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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Industrial Maintenance Jobs: Careers for Industrial Mechanics

April 27, 2020

male industrial maintenance worker at machine

Industrial machinery mechanics are in demand in the job market, and their employment rate is expected to continue to rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for industrial mechanics is predicted to increase by 5% from 2018 to 2028.1

This growth can be attributed to advanced equipment being used by manufacturing facilities. As technology continues to improve and companies obtain more sophisticated equipment, more skilled mechanics will be needed to operate and repair the machinery. 

With almost 27,000 jobs expected to be created before 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2, find out how you can gain the skills needed to secure a job as an industrial maintenance technician

Careers for Industrial Maintenance Technicians

There are many different jobs available for industrial maintenance technicians. These careers can range in responsibilities and salaries. As a growing industry, there are many options for employment, all with their own unique challenges. 

Maintenance Technician

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, maintenance technicians perform basic maintenance and repairs on machines.3 These tasks can include cleaning the machinery, running diagnostic tests, checking the machines’ performance and determining what repairs are needed. Maintenance technicians need to be able to perform a variety of repairs and use various hand tools, including screwdrivers and socket wrenches, to perform the tasks. Because maintenance technicians work with and around machinery, safety equipment such as hardhats, safety glasses and gloves are usually worn.

    • Average Salary: $47,000.4
    • Top States for Employment: Texas, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Oklahoma.  

Heavy Machinery Mechanic 

Heavy machinery mechanics typically handle larger tasks than maintenance technicians, such as disassembling machinery and equipment, repairing damaged components, performing diagnostic tests and preventative maintenance on machinery, and adjusting equipment and machines as needed to ensure they are performing as expected.5 To perform these jobs, heavy machinery mechanics have to be able to read technical manuals and understand the equipment and controls they are repairing. They should also have computer and electrical skills and be able to use a variety of hand tools, welding equipment and other equipment. To avoid injury on-the-job, heavy machinery mechanics will typically wear safety equipment that includes hardhats, steel-toed shoes, gloves and safety glasses.

    • Average Salary: $52,3406.4  
    • Top States for Employment: Texas, California, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Millwright

A millwright’s job duties can include installing, maintaining and disassembling industrial machines, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.7 Some of a millwright’s tasks can include repairing or replacing damaged parts, taking apart an entire machine, and categorizing and packaging the disassembled parts of a machine. When performing these jobs millwrights may need to use hand tools, welding equipment, measuring tools, or even larger equipment like forklifts and cranes.

    • Average Salary: $55,0604
    • Top States for Employment: Texas, California, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

Production Supervisor

Production supervisors oversee production and operation workers, including machine operators, assemblers and more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.8 They are responsible for coordinating schedules and tasks to ensure the needed work gets done. In addition to overseeing staff, a production supervisor also has to have knowledge of machinery and the skills needed to repair equipment to effectively coordinate and oversee  the work. Production supervisors will spend time around heavy equipment, so safety measures will need to be taken while on-the-job, including wearing protective gear like hardhats, protective shoes, gloves and safety glasses.

    • Average Salary: $61,4504
    • Top States for Employment: California, Texas, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Hydraulic Technician

Hydraulic technicians are responsible for the maintenance, installation and repairs of machines that use hydraulic technology.9 They are tasked with keeping the machinery operating as expected and performing preventative maintenance. Hydraulic technicians will need to use a variety of tools to diagnose and repair issues, including computers. For protection when working around machinery, hydraulic technicians usually wear protective gear such as hardhats, steel-toed shoes, safety glasses and gloves.

    • Average Salary: $48, 6304
    • Top States for Employment: Texas, California and Pennsylvania.

Machine Operator

woman operating yellow machinery

Machine operators use machinery to produce parts and instruments. They might also make parts needed to repair machines or maintain equipment.[10] To perform this job, machine operators need to be familiar with mechanics, math, metal properties, machining procedures, and more. To combat risks associated with using machinery, machine operators have to wear safety gear when on-the-job, including hardhats, safety shoes, safety glasses, gloves, and more.

    • Average Salary: $44,160 [4]
    • Top States for Employment: California, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Texas.

Plant Electrician 

Plant electricians are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing electrical power, lighting and control systems in the plant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their responsibilities can include installing and maintaining wiring and lighting systems, inspecting electrical components, and identifying and repairing electrical problems.[11] Plant electricians will need to use hand tools and power tools to make repairs and will also need to follow National Electrical Codes when making improvements.

    • Average Salary: $55,190 [4]
    • Top States for Employment: California, Texas, New York, Florida and Ohio

Industrial Maintenance Careers in California

There are an incredible amount of opportunities for a career in industrial maintenance, especially in California. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California ranks as one of the top states for employment among all the applications of a certificate in industrial maintenance technology. The annual mean wage for some areas of California top $70,000 for industrial mechanics.[12]

The average wages for industrial maintenance careers in California according to Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 data are:[13]

  • Industrial machinery mechanics: $59,140
  • Millwrights: $71,350
  • Mobile heavy equipment technician: $65,160
  • Maintenance workers, machinery: $55,170  

Get the Skills Needed to Pursue an Industrial Maintenance Career

Industrial maintenance jobs are in demand and will only be growing as newer technology requires more sophisticated maintenance and operation of machinery. Don’t miss out on this lucrative career path.  

You can gain the skills you need through San Joaquin Valley College’s Industrial Maintenance Technology (IMT) program. Find out how you can get started in an industrial maintenance career by requesting more information.

SOURCES

  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/industrial-machinery-mechanics-and-maintenance-workers-and-millwrights.htm
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/industrial-machinery-mechanics-and-maintenance-workers-and-millwrights.htm#tab-6
  3. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/industrial-machinery-mechanics-and-maintenance-workers-and-millwrights.htm#tab-2
  4. Average salaries are based on national 2018 data and may not reflect local wages. 
  5. https://www.truity.com/career-profile/industrial-machinery-mechanic-or-maintenance-worker-or-millwright
  6. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/industrial-machinery-mechanics-and-maintenance-workers-and-millwrights.htm#tab-5
  7. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/industrial-machinery-mechanics-and-maintenance-workers-and-millwrights.htm#tab-2
  8. https://www.bls.gov/oes/2016/may/oes511011.htm
  9. https://learningpath.org/articles/Hydraulic_Technician_Career_Overview.html
  10. https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes514041.htm
  11. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm#tab-1
  12. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes499041.htm#st
  13. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm#49-0000

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