More than 500,000 industrial mechanics are gainfully employed in the United States. If you’re interested in becoming one, you should know that it’s not something that can happen overnight. Instead, you need to prepare yourself for a few years before you’ll be able to get hired as an industrial mechanic.
But what does that process look like? What types of training and education do you need to get hired as an industrial mechanic?
If you’ve been asking yourself those questions recently, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about what it takes to become an industrial mechanic.
What is an industrial mechanic, exactly?
Industrial mechanics are experts at the maintenance, operation, and repair of industrial machines. They work with a wide variety of machines, including cranes, engines, conveyor systems, and pumps.
Industrial mechanics are valued in the industrial workplace because of the role that they play in ensuring factories operate at their full potential. Industrial mechanics make sure that the machines that a factory needs to function can stay in operation consistently. When one of a factory’s machines goes down, it’s the industrial mechanic’s job to fix it.
WHAT DOES AN INDUSTRIAL MECHANIC DO?
Now that we know the general responsibilities that an industrial mechanic has, let’s take a closer look at some of the day-to-day tasks that they complete. If you get hired as an industrial mechanic, here’s what you’ll be asked to do:
- Read through blueprints and technical manuals to learn how a machine functions
- Carry out basic machine maintenance tasks
- Periodically test the performance of machines
- Identify the source of problems and resolve them
- Install new pieces of machinery and assemble their parts
- Maintain up-to-date records of all that you do
If you think that you would enjoy completing tasks like these, then becoming an industrial mechanic could be a great career move.
Why would I want to become one?
There are several good reasons to become an industrial mechanic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the demand for industrial mechanics in the United States is expected to increase at a rate of about 13% from 2019-2029. That growth rate is much faster than the average job.
On top of that, industrial mechanics make a good living. They earn an average of $54,920 per year or roughly $26.40 per hour. That’s a very good wage, especially when you consider the fact that industrial mechanics don’t need to have a four-year college degree.
Becoming an industrial mechanic could also be a good decision for you if you’re someone who enjoys this type of work. Industrial mechanics get to work with machines daily and are constantly using their technical expertise to solve interesting issues with machines. If that sounds like heaven to you, then chances are this is a good career path for you to pursue.
ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES TO BECOMING AN INDUSTRIAL MECHANIC?
There are a few factors that you should be aware of before committing to this career path. One is what your work environment will look like as an industrial mechanic.
Most industrial mechanics spend all of their working hours in manufacturing facilities. These are typically very noisy and can be quite chaotic. You will need to wear protective equipment at all times, including safety glasses, hearing protectors, and hard hats.
Another factor that you should consider is that overtime is extremely common for industrial mechanics. Workers in this role are also often put on call and may be asked to work night and weekend shifts with limited notice.
If any of these factors sound unpalatable to you, then you may want to consider looking into another career path. There are lots of great industrial jobs for you to choose from.
What skills do I need to become an industrial mechanic?
To do well as an industrial mechanic, you’ll need to possess a certain set of skills. For example, industrial mechanics needs to have solid manual dexterity because of the complicated work they do on machines. On top of that, you will need to have the following skills to do well as an industrial mechanic:
- Strong technical skills
- Ability to troubleshoot mechanical problems efficiently
- Ability to understand blueprints and technical documents
- Comfortability working in chaotic factory-like settings
Don’t worry if you don’t possess all of these skills already. You can develop them during your training process for becoming an industrial mechanic. In the next section, you’ll find a step-by-step guide showing you exactly what you need to do to gain the skills that an industrial mechanic needs.
How to become an industrial mechanic (a step-by-step guide)
1. SATISFY THESE BASIC JOB REQUIREMENTS
Before pursuing more specialized forms of training to become an industrial mechanic, you should make sure that you’ve got the basic requirements satisfied. Here’s what those look like:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Be physically capable of standing for most of the day
- Be comfortable working both independently and as part of a team
- Have a valid driver’s license and a reliable means of transportation
Once you’ve got these down, you’re ready to begin completing more advanced types of industrial mechanic training.
2. CONSIDER TAKING SOME COLLEGE CLASSES
Studies have found that 25% of industrial mechanics haven’t pursued any formal academic training after high school. That means you may be able to find a job without any college training, but you’ll make the hiring process easier on yourself if you take at least a few classes.
More specifically, employers like to see that you’ve completed college-level classes that are highly relevant to the role of an industrial mechanic. For example, you can get a leg up on the competition by completing classes in mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, electronics, and mathematics.
You may even want to look into completing a technical certification or associate’s degree program in industrial machinery maintenance and repair. These programs typically only take a year or two to complete and will provide you with a complete overview of everything that you’ll need to know as an industrial mechanic.
3. FIND AN APPRENTICESHIP OR COMPLETE ON-THE-JOB TRAINING
Next, industrial mechanics need to spend some time training in the real world. There are two different ways to do this. First, you can find an apprenticeship. They’re often available through local trade unions and technical schools.
Apprenticeships give aspiring industrial mechanics the chance to work alongside an expert in the field. The employee that you work under will be able to help you develop the real-world skills that you’ll need to be able to rely on once you get hired as an industrial mechanic.
However, apprenticeships can take as long as four years to complete. Not everyone will be willing to commit to spending that long on training themselves.
Another option that you have is to just pursue on-the-job training. This would involve getting hired as a low-level industrial mechanic and then gradually working your way up the ranks as you improve your skillset.
4. PUT TOGETHER YOUR APPLICATION MATERIAL
At this stage of the process, you’re ready to begin applying for industrial mechanic positions. But to do that, you’ll need to put together a strong application package.
The first thing that you’ll need is a great resume. Yours should highly all of the training you’ve gone through. It should also tell potential employers about the previous work experience that you have, which has prepared you to become an excellent industrial mechanic.
If you’re not all that familiar with putting together a resume, consider relying on the people around you to help with the process. If you attended a trade school, they’ll often be willing to help you put together a resume that will help you stand out. Or you could look up a resume guide online to make sure that you’re doing it right.
Next, you need to create a cover letter template. You’ll use this template to create a customized letter for each job that you apply for. Here’s a template strategy that you can follow if you need help with the process.