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Become An In Shop Service Technician

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Working As An In Shop Service 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

  • $46,000

    Average Salary

What Does An In Shop Service 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 An In Shop Service 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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In Shop Service Technician Career Paths

In Shop Service Technician
Field Service Technician Service Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Systems Administrator Consultant
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Owner Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Electrician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Electrician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Electrician Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Foreman
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Instructor Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Service Manager
Regional Service Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Maintenance Supervisor Operation Supervisor
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Heavy Equipment Mechanic
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Service Manager
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Advisor Specialist Lead Technician
Service Technician Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Service Advisor Estimator Parts Manager
Parts Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Advisor Driver Sergeant
Senior Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Welder Service Technician Hvac Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Welder Installation Technician Hvac Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Welder Foreman Lead Person
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Diesel Technician Maintenance Supervisor Fleet Manager
Area Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Diesel Technician Lead Technician Service Technician Lead
Technical Services Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
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Top Skills for An In Shop Service Technician

  1. Preventative Maintenance
  2. Service Department
  3. Shop Service Technician
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide preventative maintenance on tractor-trailer brake system components, including adjusting or replacement.
  • Monitor Service Department training and schedule required training for entire Service Department staff.
  • Service Technician & Shop Service Technician
  • Position requirements assist in operations of a full service precision manufacturing company dedicated to customer service satisfaction.
  • Repair diesel engines tear down and rebuild.

In Shop Service Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

87.9%

Female

7.3%

Unknown

4.8%
Ethnicity

White

63.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

9.7%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.8%

Ukrainian

7.7%

Japanese

7.7%

Carrier

7.7%

Russian

7.7%

Polish

7.7%

Arabic

7.7%
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In Shop Service Technician Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

25.4%

University of Nevada - Reno

6.3%

University of Phoenix

6.3%

University of North Dakota

4.8%

Metropolitan State University of Denver

4.8%

York Technical College

4.8%

University of Iowa

4.8%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

4.8%

Saint Cloud State University

3.2%

Midland College

3.2%

Northwood University

3.2%

Ventura College

3.2%

Rosedale Technical Institute

3.2%

Minnesota State University - Moorhead

3.2%

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

3.2%

Community College of the Air Force

3.2%

University of Idaho

3.2%

Catawba Valley Community College

3.2%

University of Indianapolis

3.2%

Talladega College

3.2%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

23.1%

Business

15.7%

General Studies

6.6%

Electrical Engineering

6.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.8%

Industrial Technology

4.5%

Precision Metal Working

3.7%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.7%

Management

3.3%

Criminal Justice

3.3%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.3%

Mechanical Engineering

2.9%

Marketing

2.9%

Kinesiology

2.5%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

2.5%

Drafting And Design

2.1%

Computer Science

2.1%

Engineering

2.1%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Education

1.7%
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Degrees

Other

38.1%

Bachelors

22.4%

Associate

21.8%

Certificate

10.9%

Diploma

3.4%

Masters

2.0%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.6%
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