The growth of the economy has greatly increased the number of diesel-powered vehicles needed to help power this growth.
Being the first choice among shipping and transportation companies, diesel engines offer more power and better fuel economy than its gasoline-powered counterparts.
With consumer spending increasing, retailers and manufacturers alike are demanding more from these shipping companies with larger and larger orders.
As companies expand their fleets to meet this demand, the need for certified diesel mechanics to help service and repair these diesel vehicles is growing on a daily basis.
Companies throughout Kansas are having difficulty finding the certified talent they need, creating numerous career opportunities for individuals looking to enter this fast-paced and exciting industry. Individuals who wish to become certified diesel mechanics need to first obtain a certificate or degree in diesel technology.
Before enrolling in a diesel mechanic certification program, all students must meet the required prerequisites that most vocational schools and community colleges in Kansas have.
The primary prerequisite these schools share is that potential students need to earn their high school diploma or GED prior to enrollment. Some community colleges and state universities have stricter requirements, with students having to provide evidence they have completed two years of high school math and science as well as four years of English.
While some companies waive the educational requirements for diesel mechanics who have several years of experience, most businesses in Kansas seek applicants who have earned their degree or certificate in diesel technology.
Depending on the need, some companies have started sponsoring training courses for applicants to earn their certification at the employer’s expense, but most individuals who want to enter the diesel industry need to earn a degree in diesel technology.
Before submitting a single college application, potential students should verify that their school of choice is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), as most employers prefer to hire graduates from these programs. Upon acceptance into the program, students who wish to earn their degree in diesel technology can choose between following the Associate of Science in Diesel Technology or the Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology.
Associate of Science in Diesel Technology
Taking anywhere from two to three years to complete, an associate’s degree in diesel technology gives students the training they need to become a diesel mechanic while providing core classes for continuing their education.
This hands-on degree provides students with the opportunity to get their hands dirty by repairing, diagnosing, and maintaining diesel engines.
The associate’s degree program in diesel technology covers most of the skills needed to land an entry-level diesel mechanic job after graduation.
Common courses in the associate’s degree program include the following:
- Heavy duty brakes
- Power trains
- AC systems
- Electrical systems
- Diesel engine technology
- Fuel systems
- Power transmissions
Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology
Taking up to five years to graduate, a bachelor’s degree in diesel technology is perfect for students who want to advance up the career ladder into a management position at a diesel garage or shipping company. Students learn everything they need to properly diagnose and repair diesel engines as well as to discover proper management techniques and styles.
Individuals in the bachelor’s degree program also take core classes, such as mathematics, natural sciences, and humanities, to help round out their education.
Additional career-specific courses may include:
- Diesel shop management
- Diesel engines lab
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
- Diesel fuel systems
- Heavy duty automatics
- Welding theory
- AC and heating systems
- Diesel electrical systems
Certification in Kansas
Although the state of Kansas does not require diesel mechanics to be certified to legally work there, companies throughout Kansas prefer to hire applicants who have already earned their certificate or degree in diesel technology.
After having a few years of experience as a diesel mechanic, individuals who wish to work their way up the corporate ladder can pursue the certification offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
Designed to test mechanics in the areas of electrical systems, preventative maintenance, steering systems, and brakes, this certification helps diesel mechanics prove their dedication and knowledge of the diesel industry to potential employers.
Based on research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), companies throughout Kansas currently employ 2,670 diesel mechanics, offering them an average salary of $41,650 per year. By 2022, growth in the diesel mechanic industry is expected to add another 21,600 positions for diesel mechanics throughout the country.
Based on current trends, some of the potential employment opportunities for today’s diesel mechanic students may include:
- Local Garages: Large and small diesel garages will need to increase staff to keep up with the growing demand on diesel vehicles.
- Couriers and Express Delivery Services: With online shopping and the e-commerce industry growing at exponential rates, delivery companies will need additional diesel vehicles to transport goods from retailer to customer. Diesel mechanics will be in charge of maintaining the fleet of vehicles and making any necessary repairs.
- Charter Bus Industry: As more baby boomers reach retirement age, day trips on charter buses will become a popular choice of travel without the burden of driving. Companies will hire diesel mechanics to keep the charter buses running in tip-top shape.
Companies throughout Kansas and around the United States are clamoring for certified diesel mechanics to help keep the diesel fleets in functioning in optimal condition. As the demand for diesel-powered vehicles grows and diesel engines log more miles than ever, the need for certified diesel mechanics is expected to grow faster than normal.
Individuals who wish to join this growing industry should actively pursue earning a certificate or degree in diesel technology to increase their chances of success as certified diesel mechanics in Kansas.