Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Except Engines

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Job Outlook:
Faster than average
Education: High school diploma or equivalent
Salary
High: $80,080.00
Average: $59,560.00
Hourly
Average: $28.64

What they do:

Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul mobile mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment, such as cranes, bulldozers, graders, and conveyors, used in construction, logging, and mining.

On the job, you would:

  • Repair and replace damaged or worn parts.
  • Test mechanical products and equipment after repair or assembly to ensure proper performance and compliance with manufacturers' specifications.
  • Operate and inspect machines or heavy equipment to diagnose defects.

Important Qualities

Dexterity. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must perform many tasks, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, and using hand tools, with a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They must often disassemble major parts for repairs and be able to reassemble them.

Organizational skills. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must maintain accurate service records and parts inventories.

Physical strength. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must be able to lift and move heavy equipment, tools, and parts without risking injury.

Troubleshooting skills. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must be familiar with diagnostic equipment to find the source of malfunctions.

Personality

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

86% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
83% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
83% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
78% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
71% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
71% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
70% Innovation  -  Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
69% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
66% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
66% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
66% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
65% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
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

67% 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.

Aptitude

A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

75% 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.
72% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
72% 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% Extent Flexibility  -  The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
69% 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.
69% 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.
66% 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.

Job Details

Responsibilities
Rewire electrical or electronic systems.
Repair electrical components.
Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
Inspect completed work to ensure proper functioning.
Replace worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Inspect mechanical equipment to locate damage, defects, or wear.
Operate transportation equipment to demonstrate function or malfunction.
Troubleshoot equipment or systems operation problems.
Reassemble equipment after repair.
Dismantle heavy equipment or machinery.
Clean equipment, parts, or tools to repair or maintain them in good working order.
Lubricate equipment to allow proper functioning.
Inspect mechanical components of vehicles to identify problems.
Schedule repair, installation or maintenance activities.
Maintain repair or maintenance records.
Read technical information needed to perform maintenance or repairs.
Test mechanical equipment to ensure proper functioning.
Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Assemble mechanical components or machine parts.
Align equipment or machinery.
Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Solder parts or connections between parts.
Operate welding equipment.
Clean equipment, parts, or tools to repair or maintain them in good working order.
Adjust equipment to ensure optimal performance.
Maintain work equipment or machinery.
Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Adjust equipment to ensure optimal performance.
Maintain work equipment or machinery.
Fabricate parts or components.
Supervise employees.
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?
92% Exposed to Contaminants  -  How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
92% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
91% 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% Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
89% Exposed to Hazardous Equipment  -  How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
88% 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?
87% Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions  -  How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
87% Outdoors, Exposed to Weather  -  How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
86% 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?
86% 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?
84% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
83% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
83% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
82% 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?
81% Spend Time Standing  -  How much does this job require standing?
80% Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings  -  How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
80% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
78% 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?
77% Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body  -  How much does this job require bending or twisting your body?
76% In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment  -  How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
75% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
73% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
73% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
71% Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions  -  How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
69% 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?
69% Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting  -  How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
67% In an Open Vehicle or Equipment  -  How often does this job require working in an open vehicle or equipment (e.g., tractor)?
66% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
75% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

91% 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.
87% Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment  -  Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
85% Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials  -  Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
81% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
81% Handling and Moving Objects  -  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
80% Controlling Machines and Processes  -  Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
79% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
75% 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.
75% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
74% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
72% Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings  -  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
71% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
70% Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment  -  Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
69% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
68% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
68% Thinking Creatively  -  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
68% Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People  -  Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
67% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
65% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians Do

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians
Mechanics inspect, repair, and replace defective or worn parts.

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians, also called mechanics, inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.

Duties

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians typically do the following:

  • Consult equipment operating manuals, blueprints, and drawings
  • Perform scheduled maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating parts
  • Diagnose and identify malfunctions, using computerized tools and equipment
  • Inspect, repair, and replace defective or worn parts, such as bearings, pistons, and gears
  • Overhaul and test major components, such as engines, hydraulic systems, and electrical systems
  • Disassemble and reassemble heavy equipment and components
  • Travel to worksites to repair large equipment, such as cranes
  • Maintain logs of equipment condition and work performed

Heavy vehicles and mobile equipment are critical to many industrial activities, including construction and railroad transportation. Various types of equipment, such as tractors, cranes, and bulldozers, are used to haul materials, till land, lift beams, and dig earth to pave the way for development and construction.

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians repair and maintain engines, hydraulic systems, transmissions, and electrical systems of agricultural, industrial, construction, and rail equipment. They ensure the performance and safety of fuel lines, brakes, and other systems.

These service technicians use diagnostic computers and equipment to identify problems and make adjustments or repairs. For example, they may use an oscilloscope to observe the signals produced by electronic components. Service technicians also use many different power and machine tools, including pneumatic wrenches, lathes, and welding equipment. A pneumatic tool, such as an impact wrench, is a tool powered by compressed air.

Service technicians also use many different hand tools, such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches, to work on small parts and in hard-to-reach areas. They generally purchase these tools over the course of their careers, often investing thousands of dollars in their inventory.

After identifying malfunctioning equipment, service technicians repair, replace, and recalibrate components such as hydraulic pumps and spark plugs. Doing this may involve disassembling and reassembling major equipment or making adjustments through an onboard computer program.

