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News | October 2nd, 2015

3 Things You Need to Know About Pay in Heavy Equipment Technician Jobs and Diesel Mechanic Jobs

Both diesel mechanic jobs and heavy equipment mechanic jobs are in high demand. Those who have an interest in working in this field may feel confused about which job is the best for their needs. For some, the question comes down to one of which job pays better. Here is a look at the difference in pay between diesel mechanic and heavy equipment mechanic jobs. You may be surprised that it’s not as much of a difference as you thought. 

1. Expected Pay for Heavy Equipment Mechanic Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a heavy equipment mechanic is $43,820 per year, or $21.07 per hour, as of the last industry survey taken in 2012. However, the industry has significant variance from one job to the next. The lowest 10 percent of those in the industry earned less than $27,730, while the top 10 percent earned $62,960.

Within the category of those holding heavy equipment mechanic jobs, the highest paid were those working in the rail car industry, earning an average of $48,500 per year. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, such as those that work on equipment in the field, earned $46,050 on average. The lowest paid segment of the industry was that filled by farm and equipment mechanics and service technicians, who earned an average of $34,760.

2. Expected Pay for Diesel Mechanic Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a median pay for those in diesel mechanic jobs of $42,320 per year, which averages out to $20.35 an hour. Interestingly, this is just slightly lower than the average pay expected for heavy equipment technician jobs.

Like heavy equipment mechanics, diesel mechanics have a wide variance in pay scale. Those in the top 10 percent of the industry earn over $63,250, while those in the bottom 10 percent earn under $26,820. While the average was lower than that of heavy equipment technicians, the highest 10 percent of the industry actually earned more than the highest 10 percent of the heavy equipment technician.

The government is the highest paid industry for these professionals, paying an average of $49,130 to their diesel technicians. Second and third place were close between motor vehicle parts and supplies professionals, earning an average of $42,950 and manufacturing in the industry, where professionals earned an average of $42,160.

3. Diesel Mechanic Versus Heavy Equipment Mechanic – Is It Just a Name?

A look at the difference in pay between these two professionals shows very little difference. While the heavy equipment mechanic jobs earned slightly more, around $1,000 per year or $1 an hour on average, the difference is not much to speak about, especially in light of the variance between the different types of mechanics within these industries.

So what does this mean for your career? If you are just starting off, where should you focus your training and instruction? If you are in your career and wish to be making more, would a change make a difference? 

The answer to these important questions really depends on you. Since the pay difference is insignificant, those who are looking at a career working as a diesel technician should consider the type of equipment they want to work on. For example, a diesel mechanic often works on vehicles, including semi trucks and passenger vehicles, designed for on-road driving and shipping. Fleet jobs are common among diesel mechanics, as fleets will hire on-site technicians to keep their vehicles well-maintained.

Heavy equipment mechanics, on the other hand, may work on rail equipment, farming equipment, construction equipment and even equipment for the freight industry. This variety can help make the job more interesting, while focusing primarily on on-road vehicles can help a technician become a specialist more quickly.

 So which is right for you? You will need to decide which you feel is the best fit for your skills and desires. You will also need to consider what type of jobs are available in your area. Finally, you will need to consider what type of job you feel has the best career potential in the future. By considering these options, you will be able to choose the career path that is right for you. And remember – because diesel technicians and heavy equipment mechanics perform very similar work, your skills can easily translate into the other field if you need to adjust at some point. 

No matter which line of work you choose, you will find excellent pay potential in these career fields. Both diesel mechanics and heavy equipment technicians can find good paying jobs in a variety of sub-fields. So go ahead and get your training, and start looking for a job. A well-paying career is waiting for you!


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