What Does an Industrial Maintenance Technician Do?

An industrial maintenance technician keeps industrial and commercial machines performing at their best. 

This skilled technician goes by many names including industrial mechanic, service engineer, industrial machinery mechanic or machine mechanic. A related role is a millwright, a maintenance technician who moves large industrial equipment, piece by piece, to another location and rebuilds it. 

An industrial maintenance technician or mechanic works on many different types of machines. A technician’s skills need to be equally diverse, from welding and wiring to hand tools and hydraulics. 

One of the biggest tasks is preventive maintenance, so small mechanical or technical problems don’t become big ones. Think about a conveyor belt or a hydraulic lift in a production environment. Few businesses can afford for that crucial equipment to break. 

An industrial maintenance tech makes sure it doesn’t by observing, adjusting and calibrating the equipment and running diagnostics when needed. 

As machines become more sophisticated, they are increasingly run by computers — creating one more element for an industrial mechanic to master. 

If this combination of skills sounds like something you’d like to pursue, keep reading to learn more about the training requirements. 

$ 40,400 - $ 82,300
$ 60,600
An industrial machinery mechanic or industrial maintenance technician does maintenance on an automatic robot arm in an auto factory
The need for industrial maintenance technicians and mechanics is expected to grow 14% over the next decade. Workers with the widest range of skills will see the most opportunities. (Credit: Simon Kadula/Shutterstock)

Job Responsibilities

  • Clean, lubricate and maintain machinery
  • Use technical manuals and diagnostic equipment to keep machines functioning well
  • Repair machinery and components
  • Weld and cut metal parts
  • Be proficient with electronics and industry control software
  • Adhere to all safety requirements
  • Disassemble and rebuild machinery (depending on job description)

How To Become an Industrial Maintenance Technician or Mechanic: FAQs

What steps should I take to become an industrial machinery mechanic?

If you’re still in high school, taking classes in shop mathematics and computer programming if they are available. After you earn your diploma or equivalent, you’re ready for training.

Training can take several forms. Some students who want to become technicians or mechanics earn a certificate or associate degree from a technical school or community college. Employers are increasingly looking for these credentials in job candidates. Some employers prefer to train entry-level technicians through an internship or supervised training. This on-the-job training is often taught by trainers from equipment manufacturers.

New employees should expect to get at least one year of on-the-job training to become technicians or mechanics. Millwrights and some service engineers will train for much longer in an apprenticeship, an earn and learn opportunity for those over the age of 18. 

All industrial maintenance programs will include courses in blueprint reading, hand tool techniques, safety protocols, machine troubleshooting, welding, bearing and seal types, power transmission components, hydraulics, pneumatic systems and computer programming basics. 

Training is highly valued in this career. If you find the right workplace, there will be opportunities to advance and learn new skills. 

How long does it take to become an industrial maintenance technician, industrial mechanic or millwright?

Certificates can take from several months to a year. An associate degree takes two years, and an apprenticeship or internship may last one to several years. (Millwrights training lasts the longest. Millwright apprenticeships typically take three or four years, during which time the apprentice earns a paycheck.) Continuing education is ongoing.

Where do maintenance technicians and mechanics work?

The majority of jobs for technicians and mechanics are in manufacturing, but there are also opportunities in energy, construction and food production facilities.

What is the job outlook for industrial maintenance technicians?

It’s strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts overall employment of industrial maintenance technicians — including industrial mechanics and millwrights — to grow 14%. That works out to about 53,200 job openings each year from 2021 to 2031. Few jobs can match that level of opportunity.

Texas, California and Michigan employ the most industrial maintenance technicians and mechanics, but several other states are not far behind.

What skills do you need to be a industrial machinery mechanic?

  • Good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity
  • Excellent troubleshooting skills
  • Good at analyzing information and choosing the best course of action
  • Excellent mechanical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Proactive
  • Good time management skills
  • Safety-conscious 
The bottom line:

If you know you want to work with your hands and are interested in learning how to repair and maintain big, complex machinery, consider this career. You’ll make a good salary out of the gate, and there’s room to grow! Check out the training options listed below or go to SkillPointe’s training pages for a broader selection. 

How I Became a Service Engineer

Service engineer Jack Jaeger works on a machine for a customer

How I Became a Service Engineer

Jack Jaeger is one of the lucky ones. He knew early on what he wanted to do.

"When I graduated high school, I knew I did not want to go for a four-year degree, so I pursued trade school," says Jack, a service engineer at Helios Gear Products in Illinois. 

The 22-year-old's job involves a significant amount of travel to keep customers' machines running smoothly.

But the payoff of a happy client makes it worthwhile.  

Find out what else Jack likes about his job as an industrial maintenance technician.

Industrial Machinery Mechanic Training in Your Area


Electrical – Industrial Maintenance and Controls

Nova Scotia Community College
(0.0 Miles)

Industrial Mechanical

Nova Scotia Community College
(0.0 Miles)

Industrial Maintenance Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Stationary Engineering - Critical Facilities Level II Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Industrial Technology Level I Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Stationary Engineering - HVAC Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Industrial Automation Mechatronics Level II PLC Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Industrial Automation Mechatronics Level III PLC Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Instrumentation Level III Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

A.A.S. Industrial Technology - Millwright

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Millwright Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

A.A.S. Multi-Craft Industrial Technology

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)