How to Become a Sprinkler Irrigation Equipment Mechanic

Learn what sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics do and how to become one. Get details about education and training. See what kind of experience you need for employment and career advancement. View article »

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  • 0:00 Fix Sprinkler…
  • 0:54 Career Requirements
  • 1:18 Steps to This Career

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Video Transcript

Fix Sprinkler Irrigation Equipment

Sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics perform the physically strenuous work of maintaining and repairing pipes, connections and valves that supply water to gardens, landscapes and crops. These professionals may also be responsible for installing and servicing irrigation control mechanisms, like automated timers.

Sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics typically work outdoors. This could be a seasonal job, or a job with seasonal periods of high activity during spring, summer and fall. Even though grounds maintenance workers, like sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics, might wear protective gear, workers in this field have a higher than average rate of on-the-job injury and sickness, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics may consider certificate or associate's degree programs for training.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's Degree
Degree Field Landscape management, irrigation technology
Licensure/Certification Licensure is required by some states; voluntary certifications may increase job prospects
Key Skills Ability to work outside in extreme weather, mechanical aptitude, plumbing skills, electrical skills, ability to operate lawn equipment such as mowers and tractors
Salary (2015) $29,220 (median for grounds maintenance workers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics need to have the physical endurance to work outside in extreme weather. Mechanical aptitude is crucial, including plumbing and electrical knowledge. These mechanics also must be able to operate lawn equipment such as mowers and tractors.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015 that grounds maintenance workers made a median salary of $29,220.

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Steps to This Career

Sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics generally have a combination of education and training, plus licenses and certification where required.

Step 1: Enroll in a Postsecondary Educational Program

An aspiring sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanic may begin preparing for this career by entering a postsecondary education program, such as certificate and associate's degree programs in irrigation technology or landscape management technology. Although specific program requirements may vary, many begin with courses in irrigation systems and control design. Students may also take hands-on classes in which they delve into piping connections, adhesives and hand tools. Additionally, some programs may cover irrigation scheduling and water conservation.

Students may have the option to take electives ranging from water drainage to landscape design. These elective courses allow students to gain knowledge on water flow, pumping systems and budgetary costs, which they may apply on the job.

Step 2: Earn Licenses

Some states require irrigation workers to be licensed. Others require licensing for irrigation mechanics who perform work on specialized equipment like backflow preventers. Although specific requirements vary, licensure generally includes completing certain coursework, meeting set educational levels and passing a state licensing examination. In order to maintain the license, states may require irrigation mechanics to complete a specified number of continuing education hours.

Step 3: Find Employment

Sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics may find employment with golf courses, landscaping contractors and universities. New hires may begin by shadowing more experienced peers as they replace sprinkler nozzles and check pipes for leaks. With experience, new hires may become responsible for installing backflow preventers and repairing electrical controls. Other duties can include performing maintenance work on lawn movers, tractors and other lawn care equipment.

Step 4: Attain Certifications

Sprinkler irrigation equipment managers seeking to distinguish themselves from other applicants or wanting to specialize in one field may consider earning voluntary certifications. For example, mechanics working on farm irrigation systems may consider becoming Certified Agricultural Irrigation Specialists (CAIS) designated by the Irrigation Association (www.irrigation.org). These professionals must complete an exam on farm irrigation management systems and are qualified to review land and chose the best methods for the project.

The CAIS certification lasts for two years. In order to keep the credential current, CAISs must complete 20 units of continuing education. Credit is awarded for teaching irrigation classes, attending conferences and completing business courses, among other activities.

Sprinkler irrigation equipment mechanics gain knowledge and skills through postsecondary education programs. State licensing is required in some cases, and voluntary professional certification can prepare folks for advancement.

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