Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Overview
Postsecondary training in heavy equipment repair is beneficial to heavy equipment mechanics looking for jobs. Many employers consider technicians with 3 or 4 years of experience to be qualified. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics make higher wages than maintenance, installation or repair workers.
Nature of the Work for Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Many employers and industries find heavy equipment mechanics to be indispensable. Such industries can include railroad transportation or construction. The work of a mobile heavy equipment mechanic involves repairing and maintaining engines as well as hydraulics, transmission and electrical systems for equipment that can move materials, lift beams or dig earth for development or production.
Such mobile heavy equipment uses hydraulic systems to raise or lower movable parts. Heavy equipment mechanics can help examine malfunctioning hydraulic components for fluid leaks, worn gaskets or ruptures hoses. The work of a mobile heavy equipment mechanic may also involve repairing or replacing defective components as well as disassembling or repairing undercarriages and track assemblies.
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics use hand tools such as screwdrivers or pliers, machine tools such as latches or grinding machines, and power tools such as pneumatic wrenches. Heavy equipment mechanics may also use computerized testing equipment to analyze any malfunctions.
Heavy equipment mechanics working in large shops may specialize in one or two types of heavy equipment repair. They may also specialize in the type of equipment they use on the job.
Heavy equipment mechanics usually work indoors where they must lift heavy parts and tools, stand in awkward positions and handle dirty or greasy parts. The environment is usually well lit and ventilated and many employers provide their employees with locker rooms and uniforms.
The typical workweek for a heavy equipment mechanic is 40 hours.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Many industry experts recommend heavy equipment mechanics to have some sort of formal training, even though many learn their skills on-the-job. Heavy equipment mechanics with mechanical aptitude and who are knowledgeable about electrical systems, hydraulics, and computers are also sought out by employers.
Those looking to work as heavy equipment mechanics should take high school courses in physics, chemistry or mathematics. After they complete such courses and their interest in the industry is sparked, they can then attend a vocational school or community college that offers programs for heavy equipment mechanics. These programs may teach students basics such as diagnostic techniques, hydraulics, or electronics. Completing a 1-year or 2-year program can sometimes lead to an associate’s degree or certificate. This training will allow heavy equipment mechanics to advance to the journey or work at experienced levels.
Entry-level mobile heavy equipment mechanics usually begin by performing routine service tasks and making minor repairs after a few months on on-the-job training. After 3 or 4 years, a heavy equipment mechanic is considered fully qualified.
Employers will sometimes send their heavy equipment mechanics to training programs that can last up to 1 week to learn about new advances in technology and equipment.
The ability to read well and communication skills are important for heavy equipment mechanics that must read and interpret service manuals. Heavy equipment mechanics should also feel comfortable with computers since technology is becoming more and more sophisticated.
The best credential for heavy equipment mechanic employees to have is the completion of an accredited postsecondary program in heavy vehicle repair.
Advancement for mobile heavy equipment mechanics can mean working in field service jobs, becoming supervisors, or service managers. They can also open their own repair shops or invest in a franchise.
Top 10 Most Popular Heavy Equipment Maintenance Technology/Technician Schools
1. Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport (Williamsport, Pennsylvania)
2. Albany Technical College (Albany, Georgia)
3. Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Michigan)
4. North Central Kansas Technical College (Beloit, Kansas)
5. Okefenokee Technical College (Waycross, Georgia)
6. The University of Montana, Missoula (Missoula, Montana)
7. Indian Capital Technology Center, Tahlequah (Tahlequah, Oklahoma)
8. Altamaha Technical College (Jesup, Georgia)
9. San Joaquin Delta College - Stockton (Stockton, California)
10. Fox Valley Technical College (Appleton, Wisconsin)
Employment and Job Outlook for Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).
Out of the 190,700 jobs held by service technicians, 120,450 of those jobs are held by mobile heavy equipment mechanics.
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics with postsecondary training will have the most job opportunities readily available to them. An increased sophistication in technology as well as a growth in the use of heavy equipment in the construction industry will contribute to the growing number of jobs for heavy equipment mechanics.
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics may also find more jobs in firms that sell, lease or rent machinery since a significant portion of their revenue is based on such repair services.
Since many employers find it difficult to find qualified candidates with formal education, mobile heavy equipment mechanics who have graduated from a postsecondary training program will have the most job opportunities.
Operations in mining and construction that require heavy and mobile equipment can be affected by the downturns in the economy. Even though service and repair is always needed on such equipment, the equipment may be idle during such downturns.
Earnings and Salary for Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Median hourly wages of mobile heavy equipment mechanics are $21.21. The middle 50 percent earn between $17.14 and $25.67. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $14.06, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $31.18.
Many mobile heavy equipment technicians are apart of a union. Such unions can include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Heavy equipment mechanics who join a union may receive benefits on top of what they already receive from their employer.
Hourly Wage for Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
On average, Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics earn $21.21 per hour.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook