Careers in construction equipment maintenance include diesel mechanics and heavy equipment mechanics. It is possible to pursue these careers with on-the-job training, although completing a certificate or associate's degree and being certified may be preferred by employers and increase job prospects.
Construction equipment maintenance jobs are separated into the categories of heavy equipment and diesel mechanics. Heavy equipment mechanics work on all types of equipment except diesel engines, while diesel mechanics specialize only in diesel equipment. Training for these jobs is usually provided through trade schools, community colleges and apprenticeships.
|Career Title||Diesel Mechanic||Heavy Equipment Mechanic|
|Education Requirements||On the job training, certificate program completion, associate's degree or union apprenticeship programs||On the job training, certificate program completion, associate's degree or union apprenticeship programs|
|Optional Certification||ASE certification||ASE certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||12% for diesel service technicians and mechanics||5% for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$46,110 annually for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists||$50,080 annually for mobile heavy equipment mechanics (except engines)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Construction equipment maintenance workers might find work in farming, ground or air transportation, industrial manufacturing or government sectors. Potential employers include freight trucking companies, vehicle parts suppliers and vehicle rental companies, to name a few. Read on to learn more about heavy equipment and diesel equipment mechanic job requirements and duties.
Heavy Equipment Mechanic
Heavy equipment mechanics repair transmissions, electrical systems, fuel systems and gasoline engines, perform routine maintenance and troubleshoot problems. Some mechanics may specialize in specific equipment, such as equipment made by a certain manufacturer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected job growth from 2014-2024 for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics was 5% (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS reported the average annual wage for mobile heavy equipment mechanics as $50,080.
Training for a heavy equipment mechanic is usually through community college, trade school and union apprenticeship programs. Programs may offer general training in heavy-duty equipment or focus on a specific manufacturer's equipment. Most programs offer a mix of classroom and hands-on training, but only apprenticeships offer paid on-the-job training. Heavy equipment training programs may include courses on brake systems, power trains, mathematics, engines, electrical systems and welding.
Some employers may prefer to hire mechanics that hold a certification. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers certifications that may be helpful for a heavy equipment mechanic. ASE certifications are voluntary, but they are recognized in the industry as proof of skills and knowledge.
Diesel mechanics specialize in the repair, troubleshooting and maintenance of diesel engines and may service other parts of diesel equipment. A diesel mechanic may work on heavy equipment, such as graders or bulldozers, as well as light equipment, such as trucks. According to the BLS, from 2014-2024, the projected job growth for diesel service technicians and mechanics was 12%. As of May 2015, the BLS reported the average annual wage for diesel engine specialists as $46,110.
Diesel mechanics usually attend a formal training program to the gain necessary skills in diesel technology. Trade schools offer programs in diesel mechanics that cover all aspects of repairing and servicing diesel engines. A course may also provide hands-on training and teach a student about electrical systems, preventative maintenance, fuel systems and brake systems. Voluntary ASE certification, such as the ASE Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Test, is available for mechanics who want to demonstrate their knowledge of diesel equipment.
Construction equipment maintenance involves maintaining vehicles with oil changes, tire rotations and other routine tasks. Heavy equipment maintenance workers may be trained in welding and electrical systems. Diesel mechanics are specifically trained to work on diesel engines. All construction equipment maintenance workers are also trained in preventative maintenance, fuel systems and brake systems.