Becoming a Diesel Mechanic in Florida
Becoming a diesel mechanic is an excellent choice for those seeking a well-compensated and secure career. Because of the widespread use of various types of diesel engines, this field is one that is experiencing sustained growth, leading to a variety of employment options for current and new mechanics alike.
Working as a Diesel Mechanic in Florida
Like most states, Florida is heavily dependent on commercial trucking and rail transport to obtain goods and services. Almost all of these vehicles are powered by diesel engines, leading to the need for qualified diesel service technicians and mechanics to maintain and repair them.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are nearly 9,000 specialized bus and truck diesel mechanics in Florida with many other mechanics specializing in other fields, such as the repair of diesel engines in passenger cars or small engines used in appliances.
These numbers are expected to continue to increase, with the over all job opportunities for diesel mechanics expected to increase by at least 15% between 2010 and 2020.
Furthermore, due to the age of many currently employed diesel mechanics, retirement is expected to become a major factor in the growing demand for new mechanics.
Becoming a Diesel Mechanic
Florida has no state licensure requirements for diesel mechanics, although most new diesel mechanics are trained at diesel mechanic programs. These programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools and adult education programs.
Although some mechanics do learn their trade on the job or via apprenticeship, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have received some level of formal training.
A diesel mechanic-training program will take between six months and two years to complete, depending on the nature of the program and the student’s schedule.
In addition to covering the basic aspects of diesel engine operation and repair, many programs have other classes that cover subjects such as drive trains, emission control systems, and electronic diagnostic systems.
In some cases, the student may choose to take courses that will allow him or her to repair other vehicle systems, which will increase the time required to complete the program.
Online and Distance Learning
Many schools offer online and distance learning programs. These programs make use of the Internet in order to allow the student to attend class without having to physically travel to the school. This can be very helpful for students who are currently working, live inconveniently far from the school or are raising a family.
In many cases, these programs allow the student to view class sessions via webcam and even speak with the instructor during a class session. In other cases, the student can communicate with the instructor via email or instant messages. Because of this, online learning can be just as effective as being in the classroom itself.
However, some courses, especially those that have a requirement for practical or hands on instruction, may require that all students physically attend the class. Students considering completing an online or distance learning program should speak with the school faculty to determine if there are any classes that they must physically attend.
In addition, many schools offer part-time schedules for those students who cannot attend on a full time basis. Part-time students have flexible schedules that can allow them to attend school even if they are currently working at a full-time job. This can be especially beneficial for older students who already have a family that they must support.
Specialized Diesel Engine Training
While all diesel engines operate on the same principles, some diesel engines, such as marine engines and small appliance engines, may require specialized training. Because of this, students who are interested in working on these engines should evaluate potential schools based on how effectively they can provide this specialized training.
In some cases, the student may be required to complete a diesel engine mechanic program before they can receive this specialized training.
Some schools offer internship programs to qualified students. These programs allow the student to obtain experience, while also benefitting from the guidance of his or her instructors.
In addition, an internship may eventually lead to a full-time job with the organization the student is working with.
In many cases, an internship will be referred to as an apprenticeship, especially if the individual receiving instruction is being trained directly by the company rather than currently attending a diesel mechanic program.
Diesel Engine Mechanic Certification
Although certification is not required by Florida, obtaining certification can help improve a mechanic’s salary options and job security. Because of this, many diesel mechanics seek to obtain certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The ASE provides a number of specialized certifications to those diesel mechanics who can complete the ASE requirements to be certified.
Certifications include such specialties as electronic engine control systems, drive trains, and pollution control systems.
It is possible for a mechanic to obtain an ASE certification in more than one area, and many mechanics maintain multiple certifications in order to demonstrate their skill in the field of diesel repair and maintenance.
Ultimately, becoming a trained diesel mechanic can be an excellent choice in today’s economy. Whether the mechanic is working in a small neighborhood garage or is part of a major corporation’s repair team, this field can provide excellent salary and professional advancement options.
Because of this, the field of diesel engine repair is becoming increasingly attractive for newly graduated individuals and those seeking to transition from an unsatisfactory job to a more rewarding career alike.