The term "field mechanic" is a general label given to any service technician who will travel to a location to diagnose and/or repair machinery or equipment. A field mechanic usually works on vehicles or heavy machinery, though other types of mechanics do exist. The training this professional needs will vary according to the types of jobs he or she will perform on site. Some technicians may need a four-year degree, while others may need only a professional certificate and/or on the job training. In most applications, the mechanic will need to earn at least a high school diploma.
A field mechanic who works on heavy machinery is likely to travel to construction sites, mines, quarries, factories, and warehouses to work on a variety of different equipment. In some cases, it may be necessary for the field mechanic to undergo training specific to one piece of machinery, as well as a much broader battery of training to deal with various pieces of machinery. The mechanic's job may involve driving heavy machinery, which means he or she will also need to obtain the proper licenses for such operation. A commercial driver's license (CDL) is almost always required.
Once on site, the field mechanic may need to do diagnostic tests on a particular piece of machinery to figure out what the problem is. Very often the mechanic will need to perform the repairs entirely on site, which means he or she is likely to transport the necessary tools to the site in a truck or van. Doing repairs on site can be difficult, since changing weather conditions can be a factor, inadequate workspaces are likely, and job sites in general can be dangerous. On larger jobs, the field mechanic is likely to work with an assistant not only for ease of conducting repairs, but also for better safety.
If parts need to be fabricated, the field mechanic may be responsible for doing so, but it is likely he or she will need to go back to a workshop where such parts can be machined to the specific tolerances required for the job. Welding processes may need to be done as well, and in some cases the welding can be done on site. The mechanic will need to be properly trained on how to use welding equipment safely and efficiently. If parts need to be ordered, the mechanic will be responsible for placing such orders and procuring the parts in a timely manner.