As America’s import/export industry continues to expand and grow, so will the need for diesel-powered vehicles to transport those goods from one side of the country to the other and across borders.
The draw for diesel vehicles is their superior durability and higher fuel economy over their gasoline vehicle alternatives.
As the number of diesel-powered vehicles on the roads increases, so will the need for highly trained diesel mechanics to service those vehicles. The need will be especially great in Vermont, as companies are already having difficulty filling the empty positions in this growing industry.
Those who are interested in pursuing a job as a diesel mechanic in Vermont will need to have completed any prerequisites that would prevent them from enrolling in a diesel technology program.
Most colleges and institutes in Vermont require that aspiring students in their programs have earned their GED or high school diploma. Some colleges limit acceptance to only those students who have taken two years of high school science and math and four years of high school English.
Most Vermont companies looking to hire a diesel mechanic prefer that their candidates have already completed their training and have earned their diesel technology certification or degree.
Some employers offer an opportunity for new recruits to earn their diesel technology certificate by sponsoring courses and necessary training. For individuals looking for more formal training, pursuing their associate or bachelor’s degree in diesel technology at a community college, vocational, or technical institute will be their best option.
As with other associate and bachelor’s degree programs, the Associate of Science in Diesel Technology takes two years on average to complete, and the Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology requires at least four years of schooling.
Before beginning a program, it is a good idea for aspiring diesel mechanics to verify that their school or institute of choice is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Most employers will require that any certificates or degrees their mechanics have are approved by the NATEF.
The associate’s degree program in diesel technology is typically a more hands-on program for students to immerse themselves into the role of a diesel mechanic. Students will learn all of the skills and techniques required to successfully maintain diesel engines. They will also have extensive training in diesel engine diagnostics, learning how to repair any problems that plague diesel-powered vehicles.
Most associate’s degree programs will also cover the following:
- Heavy duty brakes
- Fuel systems
- Electrical systems
- Diesel engine technology
- Power trains
- Power transmissions
- AC systems
For individuals who would like to work in a management role at some point in their career, the bachelor’s degree program in diesel technology is an excellent choice for them. Not only will the student learn how to diagnose and work on diesel-powered vehicles, but they will also learn much of the science and methodologies behind diesel engines. A large portion of the program will be classroom coursework, which includes several subjects such as natural sciences, humanities, and mathematics.
Other courses can also include:
- Diesel engines lab
- Diesel fuel systems
- Welding theory
- AC and heating systems
- Diesel electrical systems
- Heavy duty automatics
- Diesel shop management
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
Certification in Vermont
While some companies may be willing to overlook educational requirements if the mechanic has several years of experience, most companies in Vermont will require their diesel mechanics to hold some form of certification. One of the most prestigious certifications that a diesel mechanic can hold is offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
This program certifies diesel mechanics to work on both the diagnosis and preventative maintenance of brakes, steering systems, and electrical systems. For diesel mechanics looking to start out higher on the pay scale, a degree in diesel technology will help them command a higher salary than their counterparts who may have little or no formal education.
Tech Career Outlook
Currently, there are approximately 540 diesel mechanics employed in Vermont, with the average salary being $40,950 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The career outlook for the United States as a whole is very optimistic, with an expected growth of 15 percent by 2020.
This growth is expected to add 35,200 more jobs for those currently enrolled in diesel mechanic schools around the country. These positions will be in a variety of settings, with some potential employment opportunities including:
- Local Government (OES Designation): Diesel mechanics who work for local municipal government agencies will receive the job security that this industry offers, while also enjoying the hours and pay of government positions.
- Couriers and Express Delivery Services: As the e-commerce presence of brick-and-mortar companies grows exponentially every year, so will the need for shipping services. As the number of diesel-powered vehicles that ship packages back and forth increases, the need for diesel mechanics to maintain their growing fleet will result in huge growth in this sector.
- Local Garages: Opportunities to remain close to home will most likely come from local garages in small towns in Vermont. Diesel mechanics in this sector will need to be more versatile and knowledgeable about diesel engines in general to remain marketable as work may not always be consistent.
From large companies that ship goods around the United States to local two-man garages, the opportunities for certified diesel mechanics are abundant.
As the economy rebounds back to normal, the need for diesel mechanics will grow even stronger as more and more diesel-powered vehicles will be required to ship goods around the United States. Those who wish to “ride the wave” back up should strongly consider enrolling in a diesel mechanic school in Vermont before the opportunity passes them by.