How to become a heavy equipment mechanic in the United States
Are you thinking of becoming a heavy equipment mechanic in the USA? Well, it is the one industry that is always booming. They specialize in handling heavy machinery in various fields like mining, railroads, and construction. Furthermore, their duties include but are not limited to cleaning, lubricating, inspecting, and assisting other mechanics. Also, they must be able to inspect, overhaul, and troubleshoot the machines on-site and off-site.
To choose a heavy equipment mechanic career, you must be certified with relevant degrees and courses. Also, training of at least two years with skills in welding, overhauling, and driving are a plus that can help you score a job much more manageable.
What is a Heavy Equipment Mechanic?
A heavy equipment mechanic is a mechanic that focuses on the maintenance and repair of large vehicles and machinery used in industries such as construction, agriculture, and rail transportation. They get to work with huge motors, inspecting, servicing, and fixing any problems that may arise.
To fulfill your role as a mechanic, you will be required to drive to the job site, examine engines and equipment, perform services, make repairs, and do routine maintenance on the construction fleet.
Finally, to be an excellent heavy equipment mechanic, you need to understand all the heavy machines and equipment on the site.
Education and Training Requirements
To become a heavy equipment mechanic in the USA, you must have a high school diploma or a GED (equivalency certificate). Also, having a post degree in mechanical engineering and a few years of training is a plus.
Furthermore, you will require hands-on experience of 2 to 5 years working with heavy machinery – mainly serious equipment repair. And in most cases, the employer will ask you to have a valid driving license because you will be driving to different sites while on the job. It’s a good idea to have a class A CDL. You will be worth more to your potential employer. How much does a Heavy Equipment Mechanic make, and what career opportunities?
The first thing about salaries in the USA is that they increase with experience and expertise. And that can only happen if you work long enough. The average wage for a heavy equipment mechanic in the USA is 26USD per hour. Some mechanics make over 100k a year like the rest of the trades. Also, it varies significantly from state to state, but an average annual number would be around 60k USD. For instance, Oakland, CA, pays the highest average pay of 65k USD in the USA.
Lastly, the good news is that the unemployment rate for heavy equipment mechanics has decreased significantly from 7% to 2% in the last ten years. If you choose this career, you will likely land a good job.
The Different types of Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Heavy equipment mechanics have different classes and trades like any other career and field. Some of them are:
Construction equipment mechanic.
They specialize in fixing and troubleshooting the machinery used in construction fields. Such machines include loaders, graders, excavators, bulldozers, etc.
They need to ensure and maintain all the heavy equipment and machines and keep them in excellent condition. Mainly, they are designated in buildings and similar sites.
Diesel runs most heavy equipment, and diesel mechanics are responsible for diesel-powered transports and machinery.
The Pros and Cons
- Minimum paperwork responsibilities.
- They can split shifts with their colleagues.
- May be eligible for overtime pay.
- A colossal job market with a minimum unemployment ratio of only 2%.
- Interesting work.
- Decent salaries.
- Good health care plan.
- Unexpected site calls.
- More physical effort.
- Safety concerns.
- High responsibilities – the whole site depends on you in case of a malfunction.
- Messy work.
- Long hours.
- I am keeping up with advances in technology.
- You need to keep a good reputation when your experience starts growing.
Do I need to become an expert in all heavy machinery to become a heavy equipment mechanic?
No, you don’t, and you cannot. There are so many machines and numerous models that you cannot hope to be an expert in all of them.
However, you must understand all engines and primary machine parts before diving into construction or any other heavy machinery field. Finally, when you are in a lot, it is time to become an expert on the company’s available machinery.
How many courses do I have to complete to become a heavy equipment mechanic?
You only need a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate to start. Also, having an extra degree in engineering or a relevant field may help you score a job faster.
Can I become a heavy equipment mechanic without a college degree?
Yes, you can become a heavy equipment mechanic with only a high school diploma. However, having a college degree or trade school certificate can land you a job sooner, and you may be promoted to senior positions after a few years in the field. Naturally, you will earn far more.
Being a heavy equipment mechanic is an easy job or difficult?
Well, no job is easier if you lack interest. Similarly, no job is difficult if you are interested in it. Generally, it is considered a medium-difficult job with more physical labor.
Suppose you are thinking of becoming a heavy equipment mechanic in the USA. It is getting it as early as possible; going to a mechanical trade school for six weeks may be a good option if you have no previous mechanical experience. Also, you must be ready to do some physical labor work.
Finally, the salaries in this field are good and getting better. If you want to learn more, check out our 6 steps here