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Become A Heavy Equipment Technician

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Working As A Heavy Equipment Technician

  • 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

  • $48,770

    Average Salary

What Does A Heavy Equipment 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 Heavy Equipment 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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Heavy Equipment Technician jobs

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Heavy Equipment Technician Career Paths

Heavy Equipment Technician
Service Manager Maintenance Manager Maintenance Director
Airport Maintenance Chief
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Maintenance Director Line Mechanic
Chief Mechanical Officer
9 Yearsyrs
Repair Technician Manufacturing Technician Equipment Maintenance Technician
Equipment Maintenance Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Truck Technician Mechanic Heavy Equipment Mechanic
Heavy Equipment Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician General Manager Maintenance Technician
Lead Mechanic
7 Yearsyrs
Equipment Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Field Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Lead Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Operations Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Lead Technician Senior Technologist
Master Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Auto Technician Mechanical Technician Mechanics Supervisor
Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Supervisor Mechanical Technician
Mechanics Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Truck Technician Diesel Technician Equipment Technician
Senior Equipment Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Equipment Technician Service Technician Maintenance Technician
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
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Heavy Equipment Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

95.9%

Female

2.4%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

81.2%

Hispanic or Latino

11.3%

Asian

5.4%

Unknown

1.3%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.2%

Carrier

23.1%

Cherokee

7.7%

Bosnian

7.7%

Albanian

7.7%

Croatian

7.7%
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Heavy Equipment Technician Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

35.4%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

9.1%

University of Phoenix

6.1%

Wake Technical Community College

5.1%

Central Texas College

4.0%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

4.0%

Alexandria Technical College

3.0%

Arizona Automotive Institute

3.0%

University of Northwestern Ohio

3.0%

Ferris State University

3.0%

Durham Technical Community College

3.0%

South Georgia Technical College

3.0%

Reedley College

3.0%

Fox Valley Technical College

3.0%

Spokane Community College

2.0%

Central New Mexico Community College

2.0%

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Nashville

2.0%

University of Montana

2.0%

St. Philip's College

2.0%

Mohave Community College

2.0%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

40.2%

Business

8.7%

Industrial Technology

6.1%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

5.7%

General Studies

4.5%

Education

4.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.4%

Electrical Engineering

3.4%

Mechanical Engineering

3.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.7%

Management

2.3%

Aviation

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.9%

Precision Metal Working

1.9%

Construction Management

1.9%

Engineering

1.9%

Accounting

1.5%

Drafting And Design

1.1%

Medical Technician

1.1%
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Degrees

Other

44.8%

Associate

23.2%

Certificate

13.9%

Bachelors

8.5%

Diploma

6.2%

Masters

3.1%

License

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Heavy Equipment Technician

PartsInventoryPreventiveMaintenanceSafetyProceduresDieselEnginesCat ETWheelLoadersVehicleTroubleshootExcavatorsHydraulicSystemsTractorsForkliftsDiagnosisHeavyConstructionEquipmentElectricalSystemsJohnDeereAirCompressorsCumminsHandToolsBrakeSystems

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Top Heavy Equipment Technician Skills

  1. Parts Inventory
  2. Preventive Maintenance
  3. Safety Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Take parts inventory, maintain, charge out, keeping all with in guide lines.
  • Performed repairs and assigned preventive maintenance services.
  • Demonstrated equipment operations and safety procedures to new assigned employees to experienced workers for training.
  • Diagnose, repair, and rebuild diesel engines.
  • Diagnose equipment problems by using a computer diagnostic system CAT ET and SIS and equipment manuals.

Top Heavy Equipment Technician Employers

Heavy Equipment Technician Videos

Heavy Equipment Technician - Explore a Career

Richard Hammond, Syncrude Heavy Equipment Technician

Career Choices - Heavy Equipment Operator

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