- Can you lead teams of people?
- Are you a good listener who can give clear instructions and manage conflict?
- Are you strong and physically fit?
- Do you like precise work?
- Do you hold a construction trade ticket or have college or technical training in construction?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic could be right for you.
Heavy-duty equipment mechanics repair, troubleshoot, adjust, overhaul and maintain mobile heavy-duty construction equipment. Some mechanics in this occupation specialize in hydraulic-operated transmissions and attachments, drive trains, tracked vehicle suspensions and steering.
Heavy-duty equipment mechanics are employed by heavy equipment dealers, service companies and companies that own and operate heavy equipment.
As a Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic, your duties may include the following:
- Inspecting bulldozers, cranes, graders and other heavy construction equipment for proper performance, and inspect equipment to detect faults and malfunctions
- Diagnosing faults or malfunctions using computerized and other testing equipment to determine the extent of repair required
- Adjust equipment and repair or replace defective parts, components or systems using hand and power tools
- Testing repaired equipment for proper performance and to ensure that work meets manufacturers’ specifications
- Clean, lubricate and perform other routine maintenance work on equipment
- Service attachments and working tools such as blades, ploughs, winches and side booms
- May perform repair work on heavy trucks
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Heavy-duty equipment mechanics normally work on construction sites or in construction company maintenance facilities. They usually work full time, but hours can be flexible and they vary with the industry and the season. In addition, work may involve shifts, weekends and overtime.
Most of the time, heavy-duty equipment mechanics work on site. The work is physically demanding and involves heavy lifting. They often work with grease, oil, dirt and diesel fuel, and are exposed to fumes and noise.
Most employers expect mechanics to have their own tools.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Heavy-duty equipment mechanics are trained to work safely and take special precautions to protect against injury.
Training and Certification
Apprenticeship involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 60 per cent of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for heavy-duty equipment mechanic apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must have a Grade 12 education or equivalent to enter a heavy-duty equipment mechanic apprenticeship program.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic.
Apprenticeship training programs for heavy-duty equipment mechanics vary across Canada, but generally last four years and include at least 9,000 hours of on-the-job training, as well as technical training and a final certificate exam.
Related work experience or completion of a heavy-duty equipment mechanic program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is required in Alberta and Quebec, and is available but voluntary in all other provinces and territories. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended. Certification tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional. It also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as a Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic, you usually need to complete a three- to five-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.
You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have more than four years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses for heavy-duty equipment mechanics.
As a certified Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic you may write the Interprovincial Exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as a Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic anywhere in Canada.
To keep their skills current, Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics must keep up with new technologies by reading and speaking with others in their field.
Anticipated In-Demand Regions
- British Columbia
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