Heavy equipment mechanics and technicians repair and maintain large industrial vehicles like forklifts, cranes, and bulldozers. There are some formal education options to learn heavy equipment mechanics and some apprenticeship job programs. Those seeking a career as a heavy equipment mechanic should find out about training opportunities in their area.
Although it is possible to get a job as a heavy equipment technician without formal training, this would not be the best route for starting a career. Those who are hired without formal training will often already have significant skills and experience as a mechanic and will be selected on that basis despite the lack of formal training. But for most applicants, mechanic training is required.
In some cases, you may be able to join an apprenticeship program to get training for heavy equipment mechanics. An example of this is the program administered by the Oregon Apprenticeship and Training Division. This government agency coordinates apprenticeships for a variety of occupations. If you become a heavy equipment mechanic apprentice, you will learn on the job from an experienced technician and generally have the chance for a job after successful completion of the apprenticeship program.
If you do not live in Oregon, you should still check in your own state for the existence of similar apprenticeship programs. This would be one of the best ways to get training for and qualify for jobs as a heavy equipment mechanic. However, slots are limited and may be very competitive.
Penn Foster does have a Heavy Equipment Mechanic training program. However, this is geared toward employers who are seeking to teach their technician employees on the skills necessary to repair and maintain heavy equipment and vehicles.
Some technical schools and colleges also teach heavy equipment mechanics. An example is Bates Technical College. This is a 2-year degree or certificate program. As of September 2011, the total tuition and fees were about $4,500, and books and supplies ran at about $2,500. Of course, educational fees for heavy equipment technology training programs will vary from school to school.
In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics did a study and found that there were about 190,000 heavy equipment mechanics in the United States. These included about 136,000 mobile heavy equipment mechanics, 31,000 farm equipment mechanics, and 23,000 railcar repairers. Jobs are typically found in large repair centers or with wholesalers of the equipment, who also provide technician teams for when the equipment needs repairs or regular maintenance. The federal and local governments also hire a few thousand mobile heavy equipment mechanics. Finally, construction companies hire some mechanics for repairs needed as part of the construction projects.
Oregon Apprenticeship and Training Division: Heavy Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Details
Penn Foster Workforce Development: Heavy Equipment Mechanic Training Program
Bates Technical College Heavy Equipment Technician Degree and Certificate Programs