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Agricultural Equipment Technician

Duties

Agricultural equipment technicians repair, overhaul and maintain agricultural equipment including tractors, tillage equipment, seeding equipment and harvesting equipment.

Agricultural equipment technicians may specialize in service and repair of fuel injection pumps and injectors, engine overhaul, hydraulic systems, power shift transmissions or specific types of equipment (combines, forage harvesteres, tractors, etc.).

In general, agricultural equipment technicians:

  • service and repair engines, transmissions, hydraulic systems, and the electrical and electronic systems of agricultural equipment,
  • pinpoint problems by discussing equipment operation with owners, visually checking and listening to machinery in operation, and using testing equipment,
  • take defective units apart and repair or replace broken, worn-out or faulty parts, reassemble, adjust, lubricate and test repaired units,
  • assemble and adjust new agricultural equipment, and
  • learn and apply precision farm technologies such as automated steering systems.

Agricultural equipment technicians must keep up-to-date with new developments in the agricultural equipment field.

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

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Working Conditions

Agricultural equipment technicians may work in the comfort of a fully equipped service centre or they may have to travel to farms to make service calls. Hours of work vary from a regular 40 hours per week to seasonal overtime opportunities.

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Skills and Abilities

The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy working with their hands and who are capable of diagnosing a variety of complex mechanical, hydraulic and electrical problems.

To be successful in the trade, agricultural equipment technicians need:

  • mechanical ability and good eye-hand coordination,
  • the strength required to lift heavy machine parts,
  • the ability to read and understand technical information,
  • the ability to work independently with little supervision,
  • flexibility in working extra hours when required,
  • some experience in the agriculture industry,
  • math, communication and computer skills,
  • effective interpersonal skills in meeting the challenges of the workplace, and
  • a valid driver's license.

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Employment and Advancement

Most agricultural equipment technicians are employed by retail agricultural equipment dealerships. Where a number of technicians are employed by one business, the opportunity exists for advancement to supervisory positions.

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $30 to $45 an hour, plus benefits, depending on the region.

Agricultural equipment technicians can move into sales positions or become manufacturers' service representatives. Individuals may move into management positions with the company or purchase an agricultural equipment dealership.

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Working in Alberta

To work as an agricultural equipment technician in Alberta, a person must:

  • be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, hold a valid recognized credential , OR
  • work for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson, OR
  • be self-employed.

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

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Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for an agricultural equipment technician is 4 years (four 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the agricultural equipment technician 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 apprentice representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  For more information, see the online Prior Learning Assessment Guide.
  • 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 agricultural equipment technician in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees. 

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • 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 agricultural equipment technicians earn at least 60 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70 percent in the second, 80 percent in the third, and 90 percent in the fourth year.
  • complete all program requirements as identified in the course outline
  • enroll in technical training
    - select an educational institution that offers training for agricultural equipment technician apprentices, and a time to attend training
    - determine requirements for enrolling at the selected institution, and forward completed enrolment form to the selected institution
  • review books and materials required for training
  • successfully complete all required exams

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

Apprentices may attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal.

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

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.

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Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

An agricultural equipment technician who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

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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 a training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.

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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.

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