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Field Service Technician Career Info and Training Requirements

Field service technicians often require no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and license requirements to find out if a career as a field service technician is right for you.

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Field service technicians specialize in repairing and maintaining large, specialized vehicles such as earthmovers and cranes. While a formal education is often not required, aspiring field service technicians need to go through on-the-job training through which they learn how to repair and maintain a large variety of vehicles.

Essential Information

Field service technicians are fully qualified heavy vehicle and mobile equipment repair mechanics. Working primarily outdoors, they drive specially equipped vehicles to the site where a piece of equipment has malfunctioned, broken down or had an accident. Once there, they diagnose the problem, perform necessary repairs and apply preventive measures to offer protection from further recurrences. Formal training is preferred by many employers, and continued on-the-job training is common.

Required Education Many employers prefer applicants who have some formal training; some employers will hire those with little or no experience and train on the job.
Skills Needed Workers should be skilled in multiple areas of field service repair; some employers may prefer applicants with experience.
Additional Requirements Commercial driver's license
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%* (heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians)
Average Salary (2015) $50,080 annually* (mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Field Service Technician Career Info

Field service technicians generally work in a mobile capacity at sites away from a company maintenance shop. They are troubleshooters who specialize in repairing and maintaining equipment such as farm and railway equipment, earth movers, cranes and trucks. Because they work in remote locations, with no access to shop equipment other than that carried on their repair vehicles, field service technicians must be well-rounded and capable of performing multiple duties rather than specializing in a single skill such as transmission repair, brake systems or suspensions.

Field service technician positions are usually held by individuals who have undergone training in numerous specializations and have a few years of work experience. However, there are some heavy vehicle repair organizations that employ individuals who have little or no experience with this type of work.

Information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that only a small percentage of service technicians work for the government. The rest are self-employed or work in industries such as machinery rental and repair, equipment wholesale, construction, mining operations or transportation. Employment was expected to increase 5% in the period from 2014-2024, which is about average for all occupations (www.bls.gov).

Training Requirements

In order to reach and service the vehicles being repaired, field service technicians are required to hold a commercial diver's license. Because of the nature of the job and technological advances, field service technicians go through an almost continual process of on-the-job training. However, most employers prefer a certain amount of formal training. Community colleges and technical schools offer programs that lead to certificates or associate's degrees. Programs typically include courses that deal with subjects such as technical mathematics, gear theory, transmissions, hydraulics, welding, engine theory, pneumatics and electrical systems.

As a rule, technicians avail themselves of training and instructional sessions offered by manufacturers. These sessions address the maintenance and repair of new components, technology or upgrades. Although there is no industry-wide certification, in order to advance in the field, technicians must become certified on individual pieces of equipment. For instance, they should familiarize themselves with the operation of computers and electronic devices that are both onboard vehicles and well as those used as diagnostic tools.

Field service technicians need a wide variety of mechanical expertise and need be resourceful. As such, their training regimen usually reflects this need.

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