Should I Become a Bulldozer Mechanic?
Bulldozer mechanics are responsible for inspecting, maintaining and repairing bulldozers and other heavy equipment machines, such as cranes and forklifts. In addition to making repairs when a machine breaks down, mechanics also perform routine inspections.
Many heavy vehicle technicians work in loud, often dirty, repair shops, though some may travel to repair vehicles on-site. Many mechanics work on weekends or during evening hours; however, they may have to work less during the winter months when it is too cold for much construction work.
|Education||No degree specified, though vocational training is often expected|
|Licensure||Commercial driver's license|
|Experience||2-7 years experience is often required|
|Key Skills||Dexterity to make repairs, attention to detail, communication skills, and mechanics need to understand how to troubleshoot and repair computer and electrical systems|
|Salary (2014)||$47,580 per year (median for mobile heavy equipment mechanics)|
Sources: Online job postings (November 2012), US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Receive Mechanic Training
Prospective bulldozer mechanics can attend community colleges and vocational institutes that offer certificate and associate's degree programs in heavy vehicle repair, diesel technology and heavy equipment maintenance. These programs combine classroom instruction on preventative maintenance and engine repair with shop training in hydraulics, injection pumps and other mechanical systems. Students in advanced classes may receive instruction on computer diagnostic software or welding skills.
- Participate in an internship. Some programs may offer students an internship option; this offers the opportunity to gain experience working with a local mechanic shop or fleet service. These internships provide students not only with hands-on training but also an insight into business operations, including machine maintenance, parts sourcing and working on a team with other mechanics.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Entry-level mechanics who have some training can typically be hired to perform routine service and maintenance, like lubricating mechanical parts and monitoring oil levels. Other duties may include changing air filters and writing service reports. Employers may also require bulldozer mechanics to maintain other machinery like cranes and front-end loaders.
- Complete additional training. Mechanics may also benefit from employer or manufacturer sponsored training sessions. These programs may last up to a week and include specific training on construction vehicles or their systems and parts.
Step 3: Enhance Knowledge and Training for Career Advancement
As mechanics improve their skills and knowledge, they take on more complicated maintenance and repair work, such as assembling gear systems, rewiring electrical components and testing computerized functions. Experienced mechanics may also use welding and soldering torches to perform structural repairs, fabricate pieces and connect parts.