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Become A Heavy Equipment Mechanic

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Working As A Heavy 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 A Heavy 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 A Heavy 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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Heavy Equipment Mechanic jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Heavy Repairer 4.7 years
Head Mechanic 4.7 years
Equipment Mechanic 4.4 years
Engine Mechanic 3.8 years
Fleet Mechanic 3.7 years
Generator Mechanic 3.7 years
Mechanic 3.5 years
Diesel Mechanic 3.5 years
Field Mechanic 3.5 years
Bus Mechanic 3.3 years
Service Mechanic 3.3 years
Truck Mechanic 3.1 years
Crane Mechanic 3.0 years
Shop Mechanic 2.9 years
Top Employers Before
Mechanic 18.4%
Welder 5.6%
Technician 4.6%
Supervisor 2.4%
Top Employers After
Mechanic 15.5%
Welder 4.6%
Technician 4.2%
Supervisor 2.9%

Heavy Equipment Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

94.9%

Female

4.2%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

80.9%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

1.2%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.9%

Carrier

13.9%

German

5.6%

Dakota

4.2%

Filipino

2.8%

Tagalog

2.8%

Korean

2.8%

Swedish

1.4%

Portuguese

1.4%

Hawaiian

1.4%

French

1.4%

Lakota

1.4%

Russian

1.4%

Dari

1.4%

Serbian

1.4%
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Heavy Equipment Mechanic Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

23.0%

Central Texas College

14.3%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

7.8%

University of Phoenix

7.8%

Arizona Automotive Institute

4.2%

Community College of the Air Force

3.9%

The Academy

3.6%

Fayetteville Technical Community College

3.4%

Texarkana College

3.4%

Ferris State University

3.1%

University of Northwestern Ohio

3.1%

Albany Technical College

3.1%

A-Technical College

2.8%

University of Alaska Anchorage

2.8%

Kaplan University

2.5%

Great Basin College

2.2%

Ashford University

2.2%

Victor Valley College

2.2%

Bates Technical College

2.2%

Ohio Technical College

2.2%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

34.9%

Business

10.9%

General Studies

5.5%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

5.0%

Criminal Justice

4.4%

Precision Metal Working

4.3%

Electrical Engineering

4.0%

Industrial Technology

3.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.3%

Mechanical Engineering

3.3%

Management

2.8%

Agricultural Mechanization

2.7%

Education

2.4%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.4%

Aviation

2.3%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.3%

Engineering

1.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.6%

Information Technology

1.6%

Computer Science

1.2%
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Degrees

Other

47.0%

Associate

19.3%

Certificate

13.5%

Bachelors

11.7%

Diploma

5.6%

Masters

2.1%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Heavy Equipment Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics D'ARCY & Harty Construction, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 16, 2009 $55,300
Mobile Heavy Equipm Mechanics Prospero Nursery White Plains, NY Nov 24, 2010 $50,398
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Scot Heller Trucking Kansas City, MO Jun 16, 2015 $50,088
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Aidyl Corp. DBA Sinclair Drilling Fluids CA Apr 15, 2011 $45,000
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic Environmental Contractors, Inc. West Orange, NJ Feb 07, 2008 $41,970
Mobile Heavy Equipm Mechanics Prospero Nursery White Plains, NY May 27, 2010 $38,630
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Shirlington Service Center Arlington, VA Mar 04, 2008 $38,213
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Tarrytown R & T Corp Cortlandt, NY Dec 11, 2007 $37,629
Heavy Equipment Mechanic F.I. Bobcat, Inc. Lake Worth, FL Apr 29, 2008 $36,669
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Williams Construction Services Fairfax, VA Apr 14, 2010 $36,356
Mobile Heavy Equipment Frazier Industrial Company Long Valley, NJ Nov 14, 2007 $35,667
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic AVF Development Corp. Garden City Park, NY Apr 01, 2010 $33,851
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic AVF Development Corp. Garden City Park, NY Apr 09, 2010 $33,851
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Morrow Equipment Company, L.L.C. Manassas, VA Oct 11, 2007 $33,684
Heavy Equipment Mechanic World Electric & Construction Company, Inc. Dec 22, 2011 $32,432
Heavy Equipment Mechanic GEO-Engineering & Testing, Inc. Aug 18, 2010 $31,618
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Harsco Infrastructure Carolina, PR Nov 13, 2010 $30,000
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Esco Equipment Rental Corp. Carolina, PR Nov 13, 2009 $30,000
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Esco Equipment Rental, Inc. Carolina, PR Nov 30, 2009 $30,000
Heavy Equipment Mechanic World Electric & Construction Company, Inc. Feb 03, 2011 $29,510
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Reliable Builders, Inc. Dec 03, 2010 $29,510
Heavy Equipment Mechanic World Electric & Construction Company, Inc. May 21, 2010 $29,510

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Top Skills for A Heavy Equipment Mechanic

VehiclesDieselEnginesWheelLoadersSafetyTrailersForkliftsDozersExcavatorsHydraulicSystemsElectricalSystemsMotorGradersCaterpillarHeavyConstructionEquipmentPreventiveMaintenanceBackhoesHandToolsAirCompressorsMrapDumpTrucksTechnicalManuals

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Top Heavy Equipment Mechanic Skills

  1. Vehicles
  2. Diesel Engines
  3. Wheel Loaders
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Test drove vehicles to verify repairs and or complaints by the soldiers in the units supported by the shop.
  • Specialized in repairing and maintaining diesel engines/transmissions.
  • Operate and maintain fleet of Caterpillar and John Deere wheel loaders.
  • Risk Assessment, Maintaining and Driving Heavy Vehicles, Material Handling and Environmental Health and Safety.
  • Maintained wheeled and tracked vehicles, their associated trailers and material handling equipment systems.

Top Heavy Equipment Mechanic Employers

Heavy Equipment Mechanic Videos

Career Choices - Heavy Equipment Operator

A Day in the Life of an Argricultural Technician

Career Advice on becoming a Mechanic by John E (Full Version)

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