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Job Outlook:
Much faster than average
Education: High school diploma or equivalent
Salary
High: $81,300.00
Average: $61,750.00
Hourly
Average: $29.69

What they do:

Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings.

On the job, you would:

  • Insert shims, adjust tension on nuts and bolts, or position parts, using hand tools and measuring instruments, to set specified clearances between moving and stationary parts.
  • Level bedplate and establish centerline, using straightedge, levels, and transit.
  • Align machines or equipment, using hoists, jacks, hand tools, squares, rules, micrometers, lasers, or plumb bobs.

Important Qualities

Manual dexterity. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights must have a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination when handling very small parts.

Mechanical skills. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights use technical manuals and sophisticated diagnostic equipment to figure out why machines are not working. Workers must be able to reassemble large, complex machines after finishing a repair.

Troubleshooting skills. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights must observe, diagnose, and fix problems that a machine may be having.

Personality

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

94% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
92% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
84% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
82% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
81% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
80% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
79% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
78% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
78% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
74% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
73% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
72% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
70% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
66% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Strengths

100% Realistic  -  Work involves designing, building, or repairing of equipment, materials, or structures, engaging in physical activity, or working outdoors. Realistic occupations are often associated with engineering, mechanics and electronics, construction, woodworking, transportation, machine operation, agriculture, animal services, physical or manual labor, athletics, or protective services.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

78% Support  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
72% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
61% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Aptitude

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

81% Manual Dexterity  -  The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
75% Control Precision  -  The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
75% Finger Dexterity  -  The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
72% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
72% Arm-Hand Steadiness  -  The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
72% Multilimb Coordination  -  The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
69% Information Ordering  -  The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
69% Visualization  -  The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
66% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
66% Static Strength  -  The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
66% Trunk Strength  -  The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
66% Extent Flexibility  -  The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Job Details

Responsibilities
Lubricate equipment to allow proper functioning.
Maintain work equipment or machinery.
Fabricate parts or components.
Operate welding equipment.
Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Fabricate parts or components.
Troubleshoot equipment or systems operation problems.
Align equipment or machinery.
Adjust equipment to ensure optimal performance.
Replace worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Test mechanical equipment to ensure proper functioning.
Assemble mechanical components or machine parts.
Position equipment using hand tools, power tools, or heavy equipment.
Align equipment or machinery.
Communicate with coworkers to coordinate installations or repairs.
Adjust the tension of nuts or bolts.
Position equipment using hand tools, power tools, or heavy equipment.
Move materials, equipment, or supplies.
Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
Assemble mechanical components or machine parts.
Bolt objects into place.
Assemble mechanical components or machine parts.
Operate welding equipment.
Drill holes in parts, equipment, or materials.
Lay out work according to specifications.
Bolt objects into place.
Level machines or equipment.
Dismantle heavy equipment or machinery.
Operate heating or drying equipment.
Dismantle heavy equipment or machinery.
Fabricate parts or components.
Install programs onto computer or computer-controlled equipment.
Grind parts to required dimensions.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

100% Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets  -  How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
99% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
96% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
94% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
92% Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls  -  How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
91% Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable  -  How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
89% Exposed to Hazardous Equipment  -  How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
89% Spend Time Standing  -  How much does this job require standing?
88% Exposed to Contaminants  -  How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
87% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
86% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
86% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
84% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
83% Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
83% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
82% Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions  -  How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
81% Very Hot or Cold Temperatures  -  How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
80% Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting  -  How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
80% Outdoors, Exposed to Weather  -  How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
80% Consequence of Error  -  How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
78% Exposed to High Places  -  How often does this job require exposure to high places?
78% Exposed to Hazardous Conditions  -  How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
77% Responsibility for Outcomes and Results  -  How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
77% Physical Proximity  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
76% Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection  -  How much does this job require wearing specialized protective or safety equipment such as breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suits, or radiation protection?
74% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
73% Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings  -  How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
72% Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body  -  How much does this job require bending or twisting your body?
71% Outdoors, Under Cover  -  How often does this job require working outdoors, under cover (e.g., structure with roof but no walls)?
70% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
67% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
67% Level of Competition  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?
66% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
86% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

94% Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment  -  Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
88% Handling and Moving Objects  -  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
85% Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials  -  Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
79% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
79% Performing General Physical Activities  -  Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
78% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
78% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
77% Training and Teaching Others  -  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
76% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
75% Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment  -  Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
75% Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others  -  Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
74% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
73% Coaching and Developing Others  -  Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
73% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
73% Controlling Machines and Processes  -  Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
73% Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment  -  Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
72% Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings  -  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
70% Developing and Building Teams  -  Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
66% Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates  -  Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
66% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
66% Scheduling Work and Activities  -  Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

What Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights Do

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers
Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers adjust and calibrate equipment.

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

Duties

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights typically do the following:

  • Read technical manuals to understand equipment and controls
  • Disassemble machinery and equipment when there is a problem
  • Repair or replace broken or malfunctioning components
  • Perform tests and run initial batches to make sure that the machine is running smoothly
  • Detect minor problems by performing basic diagnostic tests
  • Test malfunctioning machinery to determine whether major repairs are needed
  • Adjust and calibrate equipment and machinery to optimal specifications
  • Clean and lubricate equipment or machinery
  • Move machinery and equipment

Industrial machinery mechanics, also called maintenance machinists, keep machines in working order by detecting and correcting errors before the machine or the products it produces are damaged. Many of these machines are increasingly run by computers. Industrial machinery mechanics use technical manuals, their understanding of industrial equipment, and observation to determine the cause of a problem. For example, after detecting a vibration from a machine, they must decide whether it is the result of worn belts, weak motor bearings, or some other problem. They may use computerized diagnostic systems and vibration analysis techniques to help figure out the source of problems. Examples of machines they may work with are robotic welding arms, automobile assembly line conveyor belts, and hydraulic lifts.

