Farm Equipment Mechanics


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take technical/shop courses that will introduce you to machinery repair, electrical work, and welding. Mechanical drawing classes can also prepare you for the work. Computer courses will be valuable; computers are used increasingly in farm machinery, as well as in the administrative office of a machine repair and sales business. Science courses that include units in soil and agronomy will help you to understand the needs of the agriculture industry. As a member of the National FFA Organization (formerly the Future Farmers of America), you may be involved in special projects that include working with farm machinery.

Postsecondary Training

After graduating from high school, most farm equipment mechanics go on to complete a one- or two-year program in agricultural or farm mechanics at a vocational school or community college. If you can't find such a program, study in diesel mechanics or appropriate experience through the military are also options. Topics that you will learn about include the maintenance and repair of diesel and gasoline engines, hydraulic systems, welding, and electronics. Your education doesn't stop there, however. After completing one of these programs you will be hired as a trainee or helper and continue to learn on the job, receiving training from experienced mechanics. 

Some farm equipment mechanics learn their trade through apprenticeship programs. These programs combine three to four years of on-the-job training with classroom study related to farm equipment repair and maintenance. Apprentices are usually chosen from among shop helpers.

Other Education or Training

To stay up-to-date on technological changes that affect their work, mechanics and trainees may take special short-term courses that are offered by equipment manufacturers. In these programs, which usually last a few days, company service representatives explain the design and function of new models of equipment and teach mechanics how to maintain and repair them. Some employers help broaden their mechanics' skills by sending them to local vocational schools for special intensive courses in subjects such as air-conditioning repair, hydraulics, or electronics.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no certification or licensing available for farm equipment mechanics.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Those with prior experience in agriculture, or as heavy-equipment mechanics, automobile mechanics, or air-conditioning mechanics, will have an advantage in the job search.

Farm machinery is usually large and heavy. Mechanics need the strength to lift heavy machine parts, such as transmissions. They also need manual dexterity to be able to handle tools and small components. Farm equipment mechanics are usually expected to supply their own hand tools. After years of accumulating favorite tools, experienced mechanics may have collections that represent an investment of thousands of dollars. Employers generally provide all the large power tools and test equipment needed in the shop. Other important traits include the ability to understand technical manuals, strong computer skills, knowledge of computer technology, and a willingness to continue to learn throughout one's career.