Career Definition for a Farm Equipment Mechanic
Due to the complexity of modern farming machinery, well-trained farm equipment mechanics have become an indispensable asset to the agricultural industry. Farm equipment mechanics, also referred to as service technicians, use basic hand tools, precision equipment, welding equipment and power tools to service and repair combines, tractors, thrashers, hay balers and other large equipment necessary for farming. Typically, a farm equipment mechanic works in a well-lit and ventilated garage provided by the farm equipment dealer; however, occasionally he or she may be required to assist farmers with equipment in the field.
|Education||1 or 2-year training program and on-the-job training|
|Job Skills||Good communication and customer service, mechanical aptitude, math and computer skills, and physical fitness|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$40,630 per year|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||8%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Today's farm machinery is more technically complex than the simple plows and tractors used decades ago and therefore requires a more technically skilled mechanic to maintain and repair them. Some employers may prefer to hire a farm equipment mechanic who has completed a 1- or 2- year program in agricultural or diesel mechanics; however, many student farm equipment mechanics receive on-the-job training from experienced mechanics or apply their experience in automotive or other heavy equipment mechanics towards a career in farm equipment mechanics. Those without previous education or related experience should expect a 2-year training period before they are considered highly skilled.
Because a farm equipment mechanic often engages with the public, good communication and customer service skills may be required. Mechanical aptitude, basic math and computer skills are also needed. A reasonable level of physical fitness is necessary due to the heavy tools and machinery a farm equipment mechanic handles on a daily basis.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for all types of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians will grow at an average rate of 8% from 2016 through 2026. The BLS recorded the annual median wage of farm equipment mechanics and service technicians as $40,630 in May 2018.
Alternate Career Options
Similar careers to a farm equipment mechanic include:
Small Engine Mechanic
These mechanics can learn their skills while on the job, to service and repair motorboats, motorcycles and various types of outdoor power equipment. Average employment growth of 5% was forecast for small engine mechanics from 2016-2026, and they earned an annual median wage of $35,990 in 2017, according to the BLS.
Diesel Service Technician and Mechanic
Some aspiring diesel service techs and mechanics complete postsecondary programs and earn industry certifications, although many learn their skills through on-the-job training. They overhaul and repair anything with diesel engines, including trucks and buses, and they could expect average job growth of 9% during the 2016-2026 decade, the BLS reported. In 2017, these techs and mechanics earned an annual median salary of $46,360, per the BLS.