How Do I Become a Heavy Equipment Technician?

Dan Cavallari

In order to become a heavy equipment technician, you will first need to do some research to find out what the typical job duties are like. These technicians may work long hours on complex jobs, and it is likely that the technician will need to travel to job sites to complete work in all sorts of weather conditions. The job is difficult, but it can be quite rewarding. The first step you must take if you want to become a heavy equipment technician is to finish high school or an equivalent qualification. Along the way, you will need to develop moderate math and communications skills, as well as a basic understanding of some scientific concepts.

Heavy equipment technicians typically need a certificate in heavy equipment maintenance and repair.
Heavy equipment technicians typically need a certificate in heavy equipment maintenance and repair.

Once you graduate from high school, you have a few options that will allow you to become a heavy equipment technician. You can enroll at a technical or vocational school that offers a one or two year certification in heavy equipment maintenance and repair; such coursework will give you the general skills necessary to work on various types of heavy machinery, especially diesel machines. Once you complete the certificate program, you will have an easier time finding an apprenticeship that will allow you to become a heavy equipment technician down the road.

Of course, you can also take part in shop classes in high school, or get a job as a mechanic or mechanic's apprentice at an automobile shop in preparation for a career as a heavy equipment technician. Either way, it is likely you will need to secure an apprenticeship that will allow you to work full-time while you learn the necessary skills to become a heavy equipment technician. An apprenticeship can last anywhere from one to five years, during which time you will work with more experienced heavy equipment techs who will teach you the necessary skills to be successful in the field. You will also need to complete various certifications and licensing exams during this period.

Make yourself a more valuable job candidate by earning relevant certificates or licenses you will need as a heavy equipment technician. You can, for example, earn a commercial driver's license with the appropriate endorsements to make you a more valuable job candidate. You can also gain experience by working on diesel engines yourself, working in a construction setting, or otherwise making yourself familiar with various pieces of heavy equipment you are likely to encounter once you become a heavy equipment technician.

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