If you’re a detail-oriented person who likes to get your hands dirty while repairing things, especially powerful heavy-duty tools and machines, becoming a heavy equipment service technician job may be a great fit for you. Also called heavy diesel equipment mechanics, they spend their days around large service and industrial machines, ensuring that they operate safely. Keep reading to learn more about their duties and responsibilities.
What Is a Heavy Equipment Service Technician?
An important part of confirming the smooth operation of machines and the safety of heavy equipment operators, heavy equipment service technicians and mechanics play a key role in multiple job sectors, including construction, farming and transportation. This job requires you to diagnose issues with equipment, service appliances based on manufacturer specifications and repair any mechanical, hydraulic or structural systems issues you find.
Equipment Field Service Technician Responsibilities
What are the duties of a diesel equipment mechanic? Holding an important role in careers involving the use of heavy equipment, heavy diesel equipment mechanics have many duties and responsibilities to maintain a work environment with safe and operating equipment. Some of the more specific major tasks of the job include:
1. Traveling Between Work Sites
One of the major differences between servicing smaller equipment and heavy machinery is that customers can bring smaller machinery to you. That’s not always possible with heavy equipment. Therefore, you need to have reliable transportation to and from job sites to repair large equipment. While many technicians work for companies that specialize in heavy machinery, you may end up working for a smaller business that requires you to respond to calls on your own.
2. Performing Scheduled Inspections for Planned Maintenance
It’s important for you to know common issues or recalls on heavy equipment, such as trucks, bulldozers, forklifts and cranes, so you can check specific parts during routine servicing. This includes cleaning and lubricating parts to ensure smooth operation, replacing parts and calibrating components. Almost all pieces of heavy machinery will be on a routine maintenance schedule. According to the schedule, you’ll inspect and repair machines and equipment as they come into the shop.
Practicing planned maintenance is crucial because it can help prevent an accident from occurring, which could result in you saving someone from bodily injury or stopping damage that may otherwise occur.
3. Conducting Emergency Evaluations of Malfunctioning Machines
If a company or person experiences issues with their heavy equipment, you’re the person they’ll ask to diagnose and fix the machine’s problem. Therefore, you should know how to perform planned maintenance, understand in-depth how the equipment works and comprehend the diagnostic process of figuring out the issue so you can make the repair.
This may sometimes require you to diagnose malfunctions using computerized equipment or test major components, such as engines and hydraulic and electrical systems. Being able to tackle emergency repairs with quickness and precision will ensure the client gets their equipment back in a timely manner. As a result, you help them stay on schedule.
4. Working With a Range of Tools
Because you’ll service a variety of machines and equipment, you’ll need to use various tools, including both hand tools and power tools, to access and fix different parts of the machinery. Some tools you may work with regularly include wrenches, screw extractors, grease guns, vice grips and flame cutters. Understanding how to safely operate these tools is a must for all technicians.
In some cases, you may need to learn how to handle special tools to make repairs on unique machinery. Being able to readily adapt to various situations is crucial for a diesel equipment mechanic to be as successful as possible.
5. Consulting Equipment Operating Manuals
Working as a heavy equipment repair technician may require you to read and understand blueprints, instructional manuals and technical sketches for you to properly maintain and fix any issues with the machinery. Because equipment must comply with manufacturer standards, you must know how the equipment functions and all the parts necessary for it to work the way the manufacturer intended.
6. Operating Heavy Machinery
As part of the diagnostic process for you to determine any problems with the equipment, it may be necessary for you to operate the equipment before you can decide where the issue lies. Then, after fixing the issue, you must test the repaired equipment to make sure you’ve done the proper work on it. That being said, you must know proper safety procedures and have adequate training before operating any heavy equipment.
7. Knowing Safety Procedures and Health Protocols
Any job where you work with power tools or operate heavy machinery has a variety of risks. On top of knowing safety procedures for operating tools and heavy equipment and having training on what to do during an emergency, you must abide by health protocols, specifically any regulations outlined for mechanics by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Because servicing heavy equipment may force you to be in an environment that involves hazardous materials and pollutants, you should understand when you need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and know how to dispose of any waste materials. Ensure you’re following all guidelines to keep yourself safe while working.
8. Maintaining Logs of Equipment Condition and Work Performed
This aspect of the job is important for many reasons. It’s necessary to track any repairs or services you complete so you can properly bill customers. Additionally, maintaining logs helps ensure you have a record of following safety protocols. This proof allows you and your customer to track what work you do on the machine, the cost of the service and when it may need attention in the future.
