Industrial Machinery Mechanic Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career as an industrial machinery mechanic? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an industrial machinery mechanic is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an Industrial Machinery Mechanic Career

Industrial machinery mechanics troubleshoot and repair machinery needed to keep assembly lines running smoothly. They may have to disassemble equipment to replace or repair parts, then reassemble and test the equipment to ensure proper operation. Read pros and cons information about industrial machinery mechanics below to help decide if this career is for you.

Pros of a Career as an Industrial Machinery Mechanic
Degree is usually not required*
Occupation is unionized, resulting in higher wages*
Excellent career prospects with projected job growth of 16% or more*
Excellent job benefits**

Cons of a Career as an Industrial Machinery Mechanic
Chances of cuts and bruises are high*
Overtime is often required*
Protective equipment must be worn to prevent injury*
Heavy lifting is required*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **California Occupational Guide.

Career Information

Job Description

Industrial machinery mechanics repair equipment using hand tools, power tools and computerized diagnostic equipment. They also perform maintenance procedures, calibrate equipment and make adjustments. Industrial machinery mechanics often refer to blueprints, schematics and technical manuals, and an experienced mechanic can often determine the source of a problem by listening to the machinery in operation. After equipment is repaired, the mechanic performs tests to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Most industrial machinery mechanics work in the construction and manufacturing industries, but some are employed in hospitals, mines, public utilities and aboard ships. Overtime is often required since these mechanics must work some evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure that malfunctioning machinery critical to the operation is up and running as quickly as possible. It may take years of experience for an industrial machinery mechanic to be able to diagnose problems and prepare the wide variety of equipment that he or she is responsible for maintaining in working condition.

Salary and Career Outlook

The median annual wage of an industrial machinery mechanic was $48,630 as of May 2014. Additionally, the career prospects in this field are positive, with jobs projected to increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024.

What Are the Requirements?

Most industrial machinery mechanic positions require a high school diploma or GED, and some require specialized training. Taking high school courses in drafting, computers and electronics will help prepare you for a career as an industrial machinery mechanic. Knowledge of computers, electronics, hydraulics and electricity is required to repair much of today's state-of-the-art equipment, and this type of training is available in certificate and associate programs offered by some technical schools and colleges. A typical program includes courses in blueprint reading, pneumatics, hydraulics, electricity, math and welding. Students also learn to use hand and power tools, troubleshoot and perform various kinds of repairs. These are some of the skills you must have to work in this field:

  • Problem solving
  • Physical coordination
  • Near Vision
  • Fast reaction time
  • Arm-hand steadiness
  • Decision making
  • Manual dexterity
  • Hearing Sensitivity
  • Critical thinking

Actual Job Postings

Those who employ industrial machine mechanics generally require candidates to have a high school diploma or equivalent along with some experience in the field. A current driver's license and a clean driving record are also often required since mechanics may have to travel to different sites to perform maintenance and repairs. Since technology in the manufacturing and construction sectors continues to evolve, some employers require industrial machine mechanics to continue their education to keep up with new technologies. Below are some job postings from March 2012.

  • A company in Indiana is seeking an industrial machinery mechanic with more than five years of experience to install and service industrial equipment and to perform other tasks as needed with construction crews. A high school diploma or GED is required along with proficiency in troubleshooting, gas and oil-fired burners, plumbing, hydraulics and electrical work. Other requirements include a current driver's license and the ability to drive heavy vehicles.
  • A manufacturing company in Oklahoma is looking for an industrial machinery mechanic to perform preventive maintenance on conveyor systems, industrial machines, tools and motors. Other duties include monitoring inventory, ordering new stock and issuing maintenance reports. A minimum of two years of experience is required.
  • An automotive parts manufacturing plant in Kentucky wants to hire an industrial machine repair technician to install, troubleshoot and repair automated systems. This technician must have knowledge of various types of sensors, be able to interpret schematics and to modify programmable logic controller programs for a wide range of processors. A minimum of one year of experience with robotics and a high school diploma are required.

How to Stand Out

A good way to get noticed is to learn how to work on more complex equipment. Special skills can be obtained by taking classes. A skilled, educated mechanic will have a better chance of being promoted to a supervisory position.

Get Specialized

A good industrial machinery mechanic is basically a jack of all trades when it comes to repairing industrial equipment, but there are some specializations that can really make one stand out. Robotics and automation are increasingly being used in manufacturing processes. There are other specializations geared towards certain industries, such as mining and marine equipment. Specialization can be gained through courses or job experience.

Other Careers to Consider

Machinist

If you like to work with your hands, but aren't interested in learning the large variety of tasks that industrial machinery mechanics must perform, a career as a machinist may be more your style. Machinists produce metal parts according to blueprints. The tools of their trade include drill presses, milling machines, lathes and grinders. Many machinists receive on-the-job-training, while others learn their skills through apprenticeship programs. The median annual wage of a machinist was $39,000 in 2011, lower than the pay of an industrial machinery mechanic, but less knowledge is required.

Electrical and Electronics Repairer

Another career you may want to consider is electrical and electronics repairer. People employed in this occupation maintain and repair industrial electrical and electronics equipment. Some electrical and electronics repairers work as field technicians and travel to different locations to fix malfunctioning equipment onsite, while others work as bench technicians in a set location, repairing equipment that is brought to them. Employment in this field often requires an associate's degree, although some employers offer on-the-job training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in this field will be slower than average (3%) between 2010-2020, but the outlook for those who have a related degree or certificate will be a little brighter. Additionally, the median average wage of $52,000 in 2011 might make this occupation worth pursuing.

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