Employers of industrial machinery mechanics generally require them to have earned at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, employers increasingly prefer to hire workers with some training in industrial technology. Employers also prefer to hire workers who have taken high school or postsecondary courses in mechanical drawing, mathematics, blueprint reading, computer programming, or electronics.
Industrial machinery mechanics usually need a year or more of formal education and training after high school to learn the necessary mechanical and technical skills. Although mechanics used to specialize in one area, such as hydraulics or electronics, many factories now require every mechanic to understand electricity, electronics, hydraulics, and computer programming. Some mechanics complete a two-year associate’s degree program in industrial maintenance. Others may start as helpers or in other factory jobs and learn the skills of the trade informally or by taking courses offered through their employer.
Employers may offer onsite technical training or send workers to local technical schools while they also receive on-the-job training. Classroom instruction focuses on subjects such as shop mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, electronics, and computer training. In addition to technical instruction, mechanics train on the specific machines that they will repair. They can get this training on the job, through dealers’ or manufacturers’ representatives, or in a classroom.