become a heavy vehicle service technician

What does a Heavy Vehicle Technician do?

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A heavy vehicle service technician will inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery. They mainly work with equipment used for farming, construction, and rail transportation. Service technicians typically work in repair shops though some may work outdoors as well. Their job may be physically demanding as a technician lifts heavy tools and parts and may have to place themselves in awkward positions to get to parts.

Watch a video to learn what a heavy vehicle technician does:

How to Become a Heavy Vehicle Service Technician

become a heavy vehicle service technician

Heavy vehicle service technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. If still in high school, courses in welding, automotive repair, physics, and electronics can help prepare you for this career. Because of technology and computerized components in machines today, employers often prefer a service technician who has completed a formal training program that included computerized and sophisticated technology in vehicle equipment.

Vocational or post-secondary training programs in diesel technology or heavy equipment mechanics are currently regarded as the best preparation for entry-level jobs. The programs offered by community colleges or trade schools cover the basics of electronics, diagnostic techniques, and other related subjects. The programs normally last 1-2 years and lead to certificates of completion or an associate’s degree.

Job Description of a Heavy Vehicle Service Technician

The duties of a heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician typically include consulting equipment operating manuals, drawings, and blueprints. They clean and lubricate parts for scheduled maintenance. He or she identifies and diagnose malfunctions and inspect, repair, and replace worn or defective parts like gears, pistons, and bearings. They would have the job of testing and overhauling major components, like electrical systems, engines, and hydraulics.

A heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician disassembles and reassembles heavy components and equipment. They travel to worksites to perform repairs on large equipment like bulldozers and cranes. They maintain records or logs of work performed and equipment condition.

Heavy Vehicle Service Technician Career Video Transcript

Keeping the country’s transportation and heavy equipment in motion takes a lot of horsepower… and a crew of highly-skilled technicians and mechanics. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians, inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, railways, and road transportation. Diesel service technicians and mechanics service buses and trucks, or repair any type of diesel engine.
Many work for trucking companies, wholesale trade firms, and government agencies.

Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians repair farm equipment as well as smaller lawn and garden tractors. Most work for dealer repair shops, with seasonal variation in job duties. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics maintain construction and surface mining equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, graders, and excavators. Most work for government, equipment rental shops, and large construction and mining companies. Rail car repairers keep railroad locomotives, subway cars, and other rolling stock in good repair. They usually work for railroad, public and private transit companies, and for manufacturers.

These technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, handle greasy and dirty equipment, and work in awkward positions. While many work indoors in repair shops, some specialize in field service and travel to worksites that may be outdoors, in all types of weather. Service technicians generally work full time, sometimes including evenings or weekends. Overtime is common. Most service technicians have a high school education. Formal training and certificates are increasingly preferred by employers. Certificates usually take 1 to 2 years to earn. Once hired, trainees usually reach full qualification after 3 to 4 years.

Career Satisfaction

If you like working with your hands, this career will have you working with tools and equipment during most a person’s working hours. That’s a positive point for many people that enjoy mechanics and fixing things. This career however, can also put a person in a cramped workspace and potentially expose a person to hazardous materials. Wearing protective gear and using safety equipment is vital.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians.

National Center for O*NET Development. 49-3042.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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