Factories and production facilities today are bigger and operate far more machinery than ever. However, industrial progress comes with the challenge of keeping all those machines running without fault. Luckily, companies have a maintenance mechanic who are directly responsible for ensuring that.
Maintenance mechanics work in all sorts of industries and may be called upon to do a variety of general maintenance and repair work.
But, the maintenance mechanic job title can come with a lot of different responsibilities which may confuse prospective mechanics looking through job postings.
If you'd like to take on the job duties of a maintenance mechanic in 2020, here's a breakdown of what they do, how much they make in salary, what qualifications they need, and more.
Let's get right into it.
What is a Maintenance mechanic? [Job Overview]
Simply put, a maintenance mechanic is someone who repairs mechanical equipment, installs new units, upgrades old ones, and helps maintains mechanical assets in good condition.
They generally work under a maintenance supervisor or senior technician.
Also called industrial maintenance mechanics or general maintenance technicians, they can work on an on-call basis, as well as according to their own maintenance schedules.
Here is a brief overview of their job responsibilities:
- Detect specific malfunctions in all machinery
- Disassemble each piece of equipment down to the fundamentals and replace faulty parts
- Follow preventive maintenance schedules
- Collaborate with carpentry experts, plumbers, electricians, and maintenance managers for equipment maintenance operations
- Implement regular upkeep on high-volume production equipment or static fixtures such as air conditioning units
- Clean, lubricate, and perform basic refurbishment on mechanical systems such as elevators and conveyors
Additionally, maintenance mechanics could also be employed at vehicle production where they would function as traditional auto mechanics.
Primary Responsibilities of a Maintenance mechanic in 2020
Maintenance mechanic jobs are as diverse as they are numerous.
Full-time mechanics or prospects should always prepare themselves for new and more challenging tasks on the job.
Before they move on to the advanced tasks though, almost every maintenance worker has to work in three basic capacities.
Managers and officials who monitor company equipment usually have maintenance workers on call for whenever some equipment needs to be looked at.
Mechanics also form part of the on-call teams.
However, unlike cleaners and assistants who work around the primary repairmen, mechanics are directly involved in examining the source of equipment failure and fixing it for production to continue.
The sort of machines used in the manufacturing industry, run for prolonged periods of time and often have tons of moving parts.
If a single part breaks up or stops working as it's supposed to, it could impact the production line.
In setups like these, mechanics repair and refurbish machinery, as well as monitor some of the higher volume-producing equipment for defects.
Not all equipment is maintained according to a schedule or observation-based routine. Sometimes, companies prefer to let it run without extra upkeep until it simply stops working.
Infrastructure assets such as lights, circuit pumps, and door motors are examples of equipment that costs more to repair than to replace once they've completed their lifecycle.
Replacing such assets is a complicated job. That's where mechanics or junior technicians come in.
Top Industries for Maintenance mechanics in 2020
Almost every technical industry has a lot of room for skilled maintenance mechanics.
However, some industries are more accommodating for modern maintenance mechanics in terms of salary prospects and promotion opportunities.
Here are the most viable industries for maintenance mechanics today:
The manufacturing industry is the most direct inlet for maintenance mechanics who are starting out or looking for a stable career path.
It mostly involves jobs in large-scale production plants that produce consumer goods, infrastructure elements, biochemical products, and anything that is taken in raw form and turned into a finished product.
Such facilities usually have teams of maintenance mechanics delegated to different types of maintenance such as preventive maintenance, predictive (monitored) maintenance, and total productive maintenance.
The automotive industry is one of the biggest employers for maintenance mechanics.
It also has major promotion opportunities for mechanics who can move up to positions such as engineers, assembly supervisors, and maintenance managers.
In automobile factories, mechanics could be responsible for changing vehicle chassis fluids, inspect elements such as powertrain, suspension, transmission, and multiple interior facets.
Additionally, they could be assigned to general machine repair positions where they take care of assembly and fabrication machines, instead of production vehicles.
The United States defense industry is huge and offers very diverse jobs to maintenance workers.
Defense equipment and armament production happen in high-tech manufacturing facilities.
However, there is a wide range of product types, produced by many different kinds of machinery, from arms manufacturing and milling to vehicle assembly and modification units.
The defense industry features a whole spectrum of jobs for maintenance mechanics and any technical worker. Jobseekers need to research the various positions within the defense industry to decide which suits them.
Electronics and Tech
The technology industry also employs mechanics in several closely related positions such as production machine repairmen, and product repair technicians.
Depending on the size of the plant and the specific product, a maintenance mechanic could either focus on maintaining very high-tech, complex assembly stations, or massive conveyor systems.
It's generally a well-paying industry for entry-level technicians looking to either develop more complex technical skills or starting their own electronics repair business in the future.
Soft Skills for Maintenance Mechanics in 2020
Technical skills are an obvious requisite for mechanics. However, modern industrial mechanics needs to have several important soft skills to succeed in their chosen field.
Here are some of the most important soft skills for maintenance mechanics in 2020:
- Knowledge of Industry Trends: Mechanics should always know where their specific industry is headed in terms of incoming technology and job trends.
- Agile Function: Maintenance work can benefit from more streamlined workflows and mechanics should work on ways to eliminate redundant processes in order to reduce the time-to-completion of tasks.
- Communication Skills: Mechanics should communicate in varying degrees to senior staff and junior officials in equal measure.
- Teamwork: Regardless of collaborative working conditions, mechanics need to be able to interact clearly and effectively with everyone in the department and beyond.
- Effective Problem-Solving: Mechanics are likely to find themselves facing more challenging tasks than their training can help them with. Here, they'll need to have a natural affinity for looking at problems in a non-standard way and solving them the same way.
Soft skills help build relationships and provide a ton of opportunities to learn new ways to approach a challenging task.
Typical Qualifications of a Maintenance Mechanic
Most maintenance jobs require either a high school diploma with an apprenticeship, or graduate degree and relevant experience.
Generally, a maintenance mechanic should have the following qualifications:
- Technical diploma in mechanical engineering
- GED in a relevant technical field
- Vocational or trade school completion with credentials
- Associate degree with at least 1-2 years of experience working in a factory or manufacturing plant
- Online course certification in a maintenance mechanic program
There are tons of online courses that can help candidates develop the skill sets they need for career advancement.
These courses can upskill maintenance mechanics, while also preparing them for the challenges their jobs will bring.
Maintenance mechanic Salary and Perks
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a current maintenance mechanic in the US is $39,470 per year.
This can vary based on a specific job offer, the individual's qualifications, mechanical skills, and/or their experience.
How to Become an Ideal Maintenance Mechanic
Take a look at the modern maintenance mechanic job description template and you'll see sections for related or additional skills.
These sections highlight the importance of a diversely skilled maintenance mechanic who can work in more than one industry or switch seamlessly between them.
In order to succeed in the job climate within the technical sector, maintenance workers have to add more skills to their resume, or upgrade the skills they already have.
For example, if an automotive mechanic wants to grow, they can look into vehicular electronics as another vocation.
Chances are that this could get them a promotion, or make them a more valuable asset for a company.
In conclusion, the more a maintenance mechanic is willing to explore within their job description, the better their chance for career growth.