Schools for Heavy Machinery Mechanics
Get tips on finding a school that offers training in heavy equipment technology, which can prepare you for a job as a heavy machinery mechanic. Read about certificate and degree programs in this field, and explore the course topics you'd study at each program level. Learn about apprenticeship programs as well. Review voluntary certification options for heavy machinery mechanics.
Students who want to study to become heavy machinery mechanics can select from maintenance certificate programs. Associate's are also available heavy construction and equipment technology; bachelor's degrees are available in a variety of formats, such as applied management and construction management.
How Do I Find a Heavy Machinery Mechanic School?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that high school graduates might be able to qualify for on-the-job training as heavy equipment mechanics. However, some employers may prefer job applicants with some formal postsecondary training. There are at least two resources you can use to locate an appropriate school or training program.
The National Center for Education Statistics lists over 280 postsecondary schools that offer programs to help you qualify as a heavy machinery mechanic. Since programs in heavy equipment technology and diesel technology often overlap, you might find appropriate programs listed in the category of diesel mechanics technology. These programs may be offered through an institution's school or department of technology, agriculture, engineering technology or automotive technology.
The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) offers an online list of secondary and postsecondary schools as well as institutes that feature certified training programs in heavy equipment mechanic technology. The NATEF also offers a list of Continuing Automotive Service Education (CASE) instruction programs that have been certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
Because of the need for hands-on instruction, entire online programs for aspiring heavy machinery mechanics don't exist. Although rare, some schools offer hybrid programs in heavy equipment operation. Basic operating procedures, terminology and safety are among the topics covered in the online portion of the program. Participation in on-campus training is required in order to complete the program.
Can I Earn a Certificate or Degree?
Technical institutes or community colleges may present the opportunity for you to earn a certificate in an area such as diesel technology or heavy equipment maintenance. A certificate program can take you a year or less to complete; credits earned through these programs can often be applied towards a degree program. Typical courses include shop mechanics, diesel engines, brakes, welding, hydraulic systems, lubrication and transmissions.
Some schools offer a 2-year program leading to an Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Occupational Studies in Heavy Equipment Technology. Consisting of 61-72 credits, an associate's program may explore topics like heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, inspection procedures, engine diagnostics and fuel injection systems. Schools may allow you to apply the credits you earn through an associate's program towards a bachelor's degree.
A 4-year bachelor's program in diesel or heavy equipment technology may require completion of 120-128 credits. Many of the same core courses in an associate's program might be part of your curriculum. Additional subjects could include welding theory and practice, hydraulics and pneumatics labs, advanced fuel systems and heavy duty power trains.
Which Schools Offer Certificates for Heavy Machinery Mechanics?
These certificates are available as for heavy machinery mechanics as 1-year programs. Some certificates offer the potential for students to work toward a variety of certifications in the field.
- Dakota County Technical College offers a Heavy Construction Equipment Maintenance Certificate program
- Shasta College offers an Equipment Operations and Maintenance certificate program
- Southern Maine Community College offers a Heavy Equipment Operations certificate program
Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees for Heavy Machinery Mechanics?
These programs focus on heavy equipment repair technology. Earn your degree in two years through a technical school or community college.
- Ferris State University offers a Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Heavy Equipment Technology
- Pennsylvania College of Technology offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Heavy Construction Equipment Technology
- Lansing Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Heavy Equipment Repair Technology
Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees for Heavy Machinery Mechanics?
- Ferris State University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Heavy Equipment Service Engineering Technology
- Pennsylvania College of Technology offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Applied Management
- Florida Institute of Technology offers a bachelor's degree in construction management program
Am I Certified When I Graduate?
In the process of earning a degree, you may earn a departmental certificate or a manufacturer training program certificate. This is not a certification, but rather a non-academic certificate of completion. According to the BLS, there is no industry-wide accepted certification for heavy machinery mechanics.
However, you can earn voluntary automotive mechanic certification through organizations like the ASE. Most certifications - including the certified repair technician credential - require at least two years of professional experience and completion of a written exam. Certification applicants who've earned at least an associate's degree only need one year of work experience; applicants who've completed a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship program are exempt from experience requirements.
Where Can I Find an Apprenticeship Program?
If you hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, you may be eligible to participate in an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships in heavy machinery mechanics can last 3-5 years and consist of 144 hours of classroom instruction in addition to 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. Specific apprenticeship requirements may vary from state to state. You can find out about apprenticeship programs by contacting your state office of apprenticeship through the U.S. Department of Labor.
There are a variety of heavy machinery maintenance programs to choose from. These are available at certificate and undergraduate levels.