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
- 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
- Good time management skills