Industrial Maintenance and Mechanics
Industrial maintenance mechanics ensure the proper functioning of heavy industrial equipment. Find out more about the job duties of industrial maintenance mechanics, and review the training needed to enter this career field. Check the employment outlook and salary potential for industrial machinery mechanics.
Is Industrial Maintenance and Mechanics Right For Me?
Mechanics in the industrial maintenance field use their skills to troubleshoot, diagnose and fix heavy machinery. Industrial mechanics repair controls, gears, brake systems and chains. Employees in the industry work in manufacturing facilities, buildings and factories. You can find work at government agencies, hospitals, food production plants or mills.
Specialists in the industrial maintenance and mechanic field pursue job opportunities as heavy equipment repair technicians, machine repair technicians, industrial machinery mechanics or machinery maintenance workers. If you pursue an industrial maintenance position, you would identify problems using vibration and observation techniques or computer systems. You would then disassemble the machine, which may require the assistance of a millwright, to replace or repair broken parts. Industrial maintenance mechanics also read technical manuals for direction when repairing machinery, as well as perform tests to ensure the problem is fixed.
Machinery maintenance workers perform preventive maintenance tasks. You clean and lubricate machine parts, perform tests to ensure proper functioning and execute minor repairs. You follow an established maintenance schedule to ensure the timely maintenance of equipment to prevent future breakdowns. Machinery maintenance workers perform general or simple repair tasks while industrial machinery mechanics execute more complicated repair work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers can expect better than average job growth from 2012-2022, with an increase of 17% (www.bls.gov). The BLS further details that industrial machinery mechanics' job growth is predicted to be 19% during that same decade; that rate is estimated to be 11% for machinery maintenance workers and 18% for millwrights. Careers in this field paid a median annual wage of $45,840 as of 2012, per the BLS. More specifically, the agency reports that in 2012, the median pay for millwrights was $49,510. Industrial machinery mechanics earned median wages of $46,920, and machinery maintenance workers earned $40,620 that year.
How Can I Work in Industrial Maintenance and Mechanics?
Education and Training
The education requirements for entry-level opportunities in industrial maintenance vary. Machinery maintenance workers can typically enter the field with a high school diploma and are often trained on the job. While workers with only a high school diploma may find employment, employers prefer industrial machinery mechanics with some postsecondary education or training.
You have several education and training options if you want to work in industrial maintenance. Many colleges and universities offer certificate and associate's degree programs in industrial maintenance and mechanics. For example, you can pursue an associate's degree program in building maintenance technology, which typically offers courses in plumbing, AC/DC fundamentals, mathematics and construction wiring. Industrial maintenance technology programs offer courses in welding, hydraulics, mechanical drives, preventive maintenance, electronic controllers and electricity.