Farm equipment mechanics service, maintain, and repair a wide variety of equipment, from larger vehicles used on farms to small lawn and garden vehicles operated by rural or suburban residents. Because of the increase in the complexity of farm vehicles, farm owners have begun to hire specialized technicians employed by farm equipment dealers for their service needs. Farm equipment mechanics usually work on equipment that is brought to the shop, although sometimes they make emergency trips out to farms. They perform routine maintenance on engines, as well as fuel, brake, and transmission systems to maximize performance and ensure safety. They often work with hydraulic systems, repairing fluid leaks and occasionally replacing components. They also diagnose electrical problems, disassemble and repair undercarriages and track assemblies, and sometimes weld frames and structural parts.
Employers usually look for candidates who are at least 18 years of age, in good physical condition, and who have an aptitude for mechanical work and problem-solving. Farm equipment mechanics need to be flexible, because they are constantly required to adapt to new technologies and to the needs of customers. They must also have the ability to read and interpret various types of complex service manuals.
In 2002, farm equipment mechanics earned a median hourly wage of $13.03. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $8.73, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $18.86.
Training and Education
Although many people become farm equipment mechanics by completing on-the-job training, it is highly recommended that candidates obtain some kind of formal education because that is what employers prefer. Community colleges, trade schools, and vocational schools all offer formal training programs from 6-month certifications to 2-year associate degrees. Some tailor their programs to farm equipment mechanics. These types of programs provide graduates with knowledge of the latest technologies and the ability to interpret complex technical manuals. Often, experienced employees will be sent by their employers to special training classes organized by manufacturers and vendors. In these classes, workers are given the chance to update their skills and familiarize themselves with the latest technology and repair techniques. You can check out a list of Diesel Mechanic Schools by clicking on this link.
In 2002, farm equipment mechanics held about 35,000 jobs. They represented one of the smallest percentages of the total of 176,000 jobs in the total heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics category.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of farm equipment mechanics is expected to increase more slowly than the average. Job openings are expected to come from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the work force for other reasons. The winter season is usually slow for this industry, making employment demand lower than during the other seasons. Employers have reported difficulty locating and hiring employees with a formal education. This is because many young people with the relevant training opt for jobs that offer more openings and areas in which to work, such as automotive service technicians, diesel service technicians, or industrial machinery repairers. As a result, for those seeking jobs as farm equipment mechanics, and who have formal education in this field, opportunity will be very good.