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Heavy Equipment Repair Technician: Career and Educational Summary

Working as a heavy equipment repair technician requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensing to see if this is the right career for you.

Heavy equipment repair technicians repair a variety of equipment often used for transporting objects. Although a college degree is not required, certificate and associate's degree programs are available. In addition, a CDL or equipment license may be needed.

Essential Information

Heavy equipment repair technicians install, maintain and service large industrial machines and vehicles designed for activities such as transporting objects, lifting material and plowing earth. These technicians may be required to undergo several years of job training in addition to acquiring knowledge through postsecondary certificate programs.

Required Education None mandatory; certificates and associate's degrees in heavy equipment repair are available and may be preferred by employers
Other Requirements Operator's licenses may be required for some types of equipment; a commercial driver's license is required by some employers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics*
Median Salary (2015) $47,120 for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Heavy equipment repair technicians may be required to operate heavy equipment as part of the diagnostic process. They may need to disassemble and reassemble heavy equipment, order new parts and conduct inspections on heavy machinery to ensure proper functioning and compliance with manufacturer standards. Technicians may also need to possess the ability to read and comprehend blueprints, instructional manuals and technical sketches.

Technicians may need to work with a range of tools, such as wrenches, hex keys, flame cutters and vise grips. Since the work environment of technicians may be hazardous and polluting, these professionals may also need to master appropriate safety and health protocols and procedures. The physical demands of the job - crouching, stooping, climbing and pushing - require technicians to stay in good physical condition.

Education

Although a high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for most repair technician positions, employers may prefer individuals who understand mechanics and who are acquainted with areas such as large engines, computer systems and hydraulics. Individuals with no knowledge in these areas may elect to enroll in either a certificate or associate's degree program in heavy equipment repair.

Students in certificate programs may be required to learn the principles of heavy engine rebuilding, powertrains and industrial safety. Those in the associate's degree programs may be required to take a broader curriculum emphasizing mathematics, applied science, communications and writing in addition to core subjects.

Licensing

Although there isn't standardized certification that heavy equipment repair technicians must hold in every state, some individual pieces of equipment and machinery may demand operator's licenses. In addition to these various equipment licenses, some employers may require technicians to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) in addition to a regular driver's license.

Salary and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a positive employment outlook for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics of 5% from 2014-2024. The prospects may be even better for those technicians with formal training and/or expertise. The BLS listed the median annual wage for all mobile heavy equipment mechanics at $47,120 as of 2015.

Heavy equipment repair technicians troubleshoot various types of equipment problems and may interpret instructional manuals and blueprints. Employers may prefer those with an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate after completing a high school program. A fast as average employment growth of 5% was expected for technicians through 2024.


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