Trades Career: Agricultural Equipment Technician
Farming is a core pillar of Canada’s economy, and our agricultural communities produce everything from the meat and vegetables we eat, to other natural raw materials for products such as biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and more. But the agricultural industry doesn’t only depend on plants and animals, it also relies on the expert tradespeople who perform essential tasks such as maintaining agricultural machines and equipment.
Agricultural Equipment Technicians are a subset of heavy equipment mechanics and technicians, and are responsible for the maintenance and repair of large industrial farming equipment. This can include tractors, combines, sprayers, harvesters, and irrigation systems, among other machines. Agricultural equipment technicians are trained to assess, diagnose, repair, overhaul, and maintain the machinery used for farming, and are in high demand across the country wherever agricultural industry is in operation.
These tradespeople must be familiar with all parts of heavy farming machinery, including the engine and braking systems, electrical systems, exhaust and emission control systems, air conditioning and ventilation systems, wheels and drive systems, as well as any specialty parts such as tillage, planting, spraying or harvesting attachments. Much of the knowledge and skills used in the agricultural industry will also be applicable to repair and maintenance of heavy equipment and machinery in other industries, such as mining, forestry, or transportation.
Pursuing a trades career as an agricultural equipment technician is an ideal choice for those who enjoy working with mechanical and electrical systems and automotive vehicles, and who have an interest in farming. These technicians must have good hand-eye coordination and the physical strength required to lift or move large tools and heavy machine parts. They also need a solid understanding of and ability to read technical documentation, and a strong work ethic and sense of motivation to work independently with little supervision.
Most agricultural equipment technicians are employed by heavy equipment service centres or dealerships, and will often perform most of their work indoors at these repair facilities. However, there are also opportunities to work outdoors by performing repair and maintenance of equipment on-site at farms and other agricultural operations. Many of these tradespeople will also be employed directly by large farms or agricultural companies, and work in an on-site garage or centralized repair location. This is also a trade ideal for working as an independent contractor and running an independent small business performing repairs and maintenance work for a variety of farms large and small.
Depending on which province or territory you are working in, earnings will range from starting wages around $14 to $18 per hour, up to $45 to $47 per hour for experienced tradespeople or those with specialized skills. Most positions will require an apprenticeship period to learn the trade, as well as some additional education through a college or trade school. This trade is also eligible for certification through the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program, which will enable you to work in any location within Canada.