Heavy Vehicle Service Technicians and Mechanics
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
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
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.
Enjoys writing about career options such as a diesel mechanic or truck driver.