There are more than 500,000 industrial mechanics in the United States, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that number to grow rapidly in the years to come. Additionally, employees in this role can make good money without having to earn an advanced degree.
Of course, getting employed as an industrial mechanic will be easier if you look in the right place. Let’s talk more about becoming an industrial mechanic, including the best places to look for a job as one.
Industrial mechanics maintain and repair factory equipment and various types of industrial machinery. For example, they commonly work with conveyor belts, production machinery, and packaging equipment.
It’s the industrial mechanic’s job to understand how machines like this function and what can cause them to stop working properly. To develop that knowledge, the industrial mechanic needs to spend some time reading technical documents and blueprints.
When a problem with a machine occurs, it’s the industrial mechanic’s job to respond to it. They’ll disassemble the machine to see what’s causing the issue. Then they may have to replace a part or make adjustments to one. After that, the employee will put the machine back together and put it through a few tests to ensure that it’s working normally again.
An industrial mechanic needs to be able to complete these tasks efficiently. When a machine goes down, the company’s production line also often goes down with it. Industrial mechanics are relied upon to fix machine problems quickly to ensure that their facilities can resume their work with minimal delay.
Industrial mechanics play a key role in the modern industrial workplace. They help companies maintain and repair their machines to ensure continuous operation.
Given that, it should be no surprise that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says industrial mechanics are in high demand. The Bureau projects that there will be a 13% increase in the number of industrial mechanic positions in the United States over the next ten years. That equates to more than 70,000 additional industrial mechanic jobs.
The average salary for an industrial mechanic is approximately $52,860 per year or $25.41 per hour. But the salary range for the role can vary widely based on several different factors.
Some of these are obvious. For example, industrial mechanics who are more experienced tend to make more than those that aren’t. Similarly, industrial mechanics who work in certain industries make more than those who are working in others.
For example, industrial mechanics who work in chemical manufacturing make an average of $61,940 per year. But those who work in commercial and industrial machinery and equipment make $50,950 per year on average.
Where you’re located can also play a big role in determining how much you make as an industrial mechanic. Someone in Wyoming who’s employed in this position will make an average of $68,830 per year. But an industrial mechanic who lives in Arkansas will only make $48,620 on average.
Companies only want to hire industrial mechanics who already know what they’re doing. So if you’d like to become one, then you need to spend some time developing your mechanical maintenance and repair skills. There are two primary ways to go about doing this.
All industrial mechanics need to have at least a high-school degree or its equivalent. But some decide to pursue additional academic training after they graduate. This could involve completing an associate’s degree at a local trade school. Or it might just mean completing a certification program.
Some of the key courses that an industrial mechanic training program should include are:
On-the-job training is much more common among aspiring industrial mechanics. Most people who are hired in this role have spent at least a year getting this type of training.
On-the-job training is valuable because it teaches fledgling industrial mechanics how to perform the real-world tasks that they’ll be responsible for once hired into a permanent role. These include setting up machines, performing common maintenance tasks, and troubleshooting various types of problems.
Most industrial mechanics have some type of on-the-job training. But some take this a step further by spending 3-4 years working as an industrial mechanic apprentice.
Apprenticeships provide in-depth training and are a great way to prepare for a successful career as an industrial mechanic. Pursuing one could be a good idea if you’re willing to invest the time it would take to complete the program.
Now we know what industrial mechanics do, how much they make, and how to become one. Let’s take a look at where you should be looking if you’d like to get hired as one.
If you look at the percentage of industrial mechanics that make up a state’s total workforce, Wyoming comes out on top. The state has a location quotient of 3.49. For every 1,000 employees in Wyoming, 9.22 of them are industrial mechanics. That’s also one of the highest numbers in the country.
Texas has a lower location quotient than Wyoming. But in terms of the raw number of industrial mechanic opportunities, the Lone Star State comes out on top. There are more than 41,000 industrial mechanics in the state. That’s the highest number in the country.
Alabama is another great state to look for employment as an industrial mechanic in 2021. There are 12,280 industrial mechanics in the state. That translates to 6.22 out of every thousand workers in Alabama. Industrial mechanics also do fairly well in Alabama, earning an average annual salary of $51,290.
Michigan has a longstanding reputation as a good place to find industrial work. The state lives up to that reputation when it comes to industrial mechanic employment opportunities. 5.22 out of every 1,000 workers in Michigan is an industrial mechanic. That’s good for a total of more than 22,000 individuals who are employed in this role in the state.
An outsized number of industrial mechanics make up North Dakota’s workforce. The location quotient for industrial mechanics in the state is 2.03, one of the best in the country. Put differently, 5.35 out of every 1,000 workers in North Dakota is an industrial mechanic.
Statewide data can be a useful way to figure out where industrial mechanics are getting the most opportunities at a broad level. But there are also some intra-state differences in employment levels that are worth exploring.
The Houston – Woodlands – Sugarland, Texas region is home to the most industrial mechanics with 13,730 of them employed in the metropolitan area. Other major areas for industrial mechanic employment include:
We can even go a step further to determine which cities are the best places to look for work as an industrial mechanic. To figure that out, let’s look at the states with the highest number of industrial mechanic jobs per 1,000 workers:
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