Becoming a Diesel Mechanic in Ohio
Diesel engines are a vital part of America’s transport and energy infrastructure. From private cars to commercial trucks, ships and fixed generators, diesel engines continue to be one of the most common types of engine in common use by business and private individuals alike.
Because of this, diesel mechanics continue to be a vital part of America’s workforce. Ranging from individuals who own their own garage to employees of large corporations, diesel mechanics enjoy competitive pay and benefits when compared to other careers.
The Growing Importance of Diesel Mechanics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently over 242,000 diesel mechanics in the United States. That number is expected to increase by at least 15 percent by 2020.
In Ohio, there are well over 10,000 diesel mechanics and technicians and the state enjoys a robust rate of job growth. When coupled with attrition among currently employed mechanics due to retirement and other factors, it is clear that this field will have a large number of job openings for newly trained mechanics.
The median salary for diesel mechanics is slightly under $41,000, which is extremely competitive with other fields that demand a similar degree of education.
In addition, Ohio mechanics enjoy a median salary of nearly $43,000, slightly above the national average.
Becoming a Diesel Mechanic
In most cases, a diesel mechanic must be at least 18 years of age and have graduated from high school or obtained a graduate equivalency degree (GED). Currently, there is no legal licensure requirement to become a diesel mechanic, which leaves employers free to make their own policies regarding what qualifications will be required for those mechanics seeking employment.
Diesel Mechanic Programs
Although it is possible for an individual to learn how to be a diesel mechanic via work experience, most employers prefer individuals who have received formal training. Most community colleges and vocational schools include programs on diesel technology and repair. These programs can take anywhere from six months to two years, depending on what they cover and the student’s schedule.
In addition, many schools offer part-time and distance learning options, which can allow a student to attend school even if he or she is currently working at another job or has family commitments.
Distance learning options enable the student to use the Internet to remotely attend lectures, complete homework and even consult with the instructors. This can be especially useful for students who live in remote rural areas.
However, some courses, such as garage lab courses, may require the student to physically attend class.
In addition to learning how to directly service diesel engines, many programs will train the students in how to work with drive trains, emission control systems, or electronic diagnostic systems.
These systems are vital to the operation of the vehicle, making it important that the student be able to understand how they interact with the diesel engine.
In some states, the student may be required to obtain a state certification for some systems, such as emission control systems, before he or she will be allowed to work on them.
Some schools may offer internship programs. These will allow the student to obtain practical experience while still working with his or her instructors. In many cases, an internship program can lead to post-graduate employment for the student.
Upon completion of the diesel mechanic program, the student receives an associate’s degree or in some cases, a certificate of completion. This signifies that the student is now qualified to work on diesel engines. Depending on the nature of the program, the school may assist the student in finding a qualified employer who is currently seeking newly graduated diesel mechanics.
Specialized Diesel Mechanic Training
Although the principles remain the same, some types of diesel engines are considerably different from the common engines found in trucks and cars. These engines can include fixed or portable diesel generators and large diesel engines used in trains and commercial shipping.
Diesel mechanics seeking training in this area may be required to have already obtained some degree of experience with automotive engines before they can enter classes focusing on these specialized engine types.
Post Graduation Training
Newly graduated students may receive additional training from their new employer.
In fact, due to the continually evolving state of diesel engine technology, many businesses make it a practice to ensure that their diesel mechanics continue to improve their skills by attending company funded courses and training sessions.
In some cases, a newly hired employee will not be allowed to work unsupervised until he or she has obtained some degree of work experience in the field.
Certification in Diesel Technology
Finally, diesel mechanics who desire to show a high degree of skill in their chosen field may seek certification. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers a number of certifications in various areas of diesel technology.
Certification is voluntary, but a certified diesel mechanic can command higher wages and will enjoy enhanced job security.
Some employers may require that all of their employees be certified, in order to ensure that the company’s customers and clients will receive the best service possible.
Ultimately, becoming a diesel mechanic can be an excellent choice for those individuals who are seeking a well paying and secure career. In addition to newly graduated high school students, many currently employed individuals have made the choice to become diesel mechanics in order to move out of their current job.
By obtaining a high-quality education and seeking out various types of certification a diesel engine mechanic, no matter his or her age, can enter an economic sector that seems certain to continue growing for the foreseeable future.