What Do Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Do?
Mobile heavy equipment is in use in all kinds of industries across the United States. The equipment ranges from large building cranes to logging equipment and underground drills. These specialized machines require mechanics who are well-versed in their specific inner workings, which are quite different from those of everyday automobiles or shop equipment.The field of mobile heavy equipment mechanics is growing at a rate of about 4,670 new jobs per year. This is equal to an increase of 10 percent over a 10-year period.
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Skills and Abilities
As a mobile heavy equipment mechanic, you’ll need good customer service skills. You will also need to be good at troubleshooting mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and at repairing machines in the field. You have to know how machines work and how to maintain them.
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Duties
Being a mechanic may sound relatively simple. However, you will have to perform many different tasks in order to maintain and repair mobile heavy equipment:
- Travelling to the location where the equipment is in use.
- Troubleshooting mechanical, pneumatic or electronic systems.
- Testing out equipment, including maneuvering vehicles and other devices.
- Testing equipment and diagnosing faults, sometimes using computerized testing devices.
- Dealing with all kinds of road, weather and working conditions.
- Maintaining high standards of safety and professionalism.
- Dismantling and reassembling heavy machinery.
- Closely examining equipment elements using gauges, calipers and micrometers.
- Scheduling regular maintenance to keep equipment in good working condition.
- Ordering parts.
- Maintaining inventory.
- Maintaining equipment and adjusting it for maximum efficiency, and keeping accurate service logs.
- Performing system alignments.
- Cleaning and lubricating parts, tools and equipment.
- Assembling components.
- Fabricating components from sheet metal and other raw materials.
- Overseeing and directing the work of others.
- Instructing and overseeing interns and trainees.
- Inspecting work after it is completed.
- Instructing operators on basic maintenance and troubleshooting.
- Welding and soldering.
- Reading and working from technical manuals, drawings and blueprints.
- Replacing damaged parts.
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Tools and Technology
When working on heavy equipment, you’ll most likely use pneumatic tools, such as impact wrenches, along with hand tools, like pliers, punches, wrenches and screwdrivers. You’ll use solvent-based parts cleaners to degrease parts. You’ll also use some sort of project management or maintenance management software, and database or recordkeeping software.
Education and Training for Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Most heavy equipment mechanics only need a high school diploma to start. Once you’ve been hired, you can expect a long period of on-the-job training. If you want to take classes to give you a head start, consider programs in agricultural mechanics and equipment or in heavy equipment maintenance technology.
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Salary
The majority of heavy equipment mechanics earn between $31,800 and $69,000 per year, which works out to $15.28 to $33.17 per hour. The middle-range salary is $47,600 per year, or $22.88 per hour nationwide.
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics Jobs by Geography
Of the approximately 120,000 mobile heavy equipment mechanics in the United States, over 14,000 are employed in Texas and around 11,000 work in California. Guam, Florida and Texas each expect an increase of over 20 percent in the heavy equipment workforce. At over $60,000 per year, Alaska, Nevada and Hawaii are the states with the highest median wages in this employment category. When you’re looking for a job as a mobile heavy equipment mechanic, think about which states have the highest demand as well as which states have the highest expected wage. If you are just starting out, you might consider going where the greatest need exists in the field. You can always go elsewhere in search of higher pay once you’ve gained experience.