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Mechanical Maintenance Worker Careers

What Does a Mechanical Maintenance Worker Do

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

Duties

Industrial machinery mechanics typically do the following:

  • Read technical manuals to understand equipment and controls
  • Disassemble machinery and equipment when there is a problem
  • Repair or replace broken or malfunctioning components
  • Perform tests and run initial batches to make sure that the machine is running smoothly
  • Adjust and calibrate equipment and machinery to optimal specifications

Machinery maintenance workers typically do the following:

  • Detect minor problems by performing basic diagnostic tests
  • Clean and lubricate equipment or machinery
  • Check the performance of machinery
  • Test malfunctioning machinery to determine whether major repairs are needed
  • Adjust equipment and reset or calibrate sensors and controls

Millwrights typically do the following:

  • Install or repair machinery and equipment
  • Adjust and align machine parts
  • Replace defective parts of machinery as needed
  • Take apart existing machinery to clear floor space for new machinery
  • Move machinery and equipment

Industrial machinery mechanics, also called maintenance machinists, keep machines in good working order. To do this task, they must be able to detect and correct errors before the machine or the products it produces are damaged. Industrial machinery mechanics use technical manuals, their understanding of industrial equipment, and careful observation to determine the cause of a problem. For example, after hearing a vibration from a machine, they must decide whether it is the result of worn belts, weak motor bearings, or some other problem. These mechanics often need years of training and experience to be able to diagnose all of the problems they find in their work. They may use computerized diagnostic systems and vibration analysis techniques to help figure out the source of problems. Examples of machines they may work with are robotic welding arms, automobile assembly line conveyor belts, and hydraulic lifts.

After diagnosing a problem, the industrial machinery mechanic may take the equipment apart to repair or replace the necessary parts. Mechanics use their knowledge of electronics and computer programming to repair sophisticated equipment. Once a repair is made, mechanics test a machine to ensure that it is running smoothly. Industrial machinery mechanics also do preventive maintenance.

In addition to working with hand tools, mechanics commonly use lathes, grinders, or drill presses. Many also are required to weld.

Machinery maintenance workers do basic maintenance and repairs on machines. They clean and lubricate machinery, perform basic diagnostic tests, check the performance of the machine, and test damaged machine parts to determine whether major repairs are necessary.

Machinery maintenance workers must follow machine specifications and adhere to maintenance schedules. They perform minor repairs, generally leaving major repairs to machinery mechanics.

All maintenance workers use a variety of tools to do repairs and preventive maintenance. For example, they may use a screwdriver or socket wrenches to adjust a motor’s alignment, or they might use a hoist to lift a heavy printing press off the ground.

Millwrights install, maintain, and disassemble industrial machines. Putting together a machine can take a few days or several weeks.

Millwrights perform repairs that include replacing worn or defective parts of machines. Millwrights also may be involved in taking apart the entire machine, a common situation when a manufacturing plant needs to clear floor space for new machinery. In taking apart a machine, each part of the machine must be carefully disassembled, categorized, and packaged.

Millwrights use a variety of hand tools, such as hammers and levels, as well as equipment for welding, brazing, and cutting. They also use measuring tools, such as micrometers, measuring tapes, lasers, and other precision-measuring devices. On large projects, they commonly use cranes and trucks. When millwrights and managers determine the best place for a machine, millwrights use forklifts, hoists, winches, cranes, and other equipment to bring the parts to the desired location.

How To Become a Mechanical Maintenance Worker

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights typically need a high school diploma. However, industrial machinery mechanics need a year or more of training after high school, whereas machinery maintenance workers typically receive on-the-job training that lasts a few months to a year.

Most millwrights go through an apprenticeship program that lasts about 4 years. Programs are usually a combination of technical instruction and on-the-job training. Others learn their trade through a 2-year associate’s degree program in industrial maintenance.

Education

Employers of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights generally require them to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers prefer to hire workers who have taken high school or postsecondary courses in mechanical drawing, mathematics, blueprint reading, computer programming, and electronics. Some mechanics and millwrights complete a 2-year associate’s degree program in industrial maintenance.

