A diesel mechanic is an expert on the maintenance and repair of modes of transportation equipped with diesel fuel systems and engines, such as cars, buses, trucks, boats and tractors. Diesel is the engine of choice for trucks, heavy machinery, and marine engines. The technology has always required a specialized skill set. In this mechanic's specialty, ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification is highly desired.
Diesel mechanic positions are good working-class jobs that are accessible to those with only a high school education plus relevant work experience. Some jobs are even available to those without a high school diploma, although many employers now prefer some level of postsecondary training. As a result, more aspiring diesel mechanics are pursuing vocational certification to demonstrate their knowledge and skills to prospective employers. Others go further, finishing a 2-year associate's program in diesel technology.
After getting a certificate or degree, graduates need to get some solid work experience. At least two years of work experience is needed to get ASE-certified and several more may be necessary to find entry-level employment as a diesel mechanic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The accreditation organization affiliated with ASE is the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Diesel mechanic programs should be NATEF-accredited.
Certificates programs that focus on the fundamentals of diesel and industrial technology last anywhere from a few months to a few years. These programs are offered at standalone technical schools, community colleges, some universities, and even by employers who hire those they train. Aspiring mechanics should acquire a set of hand tools with items like prybars, multimeters and torque wrenches, as many schools and employers expect students and workers to bring their own.
During school, students master the basics of diesel technology, from engines and transmissions to cooling, electrical and electronic systems. They learn to make diagnoses, do tune-ups, rebuild parts, and carry out preventative care. They learn how to follow vendor procedures for maintaining tools and equipment and how to troubleshoot problems quickly and effectively. Coursework at a diesel mechanic technical school might include:
The best diesel mechanic schools prepare students to take ASE certification exams. For example, mechanics can earn the Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification by demonstrating they have the skills to assess problems of efficiency and performance on medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Other ASE certifications include:
Some programs let students take electives in vendor products like Cummins, Paccar and Allison. Diesel mechanics with expertise in these areas are valuable to employers. Qualified technicians may pursue certification with the ASE in one or more specialties to demonstrate their prowess.
Diesel mechanics may need to obtain a certificate of fitness from a provider like the municipal fire department to ensure they can safely perform heavy manual labor. Depending on the work environment, some mechanics need to be medically qualified to wear a respirator, too. To get a head start, many mechanics-in-training earn these qualifications before they hit the job market. While they are in school, students should also work on getting a valid driver's license if they do not already have one. The ideal diesel technician has a commercial driver's license.
What jobs can you get with a certificate in Diesel Technology?
Associate credentials help applicants compete for desirable positions and promote within organizations once they are hired. The degree also affords mechanics the opportunity to expand their background knowledge and workplace communication skills. That is, diesel mechanics are not only gearheads. They need excellent writing and verbal abilities. Many employers also expect computer proficiency. Students have more time to learn such 'soft' skills in an associate's program. These programs also let students dive more deeply into the underlying physics and mathematics of diesel tech.
There are many pathways for advancement in this field that can lead to surprisingly high salaries. The more experience and specialized skills diesel mechanics acquire, the more opportunities are available. Diesel mechanics who have welding certification, fabrication skills or DOT approval to perform brake inspections, for example, are perfect for positions with these specifications.
Courses for an Associate of Applied Science in Diesel Technology typically includes:
What careers are open to those with associate degrees?
We found 250 schools offering diesel mechanic degree programs in the U.S.
|Somerset County Technology Institute||Bridgewater||NJ||532|
|Somerset Technical College||Somerset||KY||546|
|South Georgia Technical College||Americus||GA||1319|
|South Plains College||Levelland||TX||6731|
|South Texas College||Mcallen||TX||11319|
|Southeast Community College Area||Lincoln||NE||7396|
|Southeast Technical Institute||Sioux Falls||SD||2283|
|Southeastern Illinois College||Harrisburg||IL||2508|
|Southeastern Technical Institute||South Easton||MA||147|
|Southern Oklahoma Technology Center||Ardmore||OK||172|
|Southwest Kansas Technical School||Liberal||KS||183|
|Southwest Mississippi Community College||Summit||MS||1651|
|Sowela Technical Community College||Lake Charles||LA||1243|
|Spokane Community College||Spokane||WA||7767|
|St Philips College||San Antonio||TX||7921|
|Suny College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill||Cobleskill||NY||2303|
|Suny College of Technology at Alfred||Alfred||NY||2735|
|T H Pickens Technical Center||Aurora||CO||765|
|Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton||Elizabethton||TN||458|
|Tennessee Technology Center at Harriman||Harriman||TN||230|
|Tennessee Technology Center at Knoxville||Knoxville||TN||779|
|Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis||Memphis||TN||604|
|Texas Southmost College||Brownsville||TX||7776|
|Texas State Technical College - Waco||Waco||TX||3814|
|Texas State Technical College - West Texas||Sweetwater||TX||948|
|Trinidad State Junior College||Trinidad||CO||1921|
|Truckee Meadows Community College||Reno||NV||9930|
|Tulsa Technology Center - Lemley Campus||Tulsa||OK||243|
|Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center||Roosevelt||UT||223|
|Universal Technical Institute of Arizona Inc||Avondale||AZ||2091|
|Universal Technical Institute of Texas Inc||Houston||TX||1625|
|University of Alaska Anchorage||Anchorage||AK||14794|
|University of Arkansas Community College - Hope||Hope||AR||1176|
|University of Northwestern Ohio||Lima||OH||2046|
|Utah Valley State College||Orem||UT||20946|
|Uti of Illinois Inc||Glendale Heights||IL||1407|
|Washington County Adult Skill Center||Abingdon||VA||231|
|Washington County Community College||Calais||ME||239|
|Wayne County Community College District||Detroit||MI||9008|
|Weber State University||Ogden||UT||16050|
|West Hills Community College||Coalinga||CA||4344|
|West Kentucky Technical College||Paducah||KY||1518|
|Western Dakota Technical Institute||Rapid City||SD||966|
|Western Iowa Tech Community College||Sioux City||IA||4365|
|Western Technology Center||Burns Flat||OK||179|
|Western Wisconsin Technical College||La Crosse||WI||4928|
|Williston State College||Williston||ND||517|