As markets continue to evolve from local to global, the need for diesel-powered vehicles to transport these goods is continually growing.
Items that used to travel only a couple of miles from manufacturer to retailer are now traveling thousands of miles, requiring additional diesel-powered vehicles to ship these items around the world.
With the ever-increasing demand for diesel-powered vehicles comes a need for certified diesel mechanics to service, maintain, and repair diesel engines. Companies in and around Tennessee are already experiencing immense difficulty trying to fill vacant diesel mechanic positions, especially with the continual advancements in diesel technology.
Individuals who wish to become a certified diesel mechanic in Tennessee need to complete a certificate or degree in diesel technology, which will increase their employment opportunities and job stability.
Before individuals can earn their diesel mechanic certification, certain education prerequisites must be met. Most vocational schools, technical institutes, and community colleges that offer a certificate of degree in diesel technology require students to have earned their high school diploma or GED before acceptance is approved.
Some colleges demand additional education prerequisites to be met, requiring potential students to have completed four years of high school English as well as a minimum of two years of high school science and math.
Most companies in Tennessee who wish to hire a diesel mechanic are looking for applicants who have already earned their certificate or degree in diesel technology.
In an attempt to help meet the need for certified diesel mechanics, some companies offer employer-sponsored certification programs to give new hires the training they need to succeed in this career.
Most companies prefer to hire candidates who have been certified prior to applying for the available position. Individuals can become certified by earning a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree in diesel technology from a technical school, vocational institute, or community college.
Opposed to most certificate programs in diesel technology, which only take one to two years to complete, an Associate of Science in Diesel Technology takes most students two to three years of full-time courses to graduate.
Students who decide to take their education one step further and earn their Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology can expect to spend four to five years completing their schooling. Before enrolling, students should check to make sure that the college or institute is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
Students who are pursuing their associate’s degree in diesel technology will receive extensive hands-on training on how to properly maintain, service, and repair diesel engines.
Most of the coursework for the associate’s degree program takes place in a garage setting, with some subjects covering the following components of a diesel-powered vehicle:
- Power transmissions
- Fuel systems
- Heavy duty brakes
- AC systems
- Electrical systems
- Power trains
- Diesel engine technology
Those looking to take their career to the next level should strongly consider furthering their education by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program. Students who enter this program will learn about the core fundamentals of diesel technology, providing them with a deeper understanding on the diagnosis and repair techniques of diesel engines.
While students need to complete core classes, such as natural sciences and math, for management training, other courses this program may cover include:
- AC and heating systems
- Diesel engines lab
- Diesel shop management
- Diesel electrical systems
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
- Diesel fuel systems
- Welding theory
- Heavy duty automatics
Certification in Tennessee
Individuals may be surprised that Tennessee does not require any special certifications to legally work as a diesel mechanic, but diesel mechanics should still obtain their certification due to the requirements most employers have on potential job applicants.
Before individuals enroll in a diesel technology program, students should remember that not all certifications in diesel technology are the same.
Diesel mechanics who wish to ascertain a higher paying position can complete their certification by taking an exam through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), which certifies individuals in steering systems, preventative maintenance, and brakes.
This certification has become the gold standard for employers throughout Tennessee, meaning that companies are willing to pay more for diesel mechanics who have earned this certification.
Research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that roughly 4,870 diesel mechanics are currently employed in Tennessee, earning an average salary of $39,780 annually.
The BLS expects that this sector of the economy is expected to grow by 15 percent over the next ten years, adding 35,200 more jobs across the United States. Some potential employment opportunities include:
- Commercial Transportation: With more retail goods traveling farther to reach store shelves, commercial transportation companies need certified diesel mechanics to keep the shipping fleets operating at peak performance. Most of the work completed by diesel mechanics in this field will be maintenance, repairing components as problems arise.
- Local Government: As more people move into the city and suburbs, the need for municipal governments to service them will also grow. Diesel mechanics maintain the municipal trucks and buses used to service the growing populations.
- Heavy Equipment Mechanic: As the economy begins to rebound and new construction starts back up, diesel mechanics are needed to service and repair the dump trucks, excavators, and front loaders that construction companies use.
The need for certified diesel mechanics is greater today than it has ever been before, with more and more companies turning to diesel-powered vehicles to power business operations.
Throughout Tennessee and the United States, individuals with the proper certification and expertise will find that a career as a diesel mechanic ensures job stability and growth. Those interested in obtaining their diesel technology certification in Tennessee should strongly consider enrolling soon before the opportunity passes them by.