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How Can I Earn a Forklift Mechanic Degree?

Aspiring forklift mechanics interested in repairing and maintaining this type of equipment can get hands-on training through degree programs in such fields as diesel or heavy equipment technology. Keep reading to learn about classes offered in these programs and the skills needed for a career as a forklift mechanic. You can also get median salary data for professionals in this field.

What Training Do I Need to Become a Forklift Mechanic?

You can begin training to become a forklift mechanic in high school, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, the BLS (www.bls.gov) adds that most mechanics complete an associate's degree at a community college. The most common degree program that includes forklift mechanic training is the Associate in Applied Science in Diesel Technology, but heavy equipment technology degree programs and 1-year certificates are also available. Generally, an associate's degree program takes two years to complete and includes general education classes in addition to repair classes. These programs are hands-on and you'll find yourself repairing brakes, suspensions and hydraulic systems immediately.

Types of Programs Associate's degree and certificate programs in heavy equipment technology and diesel technology
Key Skills Covered Engine repair, preventative maintenance, brake analysis, forklift operation
Salary (2018)$51,920* (median salary for mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth* (between for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

In an associate's degree program in diesel technology, you'll learn about different diesel engines, how they run and problems that can make them fail. In other classes, you may learn how to repair damaged engines or perform preventative maintenance on a variety of engines. Some classes cover automatic and power shift transmissions, power trains and axles. Other classes train you to weld broken pieces safely and correctly. You may also learn how to:

  • Operate forklifts
  • Diagnose forklift operating problems
  • Service forklifts
  • Analyze brakes

What Do Job Requirements in This Field Include?

With an associate's degree in diesel technology, you can become a diesel service technician and mechanic, according to the BLS. On a day-to-day basis, you may be responsible for repairing construction equipment, farm equipment or power transportation equipment, which includes trucks and forklifts. You may test and diagnose engines, electrical systems and brake systems. Although certification is not required, the BLS states that earning certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence may provide more opportunities for advancement. As of May 2018, the median annual salary for mobile heavy equipment mechanics was $51,920.