What is Industrial Maintenance?
Industrial maintenance mechanics work across many industries—manufacturing, refineries, mines, energy plants, food processing—installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting the equipment.
If the equipment fails, it can mean millions of dollars in lost business for a company in a single day. So the main job of an industrial mechanic is to make sure that nothing goes wrong in the first place. This is called preventative maintenance. The other part of the job is troubleshooting a malfunctioning piece of equipment and then figuring out how to fix it, which is called reactive maintenance.
That's the big picture, but there are some different types of roles in this trade that require different levels of training:
|Title||Description||Average Annual Salary|
|Machinery Maintenance Worker|| ||$47,240|
|Industrial Mechanic |
(also called Industrial Machinery Mechanic or Maintenance Machinist)
Why Industrial Maintenance?
As manufacturing equipment gets more sophisticated, industries will need more skilled mechanics and millwrights to keep them in good working order. In a nutshell: more automated processes and computer‐controlled machines actually mean more work for industrial mechanics, not less.
Projected job growth for industrial machine mechanics from 2012-2024
Industrial mechanics and millwrights across the US make average salaries in the $50,000 range. And in some areas of the country they command even higher average salaries.
|Area||Job||Average Annual Pay|
|Oregon||Industrial maintenance worker||$42,160|
|Washington||Industrial maintenance worker||$52,580|
Variety of industries
As an industrial mechanic, there's a lot of skilled problem solving that goes into the job. One day you might be fixing air compressor at an energy plant, the next day mining equipment. There's also a huge variety of industries—from paper mills to factories—to work in.
Huge range of skills
As an industrial mechanic, you will learn a huge range of skills. You may train to use many different tools and high tech pieces of equipment from optical lasers to overhead cranes. And you could become skilled at everything from welding to plumbing.
Is Industrial Maintenance right for me?
If you enjoy tinkering with machines and don't mind some regional travel, then industrial machinery maintenance could be for your. But, keep in mind, this is not a job for the desk‐bound. You'll mostly be on the factory floor, using complex tools, and problem‐solving on the go.
- Do you enjoy working with your hands?
- Do you have good dexterity?
- Do you like to work with machines and tools?
- Are you thorough and detail‐oriented?
- Are you willing to travel out of state and sometimes work with an uncertain schedule?
- Do you have good communication skills (you'll need to both diagnose and explain a problem)?
How would I get started in Industrial Maintenance?
Industrial maintenance workers will need a high school diploma or the equivalent to get started. You can even start your training during high school in some apprenticeship programs. In addition to training, you'll also need strong math, communication, and problem‐solving skills.
The amount and type of training you need to get started depends on what job you want:
|Industrial maintenance worker||Licensed Industrial mechanic||Millwright|
|Training options|| || || |