
Technical Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Delivery Driver Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Field Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
System Technician 4.5 years
Field Engineer 3.0 years
Technician 2.6 years
Field Technician 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Technician 12.6%
Internship 7.8%
Supervisor 3.9%
Volunteer 3.7%
Cashier 3.5%
Manager 3.4%
Owner 3.2%
Top Employers After
Technician 13.5%
Internship 4.2%
Supervisor 4.0%
Owner 3.5%
Driver 3.3%

Do you work as a Field Technician?

Field Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

85.7%

Female

12.9%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

17.9%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.4%

French

7.5%

Carrier

6.4%

German

4.1%

Arabic

4.1%

Japanese

3.3%

Portuguese

2.0%

Russian

1.6%

Mandarin

1.3%

Polish

1.0%

Hindi

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Italian

0.9%

Chinese

0.9%

Turkish

0.7%

Korean

0.7%

Dakota

0.7%

Swahili

0.6%

Indonesian

0.6%

Thai

0.6%
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Field Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.8%

Pennsylvania State University

6.0%

Community College of the Air Force

4.6%

Oklahoma State University

4.6%

Purdue University

4.5%

West Virginia University

4.4%

Strayer University

4.3%

Colorado State University

4.3%

Texas A&M University

4.2%

Kaplan University

4.0%

University of Maryland - University College

3.7%

Oregon State University

3.6%

Universal Technical Institute

3.6%

University of Florida

3.5%

University of Wyoming

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.5%

The Academy

3.5%

More Tech Institute

3.5%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.4%

Ohio State University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

13.7%

Electrical Engineering

9.9%

Computer Science

7.7%

Information Technology

7.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.6%

Environmental Science

6.5%

Computer Networking

6.3%

Computer Information Systems

6.2%

Biology

5.9%

Criminal Justice

4.0%

General Studies

3.6%

Geology

3.6%

Automotive Technology

3.0%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.6%

Management

2.3%

Geography

2.3%

Anthropology

2.3%

Communication

2.2%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.2%

Civil Engineering

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

33.6%

Other

30.5%

Associate

18.5%

Masters

8.4%

Certificate

5.9%

Diploma

2.2%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.3%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Field Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Field Technician IV EXI Parsons Telecom LLC Orlando, FL Jul 09, 2011 $73,000 -
$78,000
RBS Field Technician United Commtel, LLC Dublin, CA Jun 01, 2011 $72,800
Field Technician Radianz Americas, Inc. Washington, DC Oct 01, 2010 $65,120
Field Technician IV EXI Parsons Telecom LLC Orlando, FL Jul 09, 2011 $60,000 -
$75,000
Field Technician IV EXI Parsons Telecom LLC Chino, CA Nov 12, 2009 $60,000 -
$80,000
Field Technician Wireless Network Group Plainsboro, NJ Aug 28, 2012 $56,300 -
$60,000
Field Technician II Teclopacific LLC Redmond, WA Feb 13, 2012 $54,262
Field Technician IV Parsons Telecommunications Services Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Oct 25, 2010 $54,080
Field Technician IV Parsons Telecommunication Services, Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Jun 21, 2010 $53,996
Field Technician IV Parsons Telecommunications Services Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Jun 25, 2010 $53,996
Field Technician II Teclopacific LLC Redmond, WA Mar 13, 2012 $53,156
Field Technician II Pinnacle Engineering, Inc. Wilton, ND Jun 01, 2015 $52,500
Field Technician II Pinnacle Engineering, Inc. Wilton, ND Oct 14, 2015 $52,500
Field Technician II Teclopacific LLC Redmond, WA Feb 13, 2012 $50,088
Field Technician IV Parsons Telecommunications Services Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Oct 04, 2010 $50,003
Field Technician Fresh Connection Lafayette, CA Apr 12, 2010 $48,000
Laboratory/Field Technician Research Corporation of The University of Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI Jul 01, 2011 $47,145
Lab Field Technician Air Hygiene International, Inc. Broken Arrow, OK Aug 22, 2015 $46,000
Field Technician Parabit Systems, Inc. Homestead, FL Jul 07, 2016 $41,740
Agronomist/Field Technician Soudan Farming Company Marianna, AR Mar 27, 2012 $38,000
Field Technician and Sales Mardel Souza Inc. Brownsville, TX Sep 15, 2016 $37,232 -
$50,000

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Top Skills for A Field Technician

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  1. Computer
  2. Trouble Shooting
  3. Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Exhibited excellent customer responsiveness and received high marks on telephone and computer surveys.
  • Trouble shooting PLC panels, pneumatic valves, air compressors, flow meters and other various pumps and controls.
  • Supervised operations to ensure safety of the public and other underground utilities systems.
  • Perform routine maintenance on equipment, and assist in establishing preventative maintenance schedules with management and customers.
  • Reconfigured network printers and ports, re-installed peripherals, configured new peripherals.

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Top 10 Best States for Field Technicians

  1. Wyoming
  2. North Dakota
  3. Alaska
  4. Hawaii
  5. Nevada
  6. Alabama
  7. Iowa
  8. Arizona
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Oklahoma
  • (94 jobs)
  • (206 jobs)
  • (62 jobs)
  • (92 jobs)
  • (270 jobs)
  • (403 jobs)
  • (516 jobs)
  • (590 jobs)
  • (696 jobs)
  • (360 jobs)

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