The following are examples of types of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians:

Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians service and repair farm equipment, such as tractors and harvesters. They also work on smaller consumer-grade lawn and garden tractors. Most work for dealer repair shops, where farmers increasingly send their equipment for maintenance.

Mobile heavy equipment mechanics repair and maintain construction and surface mining equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, graders, and excavators. Most work for governments, equipment rental and leasing shops, and large construction and mining companies.

Rail car repairers specialize in servicing railroad locomotives, subway cars, and other rolling stock. They usually work for railroads, public and private transit companies, and railcar manufacturers.

Mechanics who work primarily on automobiles are described in the profile on automotive service technicians and mechanics.

Mechanics who work primarily on large trucks and buses are described in the profile on diesel service technicians and mechanics.

Mechanics who work primarily on motorboats, motorcycles, and small all-terrain vehicles are described in the profile on small engine mechanics.

Work Environment

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians held about 234,800 jobs in 2022. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians was distributed as follows:

Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines 169,100
Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians 45,600
Rail car repairers 20,100

The largest employers of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians were as follows:

Farm and garden machinery and equipment merchant wholesalers 10%
Transportation and warehousing 9
Government 8
Heavy and civil engineering construction 8
Rental and leasing services 7

Although many service technicians work indoors in repair shops, some service technicians travel to worksites to make repairs because it is often too expensive to transport heavy or mobile equipment to a shop. Generally, more experienced service technicians specialize in field service. These workers drive trucks that are specially equipped with replacement parts and tools, and they spend considerable time outdoors and often drive long distances.

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians frequently lift heavy parts and tools, handle greasy and dirty equipment, and stand or lie in awkward positions.

Injuries and Illnesses

Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Farm equipment mechanics and service techs frequently work with heavy parts and tools. Common workplace injuries include small cuts, sprains, and bruises

Work Schedules

Most heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians work full time, and many work evenings or weekends. Overtime is common.

Farm equipment mechanics’ work varies by time of the year. During busy planting and harvesting seasons, for example, mechanics often work six or seven 12-hour days per week. In the winter months, however, they may work less than full time.

Getting Started

Education:
55%
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)
30%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)

How to Become a Heavy Vehicle or Mobile Equipment Service Technician

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems.

Most heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent. Because vehicle and equipment technology is increasingly sophisticated and computerized, some employers prefer to hire service technicians who have completed a formal training program at a postsecondary institution.

Education

Most heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent. High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, physics, and welding provide a strong foundation for a service technician’s career. However, high school graduates often need further training to become fully qualified.

Completing a vocational or other postsecondary training program in diesel technology or heavy equipment mechanics is increasingly considered the best preparation for some entry-level positions. Offered by vocational schools and community colleges, these programs cover the basics of diagnostic techniques, electronics, and other related subjects. Each program may last 1 to 2 years and lead to a certificate of completion. Other programs, which lead to associate’s degrees, generally take 2 years to complete.

Training

Entry-level workers with no formal background in heavy vehicle repair often receive a few months of on-the-job training before they begin performing routine service tasks and making minor repairs. Trainees advance to more complex work as they show competence, and they usually become fully qualified after 3 to 4 years of work.

Service technicians who have completed a postsecondary training program in diesel technology or heavy equipment mechanics typically require less on-the-job training.

Many employers send new service technicians to training sessions conducted by equipment manufacturers. Training sessions may focus on particular components and technologies or particular types of equipment.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some manufacturers offer certification in specific repair methods or equipment. Although not required, certification can demonstrate a service technician’s competence and usually commands higher pay.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 21,100 openings for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians 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

As the stock of heavy vehicles and mobile equipment continues to increase, more service technicians will be needed to maintain it. Projected employment of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians varies by occupation (see table).

Agricultural production requires the use of increasingly complex software-driven farm equipment, which is expected to create demand for farm equipment mechanics and service technicians to maintain and to train customers in its use.

Population and business growth should result in greater demand for new houses, commercial real estate, bridges, and other structures, which in turn may require more mobile heavy equipment mechanics in the construction industry.

Rail car repairers will continue to be needed to service trains used for freight transportation. In addition, public transit agencies will rely on these workers to maintain their rail fleets.  

Contacts for More Information

For more details about job openings for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians, consult local heavy and mobile equipment dealers and distributors, construction contractors, and government agencies. Local offices of the state employment service also may have information on job openings and training programs.

For more information about careers and training programs, visit

Associated Equipment Distributors

National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft.

See How to Become One $70,740
Automotive body and glass repairers Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.

High school diploma or equivalent $47,270
Automotive service technicians and mechanics Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

Automotive service technicians and mechanics inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.

Postsecondary nondegree award $46,970
Diesel service technicians and mechanics Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, and overhaul buses, trucks, or any vehicle with a diesel engine.

High school diploma or equivalent $54,360
Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights install, maintain, and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery.

High school diploma or equivalent $59,470
Small engine mechanics Small Engine Mechanics

Small engine mechanics inspect, service, and repair motorized power equipment.

See How to Become One $44,080
Water transportation occupations Water Transportation Workers

Water transportation workers operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water.

See How to Become One $66,100

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.