From working on marine vessels to repairing diesel-powered vehicles, earning a degree in diesel technology can open up many new career opportunities across the nation.
Entering this field of expertise can be both rewarding and demanding, which is why earning a diesel technology degree at an accredited school is essential to becoming a successful diesel mechanic.
Diesel mechanics focus on repairing and maintaining diesel-powered engines on trains, ships, buses, and ships, which demands an in-depth knowledge of the engine, brake, and electrical systems. Diesel-powered vehicles need to be able to drive millions of mile per year without breaking down, which could potentially affect the commerce industry.
To repair and maintain diesel-powered engines, mechanics need to be able to troubleshoot potential issues by running diagnostic tests to ensure the right malfunctioning parts are replaced.
Because the trucking industry plays a vital role in commerce, diesel mechanics need to be able to rebuild engines regularly, which is typically every 100,000 miles, to maintain optimal performance levels. Mechanics understand how to check the water-cooling systems as well as clean oil and air filters, preventing potential engine malfunctions.
Diesel Mechanic Demand
The 2010 report predicts that the demand for mechanics is expected to increase by 15 percent between the years of 2010 and 2020, providing diesel technicians with 35,200 more job opportunities.
A recent report by the BLS shows that the top five states hiring diesel mechanics include:
- Texas: 21,180 jobs with an annual mean wage of $40,460
- California: 18,620 jobs with an annual mean wage of $49,710
- New York: 11,300 jobs with an annual mean wage of $50,430
- Ohio: 10,090 jobs with an annual mean wage of $42,750
- Pennsylvania: 10,080 jobs with an annual mean wage of $41,830
The demand for diesel mechanics vary with each state and industry, requiring aspiring mechanics to have the right level of educational training and hands-on experience in order to obtain the desired position. According to the BLS, the top five industries with the highest employment demand for diesel mechanics include:
- General Freight Trucking: 32,020 jobs
- Local Government: 21,160 jobs
- Supply Merchant Wholesalers: 18,950 jobs
- Automotive Repair and Maintenance: 18,320 jobs
- Specialized Freight Trucking: 13,740 jobs
Most employers in the United States only hire diesel mechanics who have earned a high school diploma and a degree in diesel technology.
Individuals can choose between an Associate of Science in Diesel Technology, which takes at least two years to complete, and a Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology, which takes as least four years to complete.
Students can attend a vocational, community, or technical school, but the diesel technology program should be accredited through the proper organization, such as the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
Associate degree programs provide students with classroom instruction and lab experience in a garage or lab setting. Diesel technology programs help students learn diesel technology methodologies and techniques to develop the necessary practical skills for auto machinery.
Students will need to be able to successfully troubleshoot and repair diesel-powered vehicles, diagnose mechanical issues, implement repair plans, and control engine services.
For those who wish to further their career in diesel technology, diesel mechanic schools offer a bachelor’s degree, which prepares diesel mechanics for management positions. Bachelor programs train students on the core fundamentals of diesel technology methodologies and techniques, covering topics in mathematics, natural sciences, and humanities. Coursework may include:
- Air conditioning systems
- Preventative maintenance
- Electrical systems
- Power transmissions
- Braking systems
- Diesel engine systems
Diesel Mechanic Certification
Most states do not require diesel mechanics to earn national certification in this field, but many employers prefer to hire those who have earned special certification, showing the diesel mechanics have successfully met the industry’s standards.
Graduates can earn national certification through an accredited institution, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Testing will cover subjects on preventative maintenance, electrical systems, and braking systems of diesel engines.
Individuals entering into the field of diesel technology can choose between a variety of employment opportunities, including diesel engine technicians, heavy duty technicians, fuel system specialists, diesel service managers, and manufacturer technicians.
Depending on the degree level, previous work experience, and company location, diesel mechanics can expect to get paid a mean annual salary of $40,850, averaging out to $19.64 per hour.
According to the BLS, individuals seeking a higher paying position may find employment opportunities in the top five paying states.
- Hawaii: $58,420 with an hourly mean wage of $28.09
- Alaska: $55,910 with an hourly mean wage of $26.88
- Wyoming: $54,710 with an hourly mean wage of $26.31
- Nevada: $53,360 with an hourly mean wage of $25.65
- Connecticut: $52,490 with an hourly mean wage of $25.23
Choosing a career in diesel technology will open many new career opportunities for individuals across the nation.
If you are searching for an accredited diesel technology program, take a minute or two to research potential accredited colleges near you.