Agricultural Equipment Technician – National Occupational Analysis (NOA)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as the national standard for the occupation of Agricultural Equipment Technician.

Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Mécanicien/mécanicienne de machinerie agricole

NOC: 7312

Designation Year: 1992

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Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Agricultural Equipment Technician

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General Information


“Agricultural Equipment Technician” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by agricultural equipment technicians whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:














Agricultural Equipment Technician









Agricultural Machinery Technician


Agricultural equipment technicians set up, maintain, service, diagnose, repair and recondition agricultural equipment. This equipment includes tractors and combines, as well as a variety of implements for agricultural functions such as tillage, seeding, planting, harvesting, haying, spraying and application. Agricultural equipment technicians may also work on outdoor power equipment. While they are involved in preventative maintenance, agricultural equipment technicians spend most of their time diagnosing and repairing malfunctioning or out of service equipment, either in the shop or in the field.

Agricultural equipment technicians must be able to service and repair gasoline and diesel engines, drive train systems and components, hydraulic, hydrostatic and pneumatic systems, electrical and electronic systems, steering and braking systems, structural components, operator station and other related support systems. They also assemble and adjust new agricultural equipment, perform scheduled maintenance service such as oil changes, lubrication and tune-ups, take defective units apart, and repair or replace broken, worn-out or faulty parts. Agricultural equipment technicians may specialize in certain types of equipment or in repairing one particular manufacturer’s product line.

Agricultural equipment technicians must also have good communication and customer service skills, since they often interact with clients. They teach clients how to operate new equipment, discuss equipment operation, and consult with them to pinpoint problems and determine their specific needs.

Agricultural equipment technicians work in the agriculture sector for equipment manufacturers, dealerships and independent repair shops or on large farms. They can also be self-employed. The equipment they work on and the hours tend to change according to the season.

The work often requires considerable standing, climbing, crouching, balancing on equipment and heavy lifting. Technicians must be able to diagnose complex problems and interpret technical manuals and schematics.

Due to the size and complexity of the equipment, safety is of prime importance. Technicians must practice safe operating procedures and be conscious of the impact on people, equipment, work area and environment when performing their work. There is risk of serious injury when working with agricultural equipment.

This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of automotive service technicians, truck and transport mechanics, heavy duty equipment technicians, small engine mechanics and welders.

With experience, agricultural equipment technicians may act as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may also advance to become shop supervisors, service managers, sales people or manufacturers’ service representatives. Some may also open their own dealerships or businesses.

Occupational Observations

Electronic systems and controllers are now standard on both new agricultural equipment and adapted to existing equipment. However, new emission control regulations have led to new technology developments in the engine control system. The complexity of the equipment has increased as a result of stringent emission standards.

New specialized diagnostic and testing tools such as laptop computers and engine analysis units are being used. The use of remote diagnostics through Global Positioning System (GPS), cellular and Bluetooth has become a trend. To increase machine efficiency, engine performance, and to decrease fuel consumption, the popularity of continuously variable transmissions (CVT) is rising.

Investments by clients on larger, quicker and more sophisticated multi-purpose equipment have increased. There are fewer investments in a number of smaller machines performing one task.

The technician’s job is becoming more complex due to an increase in the complexity of equipment and diversification in the agricultural industry. Farming has become more efficient through the use of precision equipment. This has led to increased training requirements for technicians.

Individual dealerships are being purchased by larger organizations, creating multi-location dealerships. Technicians now service larger territories.

Environmental concerns such as soil conservation are on the rise. Eco-friendly equipment and bio fuels are becoming increasingly available. However, the viability of these options is still limited.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

Tools are available online or for order.

The essential skills profile for the appliance service technician trade indicates that the most important essential skills are document use, oral communication and decision making.

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile. Here is a link to the complete essential skills profile.

Agricultural equipment technicians read documents such as service bulletins, instruction and service manuals, brochures, pamphlets and work orders to diagnose problems, determine repairs and determine operation of machinery. They may also read farm periodicals to broaden their agricultural knowledge. They read safety related information such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn how to safely handle hazardous materials.

Documents that agricultural equipment technicians work with include work orders, checklists, and service manuals. They also consult and interpret a variety of graphs, charts and technical drawings such as tables, sketches and schematics.

Agricultural equipment technicians write detailed notes and descriptions about jobs. They must write detailed notes to keep records of their observations and recommendations for themselves, manufacturers, colleagues and clients.

Agricultural equipment technicians use numeracy skills to take a variety of measurements such as tolerances, rates of flow and pressure. They also calculate perimeters, volumes and areas. They may estimate and calculate labour time to prepare repair quotes and invoices.

Agricultural equipment technicians use oral communication skills to discuss job details with colleagues, apprentices, manufacturers and clients. They need the ability to translate technical information to common terms. They may also instruct and instil understanding and knowledge of equipment to clients when assisting in setting up new machines.

Problem solving skills are used by agricultural equipment technicians to diagnose the cause of problems. Agricultural equipment technicians use decision making skills to decide the course of action to recommend after identifying the problem. They plan and organize their work in order to accomplish their tasks efficiently.

Agricultural equipment technicians use databases to access customer information, specifics of previously completed work and details on parts information and prices. They use communications software such as email to exchange information with manufacturers, colleagues and clients. They use diagnostic equipment that runs software applications and codes to determine operational data. They may access specifications, technical drawings and training materials through the Internet, CDs and DVDs.

Agricultural equipment technicians mostly work independently but they may seek advice and assistance from other technicians. At farm sites, they work in close communication with the client.

Agricultural equipment technicians learn by talking to colleagues, manufacturers and service managers and by reading trade specific publications, operators manuals and repair manuals. They read bulletins about new products and specific problems. They may attend in-house presentations or training from manufacturers. They also continuously learn through a variety of work experiences.


The CCDA and HRSDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special acknowledgement is extended by HRSDC and the CCDA to the following representatives from the trade.

  • Kevin Brandics - Alberta
  • Eric Deziel - Ontario
  • Philip Eggerman - Saskatchewan
  • Doug Havenga - Prince Edward Island
  • Serge Lamarche - Ontario
  • Bryce Lawson - New Brunswick
  • Justin Meena - Saskatchewan
  • Morgan Salsman - Nova Scotia
  • Scott Unrau - Manitoba

This analysis was prepared by the Labour Market Integration Directorate of HRSDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division. The host jurisdiction of Saskatchewan also participated in the development of this NOA.

Comments or questions about National Occupational Analyses may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9