For more information about this trade, contact the training co-ordinator.
Heavy duty equipment technicians are specialists who diagnose, troubleshoot, examine, test, repair and maintain a wide variety of heavy duty vehicles. This includes heavy mobile equipment such as cranes, graders, tractors, paving equipment, off-road haulers and earthmovers. A certified technician is trained to:
Good physical condition and agility are important because heavy lifting and climbing may be required. A mechanical aptitude, motor coordination and manual dexterity are fundamental. An understanding of computerized machinery, mechanical systems and components as well as good communications, analytical skills and adaptability or flexibility are also important.
Heavy duty equipment technicians must be very versatile; the range of equipment on which they work is extremely large and working conditions vary from comfortable shops to remote sites. More emphasis is now being placed on the safe handling of toxic or environmentally hazardous materials, and on regular predictive and preventative maintenance to reduce downtime and costs related to major failures.
Safety is of prime importance due to the size and complexity of the equipment. Errors in judgement or in practical application of trade knowledge can be extremely costly, in terms of injury to workers, damage to equipment and materials and legal liability.
Due to the size and location of some of the equipment, technicians may work closely with other tradespeople such as mobile crane operators and millwrights. A technician must be familiar with the work done in these trades.
The apprenticeship is four years of four levels. Practical and technical training is a minimum of 1800 hours per level. About 80 per cent of the time is spent learning practical on-the-job skills under the supervision of a certified journeyperson and 20 per cent consists of learning the theoretical and technical aspects of the trade through in-school training.
Training includes engines, hydraulics, transmissions, brakes and steering. Programming focuses on electrical/electronic troubleshooting and repair of on-and off-road equipment with electronically controlled systems. Specific courses include repair of hydraulic and diesel internal combustion engines, hydraulic and diesel fuel systems, heavy duty power trains and steering/suspension/braking systems. Welding, computer systems and communications round out the curriculum. Theory grades are determined by examinations in each course. Completed practical assignments are included in the evaluation of final grades.
As experience comprises the bulk of apprenticeship training, it is essential that each apprentice has on-site access to a skilled journeyperson and receives the attention and guidance necessary to perform the tasks of the trade safely and efficiently.
For every apprentice working in this trade, the employer is required to maintain a 1:1 ratio of apprentices to journeypersons on-site and must ensure that the apprentice is directly supervised by a certified journeyperson in the trade.
High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP): Begin your apprenticeship training in high school. A minimum age of 16 years in required.
General Admission: A Grade 12 or equivalent high school academic standing is required. If you do not hold a high school diploma, you can also qualify as an Access Program Trainee (formerly Mature Student). Prior Learning Recognition and Assessment may be required.
Trades Qualification: If you are experienced in the trade, but do not hold a Certificate of Qualification, you may become a certified journeyperson based on years of proven industry experience and successful completion of the Red Seal Examination. A Trades Qualification Application and trade specific work experience form must be submitted. Trades professionals whose entrance readiness is less than that required, must take appropriate upgrading.
Note: If you are certified as an agricultural equipment technician, an automotive service technician, or a truck and transport mechanic, you may qualify for certification as a heavy duty equipment technician.
For additional details on entrance requirements and how to begin your apprenticeship or obtain certification, see section on "How to Start".
When you successfully complete all your required levels of practical experience and technical training, you write an interprovincial examination. You must score at least 70 per cent or better to qualify for a “Red Seal” endorsed interprovincial certificate confirming your status as a certified journeyperson.
Your “Red Seal” endorsed Certificate of Qualification as a journeyperson in this trade is recognized throughout Canada.
Regulations under the Apprenticeship and Certification Act establish minimum wage rates for apprentices. Every employer who enters into an apprenticeship agreement with an apprentice must ensure that the apprentice is paid at least the minimum wage rate for that trade.
Apprentices who work for unionized employers are entitled to the wage rate in the collective agreement if it exceeds the pay rates specified in the trade regulation.
Employers may also provide other benefits such as group insurance for health, dental and vision care and training benefits.
Current wage details are available by downloading the training wage schedule.
Firms that own or lease heavy equipment used in the construction, mining, forestry, material handling, landscaping and land clearing employ heavy duty equipment mechanics. Some work in modern laboratories or service centres overhauling fuel injection pumps and delivery systems. Others work at construction sites.
Experienced heavy duty equipment technicians may advance to shop supervisor or service manager positions. With additional training, they can transfer their skills and knowledge to positions in sales, purchasing, planning or preventative maintenance, or to related occupations such as a motor vehicle, agricultural equipment, transport truck or transport trailer mechanic.