WHAT DO HEAVY EQUIPMENT MECHANICS DO?
Big tractors, big trucks, big bucks. Heavy equipment mechanics work with vehicles and machines used in farming, construction and railway transport to inspect, repair and maintain them. These mechanics work with the biggest engines and machines to make sure they continue to run safely at optimum efficiency.
Heavy equipment mechanics know how to troubleshoot problems for their industry, and are ready to get dirty when it comes to disassembling and reassembling engines and other components. Depending on the industry, they may have to work out in a field, fixing farm equipment, or high in the air, repairing a crane. Some mechanics work for a specific company fleet, or may be self-employed and work in a shop. Some heavy equipment mechanics work for the government and work on tanks and other military equipment.
Heavy equipment mechanics do more than just engine repair, and must have knowledge of electrical systems, hydraulics, fuel and brake lines and more.
HOW MUCH DO HEAVY EQUIPMENT MECHANICS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2010, Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians made a median of $20.50 an hour, or $42,630 a year.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
You can start out with a high school diploma or G.E.D., but employers are more and more looking for those with postsecondary degrees in diesel technology, heavy equipment mechanics, small engine repair, biomedical technology, engineering or similar.
Much training is done on the job.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Attention to Detail: Some parts need to be in the exact right place, or they will not work. Being able to pay attention to the minute details of heavy equipment repair will be necessary.
- Strength: Heavy is in the name of the job. Some equipment can be extremely heavy and will take a lot of strength to move or manipulate.
- Mechanical Skills: Heavy equipment mechanics will need familiarity with parts and components of complex machinery and engines, as well as the tools to fix them.
- Technical Skills: Heavy equipment mechanics will need to be familiar with electronics, be able to read blueprints, or use electronic diagnostic equipment to troubleshoot repairs.
- Manual Dexterity: Good hands and great hand-eye coordination help heavy equipment mechanics be successful.
- Troubleshooting Skills: Heavy equipment mechanics need to be able to look at mechanical, hydraulic and electrical systems, identify problems, and think about possible solutions.
THE FUTURE OF HEAVY EQUIPMENT MECHANICS
Job prospects for heavy equipment mechanics in most fields will grow at the average rate of 16% between 2010 and 2020. Those with specific skills and a secondary degree will be in a better position to find work.