Heavy vehicles and mobile equipment encompass railroad cars, cranes, farm equipment, bulldozers, and other such equipment. They are indispensable machines that must be maintained and sometimes repaired. These responsibilities fall upon the heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics.
Service technicians and mechanics spend most of their time running maintenance checks on heavy vehicles and mobile equipment. Routine maintenance allows machines to run efficiently and last longer. Many technicians often locate trouble spots before a major problem occurs. Through the use of hand held computers, technicians are able to identify necessary repairs or adjustments. Other tools used in the profession are hydraulics, power tools, welding equipment, jacks, and hand tools.
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics are usually employed by equipment distributors, construction companies, or local and Federal government. They work on bulldozers, cranes, graders, excavators, and other large machines.
Farm equipment mechanics typically work in repair shops. They maintain and repair tractors and other farm equipment. During planting or harvesting seasons, many technicians travel to farms to cut down on delays.
Railcar technicians work for railroad companies, transit companies, and railcar manufacturers. Their focus is on locomotives, subway trains, and streetcars.
A few employers offer on-the-job training to new employees. However, most prefer candidates who have completed a formal diesel mechanic school or a heavy equipment training program. Programs are offered by many community and vocational schools throughout the United States. Areas of study include hydraulics, electronics, and diagnostic strategies. The knowledge gained through these training programs assists technicians in reaching the journeyman (experienced) level more quickly. Many manufacturers also offer continuing education courses for technicians to learn more about new machines and the latest technologies.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers certification to qualified technicians. Certification requires two years of experience and a passing score on the chosen exam. Exams are given in a variety of fields, such as heavy-duty equipment repair or diesel engines. Certified technicians must retest every five years.
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics should be able to read and interpret service manuals. A high school background in auto repair, physics, chemistry, and math are beneficial. They are responsible for obtaining their own hand tools. The collection is enhanced as they acquire experience in the field.
Earnings and Advancement
Experienced technicians often become field technicians. These positions allow individuals to travel to customers and earn additional income. Those who display leadership qualities may advance to supervisory or management roles.
Earnings range from $11.00 to $25.00 an hour. Farm mechanics tend to earn a little less than this. Most belong to unions, working forty hours per week, earning additional pay for overtime.
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