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Jobs Outlook: Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians and Mechanics
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Opportunities for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics should be good for those who have completed formal training programs in diesel or heavy equipment mechanics. Persons without formal training are expected to encounter growing difficulty entering these jobs.
Employment of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow slower than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Most job openings will arise from the need to replace experienced repairers who retire. Employers report difficulty finding candidates with formal postsecondary training to fill available service technician positions, because many young people with mechanic training and experience opt to take jobs as automotive service technicians, diesel service technicians, or industrial machinery repairers—jobs that offer more openings and a wider variety of locations in which to work.
Faster employment growth is expected for mobile heavy equipment mechanics than for farm equipment mechanics or railcar repairers. Increasing numbers of heavy duty and mobile equipment service technicians will be required to support growth in the construction industry, equipment dealers, and rental and leasing companies. Because of the nature of construction activity, demand for service technicians follows the Nation’s economic cycle. As the economy expands, construction activity increases, resulting in the use of more mobile heavy equipment to grade construction sites, excavate basements, and lay water and sewer lines. The increased use of such equipment increases the need for periodic service and repair. In addition, the construction and repair of highways and bridges requires more technicians to service equipment. As equipment becomes more complicated, repairs increasingly must be made by specially trained technicians. Job openings for farm equipment mechanics and railcar repairers are expected to arise mostly because of replacement needs.
Construction and mining are particularly sensitive to changes in the level of economic activity; therefore, heavy and mobile equipment may be idled during downturns. In addition, winter is traditionally the slow season for construction and farming activity, particularly in cold regions. Few technicians may be needed during periods when equipment is used less; however, employers usually try to retain experienced workers. Employers may be reluctant to hire inexperienced workers during slow periods.