As consumer spending continues to increase throughout Canada, the number of retail goods that each person purchases also grows. Over the last few decades, the average distance from manufacturer to retailer has gone from only a few miles to thousands of miles.
As the distance from manufacturer to retailer grows farther apart, the demand for diesel-powered vehicles to transport those goods increases drastically.
Throughout Canada, companies are having a difficult time finding the certified diesel mechanics needed to help maintain and repair the companies’ growing diesel fleets. Individuals who earn their diesel mechanic certification will discover that opportunities abound in Canada.
To become certified, Canadians have several educational paths they can pursue to gain the credentials they need to work legally in this country.
Most employers want potential job applicants to have a diesel mechanic certification in order to be considered for any open positions. In Canada, individuals have several different options they can pursue to get their required diesel mechanic training. Those seeking a career as a diesel mechanic can either earn a certificate in diesel technology or work as an apprentice with a diesel mechanic company, increasing their career opportunities and job stability.
Diesel Mechanic Certification
Most individuals seeking to become certified diesel mechanics decide to pursue their education over an apprenticeship program. By having a certificate or degree, students are able to set themselves apart when applying for open diesel mechanic positions.
Aspiring diesel mechanics who wish to obtain their certificate or associate’s degree in diesel technology can choose between a number of brick-and-mortar and distance learning options.
Although curriculums differ from school to school, most programs cover the following topics:
- Computerized truck and bus systems management
- Brake and transmission systems
- Diesel engine fundamentals
- Offshore drilling installations
- Marine vessel diesel engines
- Hydromechanical diesel fuel injection systems
- Battery testing
- Diesel tool operation
Depending on the program, most diesel technology certificates take up to twelve months to complete. Students who earn their associate’s degree in diesel technology can expect to spend two to three years before graduating from the diesel mechanic program. Both options qualify graduates for entry-level diesel mechanic positions at an upstanding company.
After completing an associate’s degree in diesel technology, some students may decide to continue on with their education and earn their bachelor’s degree. Those who opt for the extra schooling qualify themselves for future promotions to management positions.
Diesel Mechanic Apprenticeship
Some individuals may earn their certification through apprenticeship opportunities with diesel mechanic companies. If an aspiring diesel mechanic lives in an area with a large concentration of diesel mechanic companies or companies that own diesel fleets, the chances of securing an apprenticeship is greater due to the increased demand to find qualified candidates.
While most aspiring diesel mechanics in Canada rather earn their degree or certificate in diesel technology, networked individuals may find a company willing to train them.
Companies that are willing to hire apprentices often look for mechanical-minded individuals, and potential apprentices need to know how to control precision machinery, reprogram control modules, and implement computer diagnostic tools.
If the applicant is still in high school, the Canadian High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP) requires the student to be at least 16 years old. Applicants must either have already graduated high school or currently be a senior in high school in order to be considered eligible for the apprenticeship program.
Apprenticeship programs take three years to complete and consist of three different levels. Up to 20 percent of the training takes place in a classroom setting, with instructors teaching apprentices the technical and theoretical aspects of diesel repair. The remaining 80 percent of the apprenticeship involves on-the-job training, with practical skills and techniques taught through the supervision and example of a certified journeyperson.
Canada mandates that these programs need to maintain a one-to-one ratio of apprentices to certified journeypersons on any job site. The assigned certified journeyperson must maintain direct supervision over the apprentice at all times on the work site. The pay rate during an apprenticeship is often established by the specific province the apprentice is located in, with each province having an established minimum wage employers must abide by for the duration of the program.
After the three-year program is complete, the apprentice must write a provincial examination to prove they have learned the required diesel mechanic skills. Apprentices are required to score at least 70 percent on their exams to earn a Certificate of Qualification and become a certified diesel journeyperson.
Diesel Mechanic Salary In Canada
While Statistics Canada does not provide salary data for diesel mechanics, certain Canadian job boards do allow diesel mechanics to upload their salary information. According to Payscale.com, the average hourly rate for diesel mechanics is C$24.59, with the low end reaching C$14.57 per hour and the upper end topping out at C$32.82 per hour.
Another job board, Wowjobs.ca, states that the average salary for diesel mechanics is C$52,377 a year. As with all careers, entry-level diesel mechanics will start on the lower end of the pay scale, climbing up the corporate ladder through years of hard work and dedication.
Although Statistics Canada does not break down the career outlook for diesel mechanics specifically, the 2006 Census of Canada shows that approximately 377,030 Canadians were employed as certified diesel mechanics at that time.
According to research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for the diesel mechanic industry in the United States is expected to reach nine percent by 2022, with the growth rate in Canada for diesel mechanics reflecting that of the United States fairly closely.
The field of diesel technology and mechanics is an exciting career opportunity for those who enjoy working on vehicles and applying critical-thinking skills to diagnose and repair engine problems.
Individuals who wish to start a career as a diesel mechanic in Canada should pursue the certifications they need prior to applying for open positions. Diesel mechanics who earn their certification may find their skills to be in high demand by companies throughout Canada.