Agricultural equipment technicians set up, maintain, service, diagnose, repair and recondition agricultural equipment. This equipment includes tractors and combines, as well as a variety of implements for agricultural functions such as tillage, seeding, planting, harvesting, haying, spraying and application. Agricultural equipment technicians may also work on outdoor power equipment. While they are involved in preventative maintenance, agricultural equipment technicians spend most of their time diagnosing and repairing malfunctioning or out of service equipment, either in the shop or in the field.
Agricultural equipment technicians must be able to service and repair gasoline and diesel engines, drive train systems and components, hydraulic, hydrostatic and pneumatic systems, electrical and electronic systems, steering and braking systems, structural components, operator station and other related support systems. They also assemble and adjust new agricultural equipment, perform scheduled maintenance service such as oil changes, lubrication and tune-ups, take defective units apart, and repair or replace broken, worn-out or faulty parts. Agricultural equipment technicians may specialize in certain types of equipment or in repairing one particular manufacturer’s product line.
Agricultural equipment technicians must also have good communication and customer service skills, since they often interact with clients. They teach clients how to operate new equipment, discuss equipment operation, and consult with them to pinpoint problems and determine their specific needs.
Agricultural equipment technicians work in the agriculture sector for equipment manufacturers, dealerships and independent repair shops or on large farms. They can also be self-employed. The equipment they work on and the hours tend to change according to the season.
The work often requires considerable standing, climbing, crouching, balancing on equipment and heavy lifting. Technicians must be able to diagnose complex problems and interpret technical manuals and schematics.
Due to the size and complexity of the equipment, safety is of prime importance. Technicians must practice safe operating procedures and be conscious of the impact on people, equipment, work area and environment when performing their work. There is risk of serious injury when working with agricultural equipment.
This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of automotive service technicians, truck and transport mechanics, heavy duty equipment technicians, small engine mechanics and welders.
With experience, agricultural equipment technicians may act as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may also advance to become shop supervisors, service managers, sales people or manufacturers’ service representatives. Some may also open their own dealerships or businesses.
For more information, see Red Seal Trades – Agricultural Equipment Technician