What Does a Heavy Equipment Technician Do?

Dan Cavallari

A heavy equipment technician is a trained professional who can diagnose, troubleshoot, maintain, and repair pieces of heavy machinery. This professional will generally undergo a significant amount of job training, often in the form of an apprenticeship, though in some instances the heavy equipment technician must also earn a specific level of education. A college degree or certificate may be required in order to get some jobs, though in other cases the technician can learn the skills necessary to perform the job through an apprenticeship or job training program.

Troubleshooting, maintaining and repairing heavy machinery are all aspects of being a heavy equipment technician.
Troubleshooting, maintaining and repairing heavy machinery are all aspects of being a heavy equipment technician.

Knowledge of hydraulic systems, electronic systems, and combustion engines is generally required of the heavy equipment technician, since he or she will be required to diagnose these systems to keep heavy machines working properly. The heavy equipment technician may work in a specific location, but it is likely that he or she will be required to travel to various job sites to repair machinery. In some cases, the technician may be required to diagnose and repair a machine on a job site such as a construction site, mine site, or even on a farm. The tech will need to transport various tools for the job to the site and be ready and willing to do in-depth repairs.

A heavy equipment technician may need to perform repairs on site.
A heavy equipment technician may need to perform repairs on site.

A high school diploma or equivalent qualification is required in order to become a heavy equipment technician, and the tech will need to develop basic to moderate math and communications skills. He or she will need basic knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts as they relate to the machines as well. Training programs are available to allow a candidate to learn the skills necessary to become a heavy equipment technician; the requirements for admission in to such programs can vary, so it is best to research such requirements before attempting to enroll.

The job of the heavy equipment technician can be a dangerous one. Heavy machinery is often quite large and heavy, which means the tech will need to be in generally good health in order to perform basic services. The machinery must be powered down completely when working on a machine, though it may be necessary for the tech to run the engine or hydraulic system during diagnosis or troubleshooting. Moving parts increase the risk of injury, so the tech will need to adhere to all proper safety methods and guidelines to prevent injury to himself and others during the repair process.

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