Training

Industrial machinery mechanics may receive more than a year of on-the-job training, while machinery maintenance workers typically receive training that lasts a few months to a year. Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers learn how to perform routine tasks, such as setting up, cleaning, lubricating, and starting machinery. They may also be instructed in subjects such as shop mathematics, blueprint reading, proper hand tools use, welding, electronics, and computer programming. This training may be offered on the job by professional trainers hired by the employer or by representatives of equipment manufacturers.

Most millwrights learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of relevant technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. On the job, apprentices learn to set up, clean, lubricate, repair, and start machinery. During technical instruction, they are taught welding, mathematics, how to read blueprints, how to use electronic and pneumatic devices, and how to use grease and fluid properly. Many also receive computer training. 

After completing an apprenticeship program, millwrights are considered fully qualified and can usually perform tasks with less guidance. 

Employers, local unions, contractor associations, and the state labor department often sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work
Important Qualities

Manual dexterity. When handling very small parts, workers must have a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights use technical manuals and sophisticated diagnostic equipment to figure out why machines are not working. Workers must be able to reassemble large, complex machines after finishing a repair.

Troubleshooting skills. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights must observe, diagnose, and fix problems that a machine may be having.

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Average Salary
$44,129
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
65,574
Job Openings

Mechanical Maintenance Worker Career Paths

Top Careers Before Mechanical Maintenance Worker

Mechanic
22.6 %

Top Careers After Mechanical Maintenance Worker

Mechanic
19.4 %

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Average Salary for a Mechanical Maintenance Worker

Mechanical Maintenance Workers in America make an average salary of $44,129 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $54,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Salary
$44,129

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Albany, NY
Salary Range40k - 59k$49k$48,995
Saint Louis, MO
Salary Range34k - 53k$43k$42,891
San Antonio, TX
Salary Range32k - 51k$41k$41,168
$32k
$59k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Seasonal Worker VIII-Mechanic
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Jackson County
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03/28/2021
03/28/2021
$32,34903/28/2021
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$53,44811/17/2020
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Preventative Maintenance Mechanic II, 4 Day Work Week, 4AM PM
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Marquette University
Marquette University
06/27/2020
06/27/2020
$43,82706/27/2020
$43,827
Seasonal Worker Xiii-Mechanic
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Jackson County
Jackson County
05/22/2020
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$31,30505/22/2020
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Skilled Trades Worker: Liftstation Maintenance: Electrical & Mechanical Equipment
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Sarasota County Government
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04/02/2020
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$38,19204/02/2020
$38,192
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Mechanical Maintenance Worker Demographics

Gender

male

88.4 %

female

7.8 %

unknown

3.8 %

Ethnicity

White

75.4 %

Black or African American

10.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

German

23.1 %

Spanish

23.1 %

Japanese

15.4 %
See More Demographics

Mechanical Maintenance Worker Education

Majors

Business
11.9 %

Degrees

Certificate

38.4 %

High School Diploma

25.9 %

Associate

13.8 %
See More Education Info
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Full Time
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Top Skills For a Mechanical Maintenance Worker

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 22.2% of mechanical maintenance workers listed cdl on their resume, but soft skills such as manual dexterity and mechanical skills are important as well.

Best States For a Mechanical Maintenance Worker

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a mechanical maintenance worker. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Alaska. Mechanical maintenance workers make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $53,574. Whereas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, they would average $51,912 and $51,597, respectively. While mechanical maintenance workers would only make an average of $51,303 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Mechanical Maintenance Worker Jobs:
533
Highest 10% Earn:
$70,000
Location Quotient:
1.39
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Nevada

Total Mechanical Maintenance Worker Jobs:
406
Highest 10% Earn:
$75,000
Location Quotient:
0.89
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Mechanical Maintenance Worker Jobs:
1,976
Highest 10% Earn:
$73,000
Location Quotient:
1.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Mechanical Maintenance Worker Employers

1. Lear
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$47,501
Mechanical Maintenance Workers Hired: 
10+
2. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$57,014
Mechanical Maintenance Workers Hired: 
7+
3. Eagle Group
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$46,087
Mechanical Maintenance Workers Hired: 
5+
4. L3 Technologies
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$52,765
Mechanical Maintenance Workers Hired: 
5+
5. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$40,091
Mechanical Maintenance Workers Hired: 
4+
6. St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$38,133
Mechanical Maintenance Workers Hired: 
3+
Updated October 2, 2020