Materials Technicians maintains and repairs land vehicles and related equipment. Materials Technicians belong to the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch of the Canadian Forces.
Their primary responsibilities are:
- Sheet metal work
- Work with textiles, fibreglass and composite
Materials Technicians experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in different environments. Materials Technicians are employed at bases and stations across Canada and on deployed operations around the world. While on a base, they may be working in small spaces, like a workshop. In the field or on deployment they may work outdoors most of the time or in temporary accommodations. Their work usually supports Army units, but they may also work with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Materials Technician is $49,400 per year; however, depending on your previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Material Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Soldier Qualification course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:
- Army Physical Fitness
- Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
- Reconnaissance Patrolling
- Advanced Weapons Handling
- Individual Field Craft
Materials Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Borden, Ontario for about a year. Using a combination of instruction, demonstrations and practical work, they learn the following skills:
- Shop mathematics
- Interpretation of mechanical drawings and blueprints
- Power and hand tools
- Metallurgy and heat treatment
- Pattern development and layout
- Gas Metal Arc
- Gas Tungsten Arc
- Shielded-metal Arc
- Plasma arc cutting
- Metal surface refinishing
- Autobody repair and refinishing
- Rust-proofing and retreatment
- Drilling, threading and reaming
- Textile repair
- Sewing-machine repair
- Respirator repair
- Repair of Fibreglass and composite materials
- Identification of metals, alloys and plastics
Materials Technicians are posted to a Canadian Forces Base for about 18 months of on-the-job training, which resembles a civilian apprenticeship program.
Materials Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including a 27-week intermediate training course. At the end of this training phase, a Materials Technician’s trade knowledge, skills and experience are comparable to those of a civilian journeyman.
There is also the possibility to take training to reach Supervisor and Manager levels. The Supervisor level course takes about 13 weeks, and the Manager level course takes about nine weeks.
As they progress in their career, Materials Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Advanced Machining
- Advanced Welding
- Non-Destructive Testing Techniques
- Military Bridging Inspection
- ISO Sea Container Inspection
- Occupational Health and Safety
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.