Heavy Truck and Vehicle Technician
Working as a heavy truck and vehicle technician allows you to spend your days fixing and maintaining construction, rail and farm vehicles. Keep reading to learn whether this field is right for you.
Is a Career as a Heavy Truck and Vehicle Technician for Me?
Working as a heavy truck and vehicle technician, you can repair and maintain the mechanical workings of heavy trucks, agricultural machines and industrial vehicles. You might service or repair brake systems, engines, transmissions and other vehicle components. Hand tools and power tools, such as wrenches, grinders and hoists, are frequently used.
Employment opportunities often include working in mechanics as an agricultural equipment mechanic, heavy equipment mechanic, truck fleet mechanic or industrial equipment mechanic. You can specialize and work as a diesel engine specialist, diesel fuel system specialist, wheel alignment specialist, service manager or other type of mechanic. You could also find work as a shop foreman or salesperson.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of service technicians and heavy vehicle mechanics was expected to increase nine percent between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). In May 2013, mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except those who worked on engines, earned an average annual salary of $47,830, reported the BLS. It was also noted that farm equipment technicians and service technicians made an average annual wage of $36,390, and rail car repairers averaged $49,700, also in May 2013.
How Do I Become a Heavy Truck and Vehicle Technician?
If you're interested in becoming a heavy truck and vehicle technician, you can find programs at 2- and 4-year schools. Some of these are called diesel and heavy equipment technician programs. You can earn diplomas and associate's degrees in diesel and heavy vehicle technology. These programs usually include a lot of hands-on learning, and your studies might include fusing and bonding metals, service and repair, heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, diesel systems, diesel motors, powertrains, brakes, hydraulics and vehicle maintenance. You can also learn about steering and suspension.
Some programs have certain requirements that you may have to meet. You might need to demonstrate your knowledge of safety regulations, know how to analyze and detect mechanical issues, be able to carry a certain amount of weight and possess good communication skills. A valid driver's license is also usually required.
You can gain voluntary certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. It offers more than 40 different tests to become certified in different areas, including medium-heavy trucks. Other certifications include truck equipment, transit bus, school bus and engine machinist specializations. If you pass multiple tests, you can earn master status.