Heavy-duty equipment mechanics (NOC 7312)

Minimum education: Diploma, Certificate or Apprenticeship Training

  • Average salary
    65.7%
  • Occupation size
    85.0%
  • Job stability
    22.0%
  • Demand growth
    23.0%
  • Below Average
  • Excellent

Profile last updated: August 31, 2016

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01 Overview

Heavy-duty equipment mechanics repair, troubleshoot, adjust, overhaul and maintain mobile heavy-duty equipment used in transportation, construction, forestry, manufacturing, farming, mining, oil, gas, material handling, landscaping, land clearing and similar activities.

People in this occupation:

  • work for companies that own and operate heavy equipment, and for heavy equipment dealers, rental and service establishments, railway transport companies and urban transit systems
  • must be comfortable working with delicate electronics as well as heavy, cumbersome mechanical linkages (i.e., bulldozer tracks), since heavy equipment also involves the use of micro-processor controls and high pressure hydraulics
  • have troubleshooting and problem-solving skills
  • have mechanical ability and pay close attention to detail

02 Earnings

Provincial median salary

$62,568

Source: Estimated median employment income based on 2015 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • $18.00/hr
    Low
  • $30.00/hr
    Median
  • $40.00/hr
    High

03 Duties

Heavy-duty equipment mechanics perform some or all of the following duties:

  • check bulldozers, cranes, graders and other heavy construction, agricultural, logging and mining equipment for proper performance and inspect equipment for faults and malfunctions
  • diagnose faults or malfunctions using computerized and other testing equipment
  • adjust equipment and repair or replace defective parts, components or systems using hand and power tools
  • test repaired equipment for proper performance and make sure that work meets manufacturer specifications
  • clean, lubricate and perform other routine maintenance work on equipment
  • service attachments such as harvesting and tillage equipment, blades, ploughs, winches and side booms
  • may perform repair work on heavy trucks
  • may attach components and adjust new equipment

04 Work environment

Heavy-duty equipment mechanics generally work a regular work week. However, overtime and extended hours are common when working to a deadline or if repairs to a critical piece of equipment are required. Some jobs require temporary relocation to remote work sites.

Some mechanics work outdoors at construction, mining and logging sites, where they are exposed to weather, and others work indoors in workshops and production plants. Work sites can be dirty, dusty and noisy, and weather conditions may vary.

Heavy-duty equipment mechanics are required to lift heavy parts and tools, handle greasy, dirty parts and stand and lie in awkward positions. Working around heavy machinery poses a hazard and mechanics take safety precautions to protect themselves from injury.

05 Workforce and employment statistics

Workforce characteristics

6,600 workers are employed
64 % of workers are working mostly full time

Employment by gender

Labour force by age group

Source: 2011 National Household Survey

06 Job requirements

Education, training and qualifications

Completion of secondary school is generally required to work as a heavy-duty equipment mechanic. While not mandatory in B.C., certification or apprenticeship can offer more well-rounded training and will increase employment opportunities, as few employers will hire a heavy-duty equipment mechanic without certification. To be eligible for certification by the Industry Training Authority:

  • mechanics must complete a four-year apprenticeship program (or a combination of more than four years work experience in the trade and some college or industry courses)
  • workers must find a sponsor employer who is willing to participate in the program

Heavy-duty equipment mechanics are eligible for Interprovincial Standard Endorsement (Red Seal) qualification through the Industry Training Authority. This allows holders to work in any province or territory. Once individuals pass the final examination of their accredited training program, they will achieve certification and will automatically receive Red Seal qualification.

Workers with 9,000 hours of documented, directly related work experience can challenge the Interprovincial Red Seal examination. For more information, please see the Industry Training Authority website at www.itabc.ca.

Workers already licensed or certified in another province or territory in a provincially regulated occupation will have their credentials recognized in B.C. For more detailed information, contact the provincial regulator. A list of provincial regulators can be found at www.tilma.ca/pdf/BCRegulatoryAuthorities.pdf

For program information on public post-secondary education in B.C., please see the Education Planner website at www.educationplanner.ca.

07 Subject Areas & Training Resources

Education Planner

www.educationplanner.ca

Trades/Apprenticeship Resources

Industry Training Authority

www.itabc.ca

Trades Training BC

www.tradestrainingbc.ca

ACE-IT

www.itabc.ca/youth/programs#ace-it

Discover Skills BC

www.discoverskillsbc.ca

08 Career paths

Heavy-duty equipment mechanics may choose to specialize in specific types of machinery such as combines or tracked vehicles, or in diesel engines, power shift transmissions, fuel injection, hydraulics or electronics.

With experience, these workers may advance to senior positions, such as supervisor or service manager, or they may open their own businesses.

09Employment outlook

N/A - Data not available or not provided due to data quality issues

Provincial Outlook:

Unemployment rate

  • 7.3%
    2015
  • 6.7%
    2020
  • 6.3%
    2025

Job openings

  • 400
    2015
  • 320
    2020
  • 230
    2025

10 Insights from industry

Due to the large size of this occupational group, a significant number of jobs will become available due to worker turnover. Demand for heavy-duty equipment mechanics is driven by activity in a wide variety of industries, such as Transportation, Mining, Oil and Gas Extraction, and Construction. This broad employment base helps to vary the work opportunities for these workers.

Technological advances, such as the growing use of diagnostic computers, are making heavy-duty mechanics more efficient and reducing the number of workers required to do the same volume of work. As equipment becomes increasingly sophisticated, heavy-duty equipment mechanics with up-to-date electronics training are expected to be in greatest demand.

With the trucking industry increasingly moving towards new technology to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of diesel engines, heavy-duty equipment mechanics with skill in this area should have an advantage in finding work.

11 In their own words

My Career Path

1.  How did you get started in this job?

Before this I was in the printing business in a large city. I was looking for a lifestyle change and this suited me. I've been around boats all my life. I built my first boat when I was 14 years old. I took some courses to get a better handle on the mechanical end of it.

2.  If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

I've enjoyed it. It has its tough times, though, like the 90s. And the marina is a seasonal business, so winter can be quiet. We do some repowers and rebuilds in the winter and counterbalance the quiet period by dealing with small equipment.

3.  What would you say to someone starting out in this career today?

I would recommend it. You meet lots of people, especially with the marine aspect of it. I recommend getting into an apprenticeship first, and a lot of suppliers offer courses that are specific to their equipment.

4.  Where do you see yourself going with this job in the future?

I'd like to retire soon and pass on the ropes to someone younger. This business has a lot of possibilities for expansion. You could get into boat hauling or the used boat market.

5.  What are some of the main forces of change in the industry right now? How will those affect you?

Fixing diesel engines still involves basically the same principles and having a good handle on those is important. The diagnostic tools are changing, though, so you need to learn about computers and electronics.

A typical workday

8:00 am I never know what I'll get into each day. Today I start with a diesel engine that needs regular servicing. I check all the systems, go over the fuel and cooling systems and change the oil filters.
11:00 am I check the turbo charger on an engine for a customer down in the U.S. He keeps the boat here and wants it ready for his visit next week.
3:00 pm I do some regular servicing on a local water taxi. The company also has contracts to service the RCMP boats, Hydro boats and fishing vessels. Our other customers are private boaters who live in the area and in other places such as Germany, Switzerland and the States.
4:30 pm I spend the end of the day making phone calls and ordering supplies.

 

12 Additional resources