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Drilling Machine Technician: Job Description & Career Info

Drilling technicians provide maintenance and repair work on important equipment used to break through rock when it impedes construction of roadways and wells. Due to the ongoing need to build and improve, there will always be a need for qualified drilling technicians. Read the duties, training requirements, salary and employment outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Drilling Machine Technician

Drilling technicians, also known as drilling mechanics, repair and maintain hydraulic drillers. These large vehicles take a beating as they plow threw rocks, which may be present at a construction site. Most drilling technicians are well-versed in disassembling equipment in order to look for something that may need to be fixed; however, much of the work is now done using computers to find problems. Many community colleges and trade schools offer programs for those interested in a career as a drilling technician.

Education Certificates and associate degrees available
Job Skills Eye for detail, computer skills, diagnostics, writing ability
Median Salary (2015)* $47,120 (for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Many community colleges and trade schools offer either certificate or associate's degree programs for prospective drilling technicians. Students in either track can expect to take courses in math, applied science, computer science, and the basics of machinery. The main degree of interest for hopeful drilling technicians who chose to attend a community college is an Associate of Applied Science in Heavy Machine Technology. Many certificate programs take one year to complete while degree programs take two; training specific for drilling machines is usually provided at the workplace.

Skills Required

Prospective drilling technicians must have a sharp eye for detail; the job requires the ability to find problems within the intricate components of complex machinery. Having the ability to work with computers is also a plus; drilling technicians frequently use diagnostic tools to test various equipment parts. It is also a must for drilling technicians to have solid writing skills because they are frequently asked to draft technical memos.

Career and Economic Outlook

Drilling technicians are classified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians. The agency reports that 186,500 jobs existed in this field in 2014. The BLS projected employment could grow by 5% from 2014-2024. The median annual salary for mobile heavy equipment mechanics was $47,120 as of May 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Check out these other options in vehicular maintenance careers:

Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Maintenance Workers and Millwrights

Mechanics and maintenance workers normally learn their skills on the job or through some postsecondary training. Millwrights usually serve a 4-year apprenticeship. Mechanics and maintenance workers repair industrial machinery like packaging equipment and conveying systems. Millwrights repair, move, and install various types of machinery in power plants, factories, and construction sites. From 2014 through 2024, job availability should be very good, the BLS said, with 16% growth expected overall. As of May 2015, millwrights earned an annual median wage of $51,390, industrial machinery mechanics were paid $49,690 and machinery maintenance workers took home $43,260, per the BLS.

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