With consumers purchasing more retail goods today than they have in the past few years, the need for diesel-powered vehicles to transport the goods from manufacturer to retailer is growing exponentially.
Since most goods travel thousands of miles before reaching store shelves, transportation companies are logging more miles on diesel trucks every year.
This extra demand on diesel engines across the country is creating numerous opportunities for individuals who wish to become diesel mechanics.
Companies throughout South Dakota are actively seeking certified diesel mechanics to service and maintain the businesses’ growing diesel fleets.
Individuals who earn a certificate or degree in diesel technology will discover job stability and a successful career in the mechanic industry.
Educational Prerequisites to Become a DM
Although community colleges and vocational institutes across South Dakota are seeking new students for available diesel technology programs, all colleges have certain educational prerequisites that applicants must meet prior to enrolling.
The main prerequisite for all post-secondary schools is earning a high school diploma or GED prior to starting the diesel mechanic program.
A smaller number of colleges require students to complete four years of high school English and at least two years of high school science and math before applying.
Without having prior training or education, individuals who are fresh to the diesel mechanic industry may have a difficult time finding a position. Most companies only interview candidates who have earned a certificate or degree in diesel technology or have several years of diesel mechanic experience.
Due to an extreme need for certified talent, some businesses sponsor courses for applicants who do not have their certification.
Although this option is expected to grow over the next few years, individuals who wish to enter the diesel industry as quickly as possible should earn their diesel technology certification prior to applying for available positions.
Despite first appearances, not all diesel technology programs are created equal. Before enrolling, future students should verify that the college is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), which will prepare them for certification in certain sectors of this industry. After finding a school accredited by the NATEF, students can choose between earning their associate or bachelor’s degree in diesel technology.
Associate of Science in Diesel Technology
Students who want to earn their diesel technology degree as quickly as possible will often choose to pursue their associate’s degree.
Training students for entry-level diesel mechanic positions and providing a solid base for continuing their education, an associate’s degree in diesel technology takes up to three years to complete.
Students in this program learn the basic skills needed to diagnose, repair, and maintain common diesel engines.
- Fuel systems
- Heavy-duty brakes
- Power transmissions
- AC systems
- Diesel engine technology
- Power trains
- Electrical systems
Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology
Graduates of an associate’s degree program have the option to pursue their bachelor’s degree in diesel technology. Taking anywhere from four to five years to complete, this program prepares future diesel mechanics for management and ownership positions in the mechanic industry.
Students discover the finer points of diesel engine repair, learning the science and technology behind how diesel engines function.
The bachelor’s degree program requires students to take some core classes, such as Algebra, humanities, and business management, to help give future diesel mechanics a solid educational base.
- Welding theory
- Diesel engines lab
- Diesel shop management
- Diesel electrical systems
- Heavy-duty automatics
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
- AC and heating systems
- Diesel fuel systems
Certification in South Dakota
Individuals may be surprised that South Dakota does not require any special certification for diesel mechanics to legally work in the state.
Many companies in South Dakota prefer hiring candidates who have already earned a diesel technology certification.
Once hired, diesel mechanics who have several years of experience can pursue additional certifications through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Diesel mechanics who wish to prove their career commitment to potential employers can earn their certification in:
- Electrical systems
- Steering systems
- Preventative maintenance
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that businesses in South Dakota currently hire about 1,090 diesel mechanics, paying them an average salary of $39,180 annually.
Economists at the BLS also have an optimistic forecast for diesel mechanics over the next few years, predicting an employment increase of 21,600 jobs throughout the nation.
Current trends in the industry indicate that the positions created may include:
- General Freight Trucking: Retailers, manufacturers, and transportation companies will need additional certified diesel mechanics to join the diesel repair ranks over the next ten years, especially if consumer spending continues to increase.
- Urban Transit Systems: With environmental issues taking the forefront on the national stage, local municipalities will expand public transportation systems for younger citizens who opt to take the bus rather than personal vehicles. Diesel mechanics will be able to repair and maintain these diesel-powered buses.
- Charter Bus Industry: With the number of retirees growing on a yearly basis, many senior vacationers may decide to take their day trips and mini vacations in the back of a charter bus. The extra miles will result in an additional demand for diesel mechanics to keep the fleet running smoothly.
As the number of diesel-powered vehicles on the streets continues to grow, certified diesel mechanics have various employment opportunities in South Dakota to keep these diesel engines functioning at optimal performance levels.
Individuals who are seeking job stability in the diesel mechanic industry should strongly consider earning a degree or certificate in diesel technology.
Diesel and Auto Mechanic Programs In South Dakota