5 Steps to Becoming a Heavy Equipment Repair Technician

Research what it takes to become a heavy equipment repair technician. Learn about the educational requirements, key skills, job outlook and average salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Industrial Automation Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Heavy Equipment Repair Technician?

Heavy equipment repair technicians use their acquired knowledge to repair and maintain bulldozers, tractors and other mobile industrial heavy equipment. They often have to travel to equipment given the difficulty transporting heavy equipment once it has broken down. When making repairs they reference technical manuals, while they disassemble parts, replace broken parts and reassemble equipment. In addition to making repairs, these technicians also complete general maintenance, such as lubing parts and replacing worn parts. The following chart gives an overview of what you need to know about entering the field:

Education Required High school diploma is generally required, vocational school and additional certifications are available
Key Skills In-depth knowledge of mechanics, physical strength and stamina, troubleshooting skills
Job Growth (2014-24) 5% (about as fast as average)*
Mean Salary (2015) $48,770*

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Learn the Job Duties of Heavy Equipment Repair Technicians

The construction industry, manufacturing companies and some utility companies depend on equipment such as bulldozers and forklifts to make light work of heavy tasks. When equipment breaks down, heavy equipment repair technicians are called in to service the equipment. Repair technicians need in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the equipment. These repair technicians train in vocational and hands-on programs.

Step 2: Consider an Educational Program

Community colleges and vocational schools offer programs specializing in heavy equipment repair. These programs may lead to professional certificates or associate's degrees in areas like heavy equipment maintenance technology. Programs cover diesel engines, diagnostic techniques and hydraulics as well as the electronic and computer systems increasingly used in heavy equipment.

Step 3: Get On-the-Job Training

Most heavy equipment repair technicians start in entry-level positions and perform simple tasks under supervision. As technicians gain experience, they are given responsibility for more complex tasks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it takes 3-4 years of on-the-job experience to be considered a fully qualified service technician.

Step 4: Consider Certification

Professional organizations, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, provide voluntary certification for heavy equipment repair technicians. In order to become certified, applicants must have the required experience and pass an exam. Certification demonstrates that technicians have a high level of proficiency and professionalism. Certification organizations often offer opportunities for continuing education and professional growth.

Step 5: Seek Career Advancement

As technicians gain experience they may move into roles with greater responsibility. Some move into supervisor or management roles. Others may go on to open their own repair shops. Technicians with certifications or advanced degrees may be more likely than those without to earn promotions or raises.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are quite a few mechanic career options out there that are related to a heavy equipment repair technician's. Diesel service technicians and mechanics specialize in maintaining and repairing diesel engines, which are often found in heavy equipment. While the parts and equipment they work with are often lighter, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics must perform many of the same tasks as heavy equipment repair technicians do, in order to make sure planes are in a flyable condition. On a smaller scale, automotive service technicians perform maintenance and repairs on everyday automobiles.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • York Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • South Carolina: Rock Hill
  • Yavapai College

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Prescott
  • Withlacoochee Technical Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Inverness
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Shell Lake
  • Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Valdosta
  • Northern Michigan University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Marquette
  • Wichita Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Kansas: Wichita