Equipment Service Technician Qualifications
While there are a variety of skills necessary to be a successful heavy equipment service technician, many of the abilities you need are ones you can sharpen and hone in on with no extensive education. Some traits needed to be a heavy equipment mechanic are an interest in machines, problem-solving and troubleshooting skills, physical strength and stamina, good hand-eye coordination and dexterity, mathematical knowledge and mechanical aptitude. However, the passion for and knowledge of mechanics and machinery is a must to advance your career in heavy equipment servicing.
The minimum educational requirement for most heavy equipment service technician jobs is a high school diploma or its equivalent. In fact, 44% of heavy equipment technicians have no additional education extending past receiving their high school diploma or equivalent. Any high school level courses that explore automotive repair, physics and electronics serve as strong foundations for heavy equipment maintenance.
If you want to strengthen your skills and expand your knowledge before committing to this career path, technical schools and community colleges often offer courses that explain diagnostics, welding, electronics and manufacturing. Consider taking individual foundational courses to learn the skills you need for a particular job. Alternatively, you can decide to take certificate programs or a course load that results in an associate’s degree.
Approximately 5.9% of heavy equipment service technicians have certificate training, while almost 35% have associate’s degrees. Often, certificate programs teach the principles of heavy engine rebuilding, hydraulics, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) business training and industrial safety. Typically taking two years, associate’s degree programs may have you take courses that emphasize mathematics, communications, applied sciences and other common core subjects.
Although you have different options for the type of education or training you receive before heading out into the job field, licensing requirements vary by state and individual company policy. Some manufacturers and specific equipment may require you to receive an operator’s license. Similarly, some employers may ask for you to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in addition to your standard driver’s license.
However, most entry-level heavy diesel equipment mechanic jobs require only basic knowledge of the field with no formal background in heavy vehicle repair. Many employers ensure workers receive on-the-job training, working under veterans of the trade until they’re confident and deemed ready to perform routine maintenance and repairs on their own.
Diesel Equipment Service Technician Job Outlook and Pay
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 220,800 heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician jobs in 2020. Based on this number, they project an 11% growth in the field between 2020 and 2030, meaning there will be a 24,300 difference in the employment rate between now and 2030.
This growth rate is 3% faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, meaning heavy vehicle service technician jobs are a solid future prospect with career availability. As of May 2020, the BLS notes that the average annual wage for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics was $53,370, almost a $2,000 increase from the median wage in 2019. This means the current hourly wage of the average heavy diesel equipment mechanic is over $26.
The number of employment opportunities and average annual and hourly wages vary from state to state. For example, as of May 2020, the state of California had the second-highest number of employees in mobile heavy equipment mechanics — excluding engines — at 14,030 jobs. As one of the top five paying states for this field, California has an average hourly wage of over $32, making the annual wage around $67,750.
Learn About Heavy Equipment Service Technician Jobs at Holt
Whether you’re an experienced heavy equipment service technician or you’re new to the career field, Holt of California has various job options for you. As the leading equipment and technology solutions provider for customers across central California, we’re a constantly growing company looking for employees to grow with us. If you have a newly found interest in the field and limited experience with maintenance services but are interested in field technician jobs, welding or becoming a machinist, we offer jobs at every level to help you grow.
Start as a utility person who works in our shops, assisting technicians and learning more about the general trade. From there, you can move through one of our Apprenticeship Programs, which can lead you to an experienced technician job. Valuing employee growth and mentorship, Holt of California always tries to promote from within, offering you many opportunities to expand your career.
As a service technician at Holt of California, you’ll receive proper training to help customers with all of their needs, ranging from installation and repairs on construction equipment to diesel engines. More general jobs at Holt of California include equipment sales, which rely on strong customer relationships and knowledge to make product recommendations, administrative roles for those skilled in finance, human resources and marketing and parts jobs that provide expert recommendations to customers and ordering assistance for a range of machinery.
Apply Online Today
At Holt of California, working with us comes with a variety of benefits. With many of our employees having over 10 years of experience with us, we pride ourselves in our positive atmosphere, energetic work environment and the chance to help other people. Some benefits we have that you can take advantage of by working with us include competitive pay and an employee benefits package, upward mobility to grow and achieve your goals, advanced training and professional mentorships.
Check out our current job postings at Holt of California to see what matches your interests. Our listings include everything from entry-level positions to advanced service technician jobs at all three of our companies — Holt of California, Holt AG Solutions and SITECH West. More specifically, some of the current heavy equipment service technician openings you can apply for today include rental equipment yard technician positions, field service technician and trainee opportunities, multiple technician/heavy equipment mechanic listings, and warehouse jobs.
If you are interested in heavy equipment and machinery and any of these opportunities sound like the right career path for you, apply directly to one of our open positions or fill out our contact form today to learn more about starting a career here at Holt of California.