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Career profile Transportation Equipment Mechanic

Also known as Critical Systems Technician, Electronic Bench Technician, Electronics Mechanic, Locomotive Electrician, Power Technician (Power Tech), Ship Yard Electrical Person

Transportation Equipment Mechanic

Also known as Critical Systems Technician, Electronic Bench Technician, Electronics Mechanic

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$43,410 - $101,110 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
  • Operations Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Inspect and test electrical systems and equipment to locate and diagnose malfunctions, using visual inspections, testing devices, and computer software.
  • Reassemble and test equipment after repairs.
  • Confer with customers to determine the nature of problems or to explain repairs.
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What does a Transportation Equipment Mechanic do?

Transportation Equipment Mechanics install, adjust, or maintain mobile electronics communication equipment, including sound, sonar, security, navigation, and surveillance systems on trains, watercraft, or other mobile equipment.

What kind of tasks does a Transportation Equipment Mechanic perform regularly?

Transportation Equipment Mechanics are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Inspect and test electrical systems and equipment to locate and diagnose malfunctions, using visual inspections, testing devices, and computer software.
  • Reassemble and test equipment after repairs.
  • Adjust, repair, or replace defective wiring and relays in ignition, lighting, air-conditioning, and safety control systems, using electrician's tools.
  • Splice wires with knives or cutting pliers, and solder connections to fixtures and equipment.
  • Maintain equipment service records.
  • Locate and remove or repair circuit defects such as blown fuses or malfunctioning transistors.
  • Install fixtures, outlets, terminal boards, switches, and wall boxes, using hand tools.
  • Refer to schematics and manufacturers' specifications that show connections and provide instructions on how to locate problems.
  • Install new fuses, electrical cables, or power sources as required.
  • Cut openings and drill holes for fixtures and equipment, using electric drills and routers.

The above responsibilities are specific to Transportation Equipment Mechanics. More generally, Transportation Equipment Mechanics are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

What is a Transportation Equipment Mechanic salary?

The median salary for a Transportation Equipment Mechanic is $70,200, and the average salary is $70,440. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Transportation Equipment Mechanic salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Transportation Equipment Mechanics earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Transportation Equipment Mechanics earn less than $43,410 per year, 25% earn less than $55,850, 75% earn less than $82,790, and 90% earn less than $101,110.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Transportation Equipment Mechanics is expected to change by 6.6%, and there should be roughly 800 open positions for Transportation Equipment Mechanics every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$43,410 - $101,110
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Transportation Equipment Mechanics?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Transportation Equipment Mechanic are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Transportation Equipment Mechanics typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Transportation Equipment Mechanics typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Transportation Equipment Mechanic tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Transportation Equipment Mechanics moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Transportation Equipment Mechanics moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Transportation Equipment Mechanics moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Transportation Equipment Mechanics must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Transportation Equipment Mechanics, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

What education and training do Transportation Equipment Mechanics need?

Transportation Equipment Mechanics often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Transportation Equipment Mechanics usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Transportation Equipment Mechanics

  • 8.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 30.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.8% completed some college coursework
  • 16.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Transportation Equipment Mechanics

Transportation Equipment Mechanics may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as engineering and technology, computers and electronics, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Transportation Equipment Mechanics might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Important Abilities needed by Transportation Equipment Mechanics

Transportation Equipment Mechanics must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Transportation Equipment Mechanics need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, near vision, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Transportation Equipment Mechanics, ranked by their relative importance.

Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Visual Color Discrimination
The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.

Critical Skills needed by Transportation Equipment Mechanics

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Transportation Equipment Mechanics frequently use skills like critical thinking, active listening, and operations monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Transportation Equipment Mechanics, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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