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Heavy Equipment Repair Technician: Job Duties, Outlook and Education Info

Large scale construction projects require many complex vehicles and tools; when these run into maintenance problems, heavy equipment repair technicians are called in to fix what's wrong. Find out about the training, job duties and expected growth for this career.

What You Need to Know

The backbone of any well-run construction site begins with machinery that must perform as intended or the operations will fail from the get-go. Talented, trained and dedicated professionals committed to keeping heavy machinery going are essential to the businesses relying on them to complete their designated workload. Different programs exist for those seeking a position in the technical aspect of the construction field.

Duties Inspect, maintain, repair or replace heavy equipment
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 0% (all heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians)
Education High school diploma or equivalent; vocational and postsecondary training programs in heavy equipment mechanics and associate's degrees are available
Certification Certification is sometimes offered by manufacturers
Courses Electronics, basic heavy equipment, hydraulics, fuel systems, welding, blueprint reading, writing and other related subjects

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Duties and Responsibilities?

Heavy equipment repair technicians perform regular maintenance and repair work on vehicles and devices such as bulldozers, back hoes, boom trucks, cranes, forklifts, and farm machinery. Tools used by these technicians include pneumatic wrenches, lathes, power jacks, and traditional hand tools.

In order to find out what is wrong with a piece of equipment, heavy equipment repair technicians must frequently disassemble parts before repair can begin; however, problems in many new vehicles can be determined via diagnostic testing. Heavy machine repair technicians working on recently made vehicles use various complex devices in their trade, like tachometers and voltmeters.

Here are examples of other responsibilities:

  • Perform scheduled maintenance
  • Inspect and replace parts that are worn out
  • Overhaul engines, hydraulic systems and electrical systems
  • Maintain logs of work performed

What Can I Expect?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 152,900 people were employed as mobile heavy equipment mechanics (except engines) in 2019. From 2019-2029, job growth in this field is expected at one percent, which is slower than average. As of May 2019, the median annual wage for mobile heavy equipment mechanics was $53,370; those at the top of the field make in excess of $77,990 per year. These technicians can find some of the highest salaries in the natural gas and aerospace industries.

What Do I Need to Learn?

Many trade schools and community colleges offer programs for those interested in a career in heavy equipment repair. Students in these programs can expect to take classes in basic heavy equipment, electronics, hydraulics, diesel fuel systems, blueprint reading and writing, and welding. Most trade school or certificate programs can be completed within one year; however, some community colleges offer an associate's degree in heavy equipment repair that may be completed in four semesters. Many of these technicians also take examinations in order to earn manufacturer certification, which may lead to career advancement.