For some, the sight and smell of large diesel trucks barreling down the highway is both unpleasant and unwanted.
For others, the booming diesel transport business is seen as an opportunity to begin an exciting career in a stable industry.
With consumer spending reaching pre-recession levels, shipping and transportation companies are having trouble keeping up with the increase in manufacturer and retailer demand.
Businesses throughout Massachusetts are actively increasing their shipping fleets and requiring their current trucks to travel longer and farther.
This demand is creating numerous opportunities for diesel mechanics who have earned their certification. Those who want to become a diesel mechanic should first consider earning their degree in diesel technology to open up new employment opportunities in Massachusetts.
Before submitting their application to enroll in a diesel mechanic certification program, aspiring diesel mechanics should first verify that they meet the educational prerequisites of their school of choice.
For most, the only prerequisite is for students to have completed their GED or high school diploma before the first day of classes.
If the diesel technology program is through a prominent state university or college, students may run into more stringent requirements, such as taking two years of science and math in high school.
Most diesel mechanic companies screen job applicants based on whether or not they have completed their degree in diesel technology.
Due to an extreme need for qualified workers, a few employers have started waiving certification requirements for those who have several years of work experience.
Individuals who do not have the necessary experience can complete the proper training and certification, allowing them to get past the initial screening process.
Choosing an accredited school to complete their diesel technology program is critical to earning one’s certification. Potential students are encouraged to verify that the diesel technology program is properly certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
Employers nationwide recognize NATEF accreditation as the gold standard among diesel certification programs and are more likely to hire graduates from schools that hold this accreditation.
Associate of Science in Diesel Technology
Students who want to earn their degree have a choice between two different programs. The Associate of Science in Diesel Technology is the shorter degree option, with most students completing the program within two to three years.
Students learn the hands-on training and experience they need to maintain and repair diesel engines successfully.
With most courses set in a lab or garage setting, students in this program will typically learn the following subjects:
- Fuel systems
- Electrical systems
- Diesel engine technology
- Power trains
- Power transmissions
- AC systems
- Heavy-duty brakes
Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology
The second-degree option is the Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology, which goes much deeper into the science behind diesel engines.
Students can expect to spend four to five years in this program, with many of the courses involving the engineering and technology behind diesel combustion.
This deeper understanding allows graduates of this program to better diagnose uncommon diesel engine issues as well as manage other mechanics.
With most courses set in a classroom environment, students in this program will likely take the following subjects:
- Diesel shop management
- Diesel fuel systems
- Heavy-duty automatics
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
- Diesel engines lab
- AC and heating systems
- Welding theory
- Diesel electrical systems
Certification in Massachusetts
While companies in Massachusetts generally only hire diesel mechanics who have earned their certificate or degree in diesel technology, the government does not require special certification to legally work in Massachusetts.
For those who want to further their training and career, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers a certification course for diesel mechanics who have several years of work experience.
This certification tells employers that the diesel mechanic is proficient in steering systems, brakes, electrical systems, and preventive maintenance methods.
Diesel mechanics who hold an ASE certificate are more likely to ascertain pay raises, promotions, or other job offers from prospective employers.
Career Outlook For Auto And Diesel Techs
The economic outlook for diesel mechanics is extremely promising, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimating that this industry will grow faster than the national employment average over the next few years. This employment growth will provide another 21,600 positions at companies across the country.
In Massachusetts, employers currently employ approximately 3,130 diesel mechanics. As with most jobs, diesel mechanics who have more certifications and experience often earn a higher pay grade.
According to the BLS study, the bottom 10 percent of diesel mechanics in Massachusetts earn an average salary of $33,050 annually, while the top 10 percent make $68,800 a year.
Certified diesel mechanics have a variety of job opportunities available to them, with some of the positions including:
- Commercial fleet mechanic
- Charter bus mechanic
- Electric power distribution repairman
- On-site diesel mechanic
- Local diesel garage mechanic
Diesel companies across Massachusetts are experiencing tremendous growth as consumer spending hits new highs.
From a busload of senior citizens out on a day trip to a truckload of computers ready for store shelves, businesses are actively expanding their fleets to help keep up with the demand.
For those interested in becoming a diesel mechanic, earning a diesel technology degree prepares individuals for a fast-paced and exciting new career in this industry.