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Heavy Equipment Technician - Transport Trailer Mechanic


Heavy equipment technician - transport trailer mechanics maintain, repair and overhaul commercial transport devices connected to or moved by a power unit.

Maintenance and repair of transport devices may include flat decks, dry freight vans, refrigerated vans, tankers, converters, boosters, pole trailers, jeeps, steering dollies, dump trailers and any other commercial pull type devices.

In general, heavy equipment technicians:

  • interpret work orders and technical manuals
  • keep equipment cleaned, lubricated and maintained
  • diagnose faults or malfunctions
  • adjust equipment and repair or replace defective parts, components or systems
  • test repaired equipment for proper performance and ensure that the work done meets manufacturers' specifications and legislated regulations
  • write service reports

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.


Working Conditions

The working environment for heavy equipment technician – transport trailer mechanics varies considerably from one job to another. Some transport trailer mechanics work in modern laboratories overhauling fuel injection pumps and delivery systems. Others work at construction or industrial sites, sometimes outdoors in all types of weather conditions. Travel requirements and hours of work may also vary.

There is some risk of injury involved in working with heavy equipment and power tools. Proper safety standards are maintained at all times.


Skills and Abilities

The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy achieving expertise with precise work, problem solving and working with their hands.

To be successful in the trade, transport trailer mechanics must have:

  • good vision, hearing and sense of smell to diagnose problems
  • the strength and stamina required to work with heavy equipment and work in cramped or awkward positions
  • the ability to work alone or as part of a team
  • mechanical ability
  • the ability to think logically and keep up with changes in technology


Employment and Advancement

Transport trailer mechanics are employed in transportation company fleet repair shops, trailer dealerships, general mechanical repair shops, manufacturers' repair shops and specialized repair shops. In industries that are sensitive to economic changes, transport trailer mechanics may experience periods of unemployment.

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $30 to $60 an hour plus benefits.  Rates vary depending on the region.

Experienced journeypersons may advance to supervisor or service manager positions.


Working in Alberta

To work as a transport trailer mechanic in Alberta, a person must be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, or hold a valid recognized credential.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.


Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a heavy equipment technician - transport trailer mechanic is two years (two 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training in the first period, and a minimum of 1800 hours of on-the-job training in the second period.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the transport trailer mechanic trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship.  Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprenticeship representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a heavy equipment technician - transport trailer mechanic in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

  • satisfy the entrance requirements or pass the entrance exam (see Entrance Level Competencies, exam Counselling Sheet, Entrance Exam Study Guide, and Entrance Exam Support Materials List)
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice
    Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates or technical school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.
  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice transport trailer mechanics earn at least 60 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year and 70 percent in the second year. Apprentices are generally required to provide their own basic hand tools.
    - apprentices are required to provide their own tools (costs range from $10,000 to $25,000)
  • complete all program requirements as identified in the course outline
  • enroll in technical training
    - select an educational institution that offers training for heavy equipment technician - transport trailer mechanic apprentices, and a time to attend training
    - determine requirements for enrolling at the selected institution, and forward completed enrolment form to the selected institution
  • successfully complete all required exams
  • review books and materials required for training

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Apprentices involved in the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) stream in high school may be eligible for credit towards their apprenticeship first period training. 

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

The Transport Trailer Mechanic trade does not participate in the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program.


Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.


Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

More information regarding the Equivalency Program can be found here.