After diagnosing a problem, the industrial machinery mechanic may take the equipment apart to repair or replace the necessary parts. Once a repair is made, mechanics test a machine to ensure that it is operating correctly.

In addition to working with hand tools, mechanics commonly use lathes, grinders, and drill presses. Many also are required to weld.

Machinery maintenance workers do basic maintenance and repairs on machines. They clean and lubricate machinery, perform basic diagnostic tests, check the performance of the machine, and test damaged machine parts to determine whether major repairs are necessary.

Machinery maintenance workers must follow machine specifications and adhere to maintenance schedules. They perform minor repairs, generally leaving major repairs to industrial machinery mechanics.

Maintenance workers use a variety of tools to do repairs and preventive maintenance. For example, they may use a screwdriver or socket wrenches to adjust a motor’s alignment, or they might use a hoist to lift a heavy printing press off the ground.

Millwrights install, maintain, and disassemble industrial machines. Putting together a machine can take a few days or several weeks.

Millwrights perform repairs that include replacing worn or defective parts of machines. They also may be involved in taking apart the entire machine, a common situation when a manufacturing plant needs to clear floor space for new machinery. In taking apart a machine, millwrights carefully disassemble, categorize, and package each part of the machine.

Millwrights use a variety of hand tools, such as hammers and levels, as well as equipment for welding, brazing, and cutting. They also use measuring tools, such as micrometers, measuring tapes, lasers, and other precision-measuring devices. On large projects, they commonly use cranes and trucks. When millwrights and managers determine the best place for a machine, millwrights use forklifts, hoists, winches, cranes, and other equipment to bring the parts to the desired location.

Work Environment

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights held about 507,900 jobs in 2022. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights was distributed as follows:

Industrial machinery mechanics 402,200
Maintenance workers, machinery 63,600
Millwrights 42,100

The largest employers of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights were as follows:

Manufacturing 53%
Wholesale trade 12
Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance 9
Construction 5

Injuries and Illnesses

Working with industrial machinery can be dangerous. To avoid injury, workers must follow safety precautions and use protective equipment, such as hardhats, safety glasses, steel-toed shoes, gloves, and earplugs.

Work Schedules

Most industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers are employed full time during regular business hours. However, mechanics may be on call and work night or weekend shifts. Overtime is common, particularly for mechanics.

Getting Started

Education:
57%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)
30%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)

How to Become an Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Machinery Maintenance Worker, or Millwright

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers
Industrial machinery mechanics may receive more than a year of on-the-job training, while machinery maintenance workers typically receive training that lasts a few months to a year.

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights typically need a high school diploma. Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers also usually need a year or more of training after high school.

Most millwrights go through an apprenticeship program that lasts about 4 years.

Education

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights generally need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some mechanics and millwrights complete a 2-year associate’s degree program in industrial maintenance. Industrial maintenance programs may include courses such as welding, mathematics, hydraulics, and pneumatics.

Training

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers typically receive more than a year of on-the-job training. Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers learn how to perform routine tasks, such as setting up, cleaning, lubricating, and starting machinery. They also may be instructed in subjects such as shop mathematics, blueprint reading, proper hand tool use, welding, electronics, and computer programming. This training may be offered on the job by professional trainers hired by the employer or by representatives of equipment manufacturers.

Most millwrights learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of relevant technical instruction and up to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. On the job, apprentices learn to set up, clean, lubricate, repair, and start machinery. During technical instruction, they are taught welding, mathematics, how to read blueprints, and machinery troubleshooting. Many also receive computer training.

After completing an apprenticeship program, millwrights are considered fully qualified and can usually perform tasks with less guidance.

Employers, local unions, contractor associations, and the state labor department often sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work

Job Outlook

Overall employment of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights is projected to grow 13 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 49,100 openings for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Projected employment of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights varies by occupation (see table).

The continued adoption of automated manufacturing machinery is expected to create jobs for these workers, as they will be needed to help keep machines in good working order. The use of automated conveyors to move products and materials in factories is likely to be an area of high demand for these workers, because the conveyor belts, motors, and rollers need regular care and maintenance.

Contacts for More Information

For information about industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers, visit

National Association of Manufacturers

Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals

For information about millwrights and the precision-machined products industry, training, and apprenticeships, visit

Precision Machined Products Association

For further information on apprenticeship programs, write to the Apprenticeship Council of your state’s labor department or to local firms that employ machinery mechanics and repairers. Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Electrical and electronics engineers Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment.

Bachelor's degree $104,610
Electricians Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $60,240
General maintenance and repair workers General Maintenance and Repair Workers

General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,980
Machinists and tool and die makers Machinists and Tool and Die Makers

Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate equipment to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.

See How to Become One $49,560
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair piping fixtures and systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $60,090
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join, repair, or cut metal parts and products.

High school diploma or equivalent $47,540
wind turbine technicians image Wind Turbine Technicians

Wind turbine service technicians maintain and repair wind turbines.

Postsecondary nondegree award $57,320
Medical equipment repairers Medical Equipment Repairers

Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair patient care equipment.

Associate's degree $57,860

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.