The Heavy Equipment Technician. How To Become One.
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The Heavy Equipment Technician – What Is It And How To Become One.

Heavy equipment, whether it is a construction vehicle, large fixed generator or other system, is vital to much of the world’s modern industrial economy.

In addition, this equipment often has a wide range of specific maintenance requirements that demand specialized repair and maintenance technicians in order to ensure that the equipment remains in proper working condition.

For this reason, heavy equipment technicians are finding themselves in growing demand not just in America, but all over the world.

This is especially true given the current boom in construction and resource extraction operations that is occurring all over the world.

Heavy Equipment Technicians in America

heavy equipment tech

As of 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that there were over 176,000 heavy equipment technician jobs in America.

This number is expected to grow to over 192,000 by 2022.

This job growth rate is roughly average for all American professions. However, retirements and other sources of attrition will result in more job openings than would be produced due to simple job growth.

Currently, the BLS estimates that the annual median wage for heavy equipment technicians in America is over $43,000, while the top 10 percent earn over $63,000.

It should be noted that salary rates can vary widely due to the variety of specific job openings available to heavy equipment technicians. In addition, many technicians enjoy excellent benefits, ranging from paid vacation time to generous individual and family health insurance.

Finally, because many technicians work with their employer on a long-term basis, many of these individuals can also take advantage of generous retirement packages.

Heavy Equipment Technicians in the Rest of the World

Heavy equipment technicians are valued across the world. Whether it is working in a remote oil field or as part of a construction team in a major city, every nation has a growing need for skilled repair technicians.

This is especially true in the developing world, which is experiencing a dramatic surge in economic growth. In many cases, multinational corporations may recruit American technicians in order to work abroad, while many foreign businesses are willing to hire skilled employees regardless of their nationality.

For this reason, individuals who are interested in traveling while also earning a living should seriously consider seeking employment in a foreign nation.

Becoming a Heavy Equipment Technician

Although on the job training was common in the past, the increasing complexity of modern heavy equipment has resulted in most employers preferring to hire technicians who have obtained a formal education.

In general, this education is obtained via a specific program after the candidate has graduated from high school or obtained an equivalency degree.

Heavy Equipment Technician Programs

Technicians are generally trained through a specialized program focusing on providing a basic grounding in repair technology as well as specific training regarding heavy equipment. In some cases, a program may be specialized, for example a program focusing on the repair and maintenance of locomotives.

Many programs take approximately one year for a full time student to complete and confer a certificate upon the student’s successful completion of these programs.

Community college programs generally take about two years for a full-time student to complete and offer an associate’s degree upon the student’s graduation.

Many programs offer part-time and distance learning options to accommodate those students who cannot attend on a traditional full-time schedule.

The Advantage of an Associate’s Degree

When considering what type of program to enter, it is important to remember that an associate’s degree can be very useful for those individuals who are intending to continue their education.

Associate’s degrees conferred by accredited institutions can provide credits that will be accepted by four-year colleges. For this reason, anyone who is considering obtaining a bachelor’s degree should obtain his or her training from a community college.

Specialty Courses

In addition to general programs in this field, there are specialty training programs focusing on specific types of equipment or repair techniques.

In many cases, these programs are offered by the manufacturer in order to ensure that those technicians assigned to repair their products will be fully trained.

Although obtaining a specific course certification is not required, it will improve the individual’s ability to obtain employment. In some cases, a company may require that its employees be certified on various types of equipment.

Depending on the company, it may directly provide the specialty training or allow the employee to obtain training from a third party.

Individual Employment Options

Because heavy equipment is such a wide category, there are a vast number of employment options for individuals in this field. Some of the most common include the following:

Railroad Equipment

Locomotives, railroad switching equipment, cargo and passenger cars and other systems require continual maintenance.

Because malfunctions can easily lead to serious accidents, most railroads engage in a continual program of preventative maintenance. For this reason, railroad maintenance engineers are highly respected professionals in this field.

In addition, rail transport systems are very common in foreign nations, many of which have a larger rail transport sector than America. In many cases, qualified American Heavy equipment technicians can find viable employment in this sector, either for the purposes of constructing or maintaining a rail network.

Construction Equipment

Construction equipment is very common and generally requires on site repair services due to its size and weight.

This type of equipment is also used in roles such as earth moving for waste disposal sites. Qualified mechanics are often sent out to where the equipment is operating, although there are also job opportunities for those individuals interested in working at a central maintenance depot.

Mining Equipment

Mining and oil extraction equipment usually requires a great deal of maintenance due to the harsh operating conditions most mineral and petroleum extraction operations experience.

In addition, many of these sites are located in remote regions that make it difficult or impossible to transport heavy equipment back to a central repair location.

For this reason, individuals who are willing to live and work at a remote site often enjoy better than average wages, making this field very attractive for individuals who are willing to accept a prolonged period of separation from their family and friends.

However, many of these sites include provisions for Internet connections and other methods of remaining in contact with family members.

Other fields that make use of heavy equipment technicians include ocean engineering, disaster relief operations and road construction and repair.

For this reason, individuals interested in this field can almost always find a job opportunity that suits their personal needs and interests.

When combined with the wage-earning potential of this field, it is plain that becoming a heavy equipment technician can be an excellent choice, both for those individuals who are just entering the job market and older individuals seeking out a more rewarding career.

In addition to the financial benefits, this field can be a very satisfying one for anyone who enjoys working on heavy equipment, coupled with abundant opportunities for professional advancement.

Especially in today’s economy, becoming a heavy equipment technician can be an excellent choice.

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