As the US economy begins to expand and industries start hiring, many individuals seeking a career change may have difficulty deciding on one specific field.
While affected slightly during the recession, the diesel industry has seen great increases and growth opportunities over the past couple of years.
Manufacturers and retailers are shipping consumer goods farther than ever before, creating a demand on transportation departments that increases every year.
Companies throughout Missouri are having difficulty finding the certified diesel mechanics needed to fill current and future job vacancies.
Those seeking to begin a career as a diesel mechanic should consider earning their certification before attempting to find a position.
In order to earn their certification, individuals must enroll in a diesel technology certificate or degree program at a technical institute or community college. Before enrolling, all colleges and institutes want proof from applicants that they have earned their high school diploma or GED. Individuals seeking to earn their certification at a college or university may find that these schools also require students to have taken a minimum of two years of high school math and science and four years of high school English.
Educational RequirementsHave you seen the FAQ?
For those seeking to enter the diesel mechanic industry, earning a certificate or degree in diesel technology helps open more employment opportunities with future employers.
Depending on the company, individuals who have several years of diesel mechanic experience may be able to waive the educational requirements for most job postings.
A growing number of businesses throughout the United States are starting to sponsor diesel technology programs for applicants who have not earned their certification, but most companies are seeking candidates who have already earned their certification prior to hiring.
Individuals who have chosen the school they would like to attend should verify that the college is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) prior to applying. Employers have come to accept NATEF as the gold standard for accrediting agencies, and most companies prefer to hire candidates from NATEF-approved programs.
Once the school has been verified to be accredited by the NATEF, students have the choice of earning their associate or bachelor’s degree in diesel technology.
Associate of Science in Diesel Technology
Individuals who wish to earn a degree and enter the workforce as quickly as possible will often opt for an associate’s degree in diesel technology.
Not only will this program provide the core classes every college student needs, but it will also help give students the real-world experience they need to qualify for entry-level diesel mechanic positions.
Individuals earning an associate’s degree will learn the basic techniques and methods of maintaining, repairing, and diagnosing diesel engines and other power train components.
Common courses may include:
- Electrical systems
- AC systems
- Power transmissions
- Diesel engine technology
- Power trains
- Fuel systems
- Heavy-duty brakes
Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology
Graduates can either enter the workforce or decide to continue their education and earn their bachelor’s degree in diesel technology.
Designed to take the average student four to five years to graduate, a bachelor’s degree delves much deeper into the science that makes diesel engines run. This program does favor the classroom side of learning, with most courses taking place in a lecture hall.
Students will also take some courses and labs to help give them the hands-on training they need to accurately diagnose and repair advanced diesel engine problems.
Some of the courses offered in a typical bachelor’s degree program include:
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
- Welding theory
- AC and heating systems
- Diesel shop management
- Heavy-duty automatics
- Diesel engines lab
- Diesel electrical systems
- Diesel fuel systems
Certification in Missouri
Currently, Missouri does not require diesel mechanics to hold any special certification in order to legally work in the state.
Most aspiring diesel mechanics should pursue their certification because employers prefer candidates who have earned a specialization in this industry.
Certain agencies, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), offer diesel mechanics who hold several years of experience the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in electrical systems, brakes, preventative maintenance, and steering systems.
Based on a recent study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), companies throughout Missouri employ approximately 4,520 diesel mechanics, and the average salary for these mechanics is around $40,000 annually.
The BLS also has an optimistic outlook for the diesel industry and expects companies throughout the United States to add another 21,600 diesel mechanic jobs by 2022.
- Transportation Companies: Shipping businesses and transportation departments of major retailers are attempting to grow to meet the demand of parent companies. This growth will result in additional diesel mechanics needed to service the growing number of diesel trucks and vehicles.
- Charter Bus Industry: Every year, more and more retirees are choosing to take vacations on charter buses rather than driving personal vehicles. Diesel mechanics will be needed to maintain and repair charter buses in order to meet this growing demand.
- Local Garages: As automotive manufacturers are turning to clean diesel engines as a way to hit CAFE requirements, more local diesel mechanics will be needed to service the additional diesel vehicles on the streets.
When compared to its gasoline-powered counterparts, the power and fuel economy of diesel engines will make diesel-powered vehicles the choice for transportation and shipping for years to come.
This reliance on diesel vehicles will create abundant opportunities throughout Missouri for those who have earned a certificate or degree in diesel technology.
Individuals who are interested in joining this growing industry should begin researching potential diesel mechanic schools and programs to increase their chances of success in this career.