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Career Info for a Degree in Mechanic & Repair Technologies

Mechanic and repair technology is generally offered as a training school program with on-the-job instruction. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, career choices and salary information for graduates.

Studies in mechanic and repair technologies can lead to a career as an office machine repairer, an aircraft mechanic, or an industrial machinery mechanic. Industrial machinery mechanics can prepare for this career by completing an associate's degree in industrial maintenance, while aircraft mechanics typically complete studies at an aviation maintenance technician school. It's possible to become an office machine repairer with a high school diploma and some college courses, or on-the-job instruction and in-house training.

Essential Information

Occupations in mechanic and repair technologies typically require a high school education and some college courses in electronics, electrical engineering, computers and mathematics. For other related jobs, you may need an associate degree or attend a technical school.

Careers Office Machine Repairer or Servicer Aircraft Mechanic Industrial Machinery Mechanic
Required Education high school diploma, some college courses aviation maintenance technician school high school diploma, associate degree in industrial maintenance
Other Requirements on-the-job training, certification on-the-job-training, certification on-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% 1% for all aircraft mechanics and service technicians 18%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $36,840 for all computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers $58,370 for all aircraft mechanics and service technicians $49,690

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

A degree in mechanic and repair technology can lead to a variety of careers in repair and support services. Common career choices include office machine repair, aircraft mechanics and industrial machinery mechanics. Professionals in this field often earn certification to spur advancement, and in some cases certification is mandatory.

Office Machine Repairer or Servicer

Office machine repairers and servicers fix and maintain office equipment, such as copiers, cash registers and fax machines. These professionals tend to conduct repairs on site, though they may work on smaller equipment in a repair shop. They might, for example, respond to calls about jammed copy machines or smudgy printers then clean dirty components or replace worn-out parts to resolve such issues.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), office machine repairers typically only need a high school diploma and some college courses (www.bls.gov). Additionally, those who work for large companies sometimes complete months of training, including in-class lessons and on-the-job instruction. While earning certification is voluntary for office machine repairers, doing so can enhance one's employment prospects. Both the Electronics Technicians Association and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians offer professional certification programs.

The BLS projected slow employment growth, at a rate of 2%, as well as limited job prospects for office machine repairers and servicers, between 2014 and 2024. This is primarily because new technology tends to run more reliably and requires less maintenance. Repairers with formal training and certification may have an advantage in finding employment over those who lack education and professional credentials. The annual median salary for an office machine repairer was $36,840 as of May 2015.

Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft mechanics inspect, repair and maintain airplane equipment including engines, frames, and various electrical and mechanical systems. Along with documenting their repairs, these professionals must test aircraft equipment after making adjustments to make sure it's working correctly and safely. Some of these mechanics exclusively handle preventive maintenance, while others only work on repairs. Aircraft mechanics can also specialize in certain types of aircraft, like jets or helicopters.

According to the BLS, most aircraft mechanics complete formal training at an aviation maintenance technician school that has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These schools must offer at least 1,900 class hours and often award certificates, though some schools also offer associate and bachelor's degrees in a field related to aviation mechanics. The FAA offers a certification program for mechanics, and FAA regulations require that maintenance work on airplanes be performed or supervised by an FAA-certified mechanic. Earning certification entails the completion of either a certified training program or 18-30 months of acceptable experience in addition to passage of oral, written and practical exams.

The median annual salary for aircraft mechanics was $58,370 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. Employment was predicted to grow 1% from 2014 to 2024. Job prospects were anticipated to be favorable for graduates of aviation mechanic training programs; however, it's expected there will be extreme competition for jobs at major airlines.

Industrial Machinery Mechanic

An industrial machinery mechanic is responsible for the maintenance and repair of industrial equipment, such as machinery used in factories. These mechanics use diagnostic equipment to address reports of possible problems before making needed repairs.

Formal education is not always required to become a machinery mechanic, since it's possible to get on-the-job training or an apprenticeship; however, some vocational schools and community colleges offer an associate degree in industrial maintenance. Industrial machinery mechanics can also get work experience on specific machines through educational programs offered by machinery manufacturers.

The BLS expected employment of industrial machinery mechanics to increase by 18% between 2014 and 2024, a faster-than-average rate. Increases in the use of highly sophisticated equipment will keep the demand for skilled workers high. This forecast of favorable prospects was based on the need to replace workers who retire or leave the profession. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for industrial machinery mechanics was $49,690.

Office machine repairers and servicers may travel to locations where equipment is used and repair machines such as photocopiers or cash registers. Aircraft mechanics perform maintenance and repairs on airplanes, helicopters and jets, and industrial machinery mechanics maintain and repair machines used in factories. There will be slow job growth for office machine repairers and aircraft mechanics from 2014 to 2024, while industrial machinery mechanics are expected to enjoy job growth that is much faster than the national average.

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