The sound of economic expansion can be heard every day on highways throughout South Carolina.
From a tractor trailer hauling products to a charter bus transporting passengers on day trips, diesel-powered vehicles has helped bring an end to the recent recession.
With consumer spending on the rise over the last couple of years, retailers and manufacturers are working double time to make sure products reach store shelves on time.
This extra wear and tear on diesel shipping fleets has resulted in many South Carolina companies hiring additional certified diesel mechanics to service these engines.
As the demand continues to increase for mechanics who are proficient in diesel repair techniques, diesel mechanics who hold the proper credentials will have their choice of employment opportunities in South Carolina.
Individuals interested in earning their diesel mechanic certification have some different educational avenues they can pursue.
Before enrolling at a local community college in South Carolina, potential students must verify that they meet all of the educational prerequisites. Some colleges and universities are very strict, needing verification that applicants have taken the required math, English, and science courses in high school. All schools, colleges, and institutes require applicants to have graduated high school or completed their GED before they can begin a diesel mechanic program.
While the demand for diesel mechanics is high, most companies have strict restrictions on hiring applicants who have not earned their certificate in diesel technology.
For the right job applicants, some companies have started offering employer-sponsored training to help aspiring diesel mechanics earn their certification, but this training avenue is still quite rare among South Carolina employers. Individuals who are seeking to start a new career in the mechanic industry as soon as possible should enter an accredited diesel mechanic program.
Aspiring diesel mechanics will find that many schools and institutes offer a diesel technology program. Before arbitrarily signing up for the cheapest one, individuals should review the accreditation of the school. The highest form of accreditation can be found through the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). By checking to make sure their school is NATEF-accredited, students can increase their chances of landing a diesel mechanic position right out of college.
Associate of Science in Diesel Technology
Students who wish to work at a local mechanic shop or manufacturing company should ascertain their associate’s degree in diesel technology.
The associate’s degree program provides students with the skills and hands-on training they need to repair and maintain common diesel engines and vehicles.
Taking the average student up to three years to graduate, coursework may cover specific diesel technology topics like:
- Electrical systems
- Power trains
- AC systems
- Power transmissions
- Heavy-duty brakes
- Power trains
- Fuel systems
- Diesel engine technology
Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology
Individuals who hold management aspirations often decide to earn their bachelor’s degree in diesel technology. Not only will this degree provide some basic management courses, but students will also learn the in-depth technology that goes into servicing diesel engines and powertrains. This advanced degree allows students to formulate better diagnoses and repair techniques for diesel engine issues. Courses may include:
- Welding theory
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
- Diesel fuel systems
- Heavy-duty automatics
- AC and heating systems
- Diesel shop management
- Diesel electrical systems
- Diesel engines lab
Certification in South Carolina
Individuals are often surprised that the state of South Carolina does not require diesel mechanics to attain any specific certification in order to find work with an upstanding company, but most aspiring diesel mechanics should earn special certification to help qualify for job postings with diesel mechanic employers in various industries.
Once hired and slightly experienced, individuals have the option of taking qualifying tests through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
The ASE allows diesel mechanics to showcase their knowledge and proficiency in working with brakes, preventative maintenance methods, steering systems, and electrical systems. Individuals who invest the time and effort in passing these examinations often qualify themselves for promotions and pay raises with current and future employers.
Recent research released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that approximately 3,520 diesel mechanics work at companies in South Carolina.
Depending on the individual’s experience and education, the annual pay rate fluctuates, with the top 10 percent of diesel mechanics earning a wage of $56,970 a year, and the bottom 10 percent pulling in $24,730 annually.
BLS economists also hold a positive forecast for the industry as a whole, expecting a faster-than-average growth rate that will result in another 21,600 diesel mechanic positions nationwide by 2022. Some career opportunities for diesel mechanics may include:
- Local diesel garage mechanic
- Charter bus mechanic
- On-site diesel mechanic
- Electric power distribution repairman
- Commercial fleet mechanic
As the economy continues to grow and consumer spending hits new highs, the diesel mechanic industry will likely experience tremendous growth over the coming years. This demand for certified diesel mechanics will likely result in a shortage of certified diesel mechanics to fill job vacancies.
Aspiring diesel mechanics who wish to enter the mechanic industry as quickly as possible will find that earning the proper certifications will increase their career and advancement opportunities in South Carolina.