According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights is projected to grow 14 percent between 2021 and 2031. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Furthermore, an average of about 53,200 job openings for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights are projected each year over that time. This demand for industrial maintenance technicians is primarily due to the continued adoption of automated manufacturing machinery, as these machines must be in pristine working condition.
These statistics and numbers show why many people interested in the industrial machinery industry pursue a career as an industrial maintenance technician. And that may be exactly why you are here.
If you are looking for guidance on how to become an industrial maintenance technician and launch a successful career, you are in the right place. In this article, we’ll cover what an industrial maintenance technician does and the six steps to becoming one.
What is an industrial maintenance technician?
Industrial maintenance refers to the technical service required by maintenance technicians or mechanics in manufacturing and production settings. Industrial machinery is used in various manufacturing settings and often needs troubleshooting and adjustments to work correctly.
So, who fixes the automatic check-out machines at the grocery store? Industrial maintenance technicians arrive to save the day. Who fixes the machines that manufacturers use to create car parts, computer equipment, medical devices, and other important goods? Industrial maintenance technicians. An industrial maintenance technician or mechanic maintains, repairs, and services the operation of all production-related equipment and machinery, including factory equipment, tool and die machines, and packaging equipment.
Industrial maintenance positions ensure that machines are kept in proper working order and prevent malfunction before it occurs. They are also responsible for finding and fixing the problem when a machine or equipment malfunctions.
- General maintenance and replacement of production machine parts to limit production delays
- Reading and interpreting technical manuals
- Taking apart machinery to identify problems
- Repairing and replacing parts
- Cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting machines and equipment
- Troubleshooting and maintaining engines, conveyors, electrical systems, pneumatic tools, and hydraulic equipment
- Documenting maintenance operations in line with relevant requirements
- Working with facility managers to regularly update the production process and software
Candidates in this industry find jobs as industrial maintenance technicians, industrial maintenance mechanics, installers, and machine salespeople. And all of the jobs in this industry require general industry knowledge and additional certifications beyond a high school diploma.
How to Become an Industrial Maintenance Technician in 6 Steps
Step 1: Research Industrial Maintenance Technician Duties
When pursuing this career, interested candidates should research the day-to-day responsibilities they’ll encounter. This will ensure you are ready and prepared for this line of work well in advance of your first day. Daily activities of industrial maintenance technicians include:
- Moving equipment and machine components using hoists, rollers, and hand trucks
- Testing water heaters, mixing valves, boilers, and other mechanical equipment
- Operating drill presses, lathes, mills, MIG, and TIG welding techniques and tools
- Repair and maintenance of rooftop HVAC units, air handlers, and exhaust fans
- Repair chillers, cooling towers, and all heating and AC systems
Step 2: Explore Industrial Mechanic Education
If you like to understand how things work, take things apart, and work with your hands, it’s time to consider what kind of higher education this career requires.
Industrial maintenance technicians must obtain a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Beyond that, it’s becoming standard for technicians to complete a short-term certificate program or two-year associate industrial maintenance degree, with or without an apprenticeship.
Step 3: Enroll in an Industrial Technician Program
Like any career, developing industrial maintenance skills before applying for a job is a good idea. Candidates should be detail-oriented, proactive problem-solvers. They should also have excellent communication and time management skills.
Industrial service technician certificate programs are a great place to develop these skills. In these full and part-time programs, students learn how to install, troubleshoot, repair, and maintain complex mechanical and electrical industrial requirements.
Students focus on essential electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic functions, how they integrate with mechanical drives, and the properties of motion in an option. They are also often introduced to computer-aided design (CAD) through Solidworks.
Step 4: Complete Training and/or Internships
Along with your studies and experience gained in a certificate or associate program, industrial maintenance workers and technicians typically receive more than a year of on-the-job training.
During that time, new industrial technicians practice routine tasks and gain on-the-job experience in blueprint reading, computer programming, electronics, proper tool use, shop mathematics, and welding.
Step 5: Prepare Your Resume
Now that you’ve completed your chosen program and acquired the necessary skills, it’s time to prepare your resume. Be sure to highlight your experience, skills, and qualifications to show future employers you are ready to contribute to the field of industrial maintenance.
Check with your program to see if they offer comprehensive support services designed to help prepare your resume and for job interviews.
Step 5: Apply for Jobs and Begin Your Career
The industrial machinery industry is a booming field of possibilities. Maintenance on industrial equipment can include everything from ball bearings and tools, compressors, valves, and even large pieces of machinery like bulldozers and cement mixers. Candidates find work in aviation, construction, electronics, energy, food, and manufacturing.
Our flexible part- or full-time Industrial Service Technician certificate program enables students to earn certificates while working and fulfilling their responsibilities.
Students learn from our expert faculty, who have years of experience in manufacturing and experience hands-on learning opportunities to ensure they enter the workforce with real-world experience.
Learn more about our program and apply today, as classes start May 8. We’re ready when you are!