With an industry growing significantly, diesel engines play and will continue to play a vital role in the health of American. The fact remains that, at some point, every product sitting on store shelves has spent a portion of time in a diesel truck.
In an effort to provide less expensive products to customers in West Virginia, companies have begun manufacturing products across seas.
This move means that most products need to travel thousands of miles before ever reaching potential customers.
With shipping and transportation companies putting more miles on diesel-powered trucks and ships, many businesses throughout West Virginia need certified diesel mechanics who can properly service and repair these vehicles.
Individuals who wish to start a career as diesel mechanics have several training and educational options they can decide to pursue to increase their job stability in today’s economy.
Every postsecondary school and college has certain prerequisites that students must meet before they can begin any form of educational training.
Some top-tier colleges and universities require transcripts from potential students, verifying they have taken enough math and English classes while in high school.
The major prerequisite for all colleges and institutes is that applicants must prove they have their high school diploma before starting the program. If the applicant does not have a high school diploma, most schools will accept a GED.
Although companies in West Virginia are experiencing immense difficulty filling the vacant diesel mechanic positions, most prefer to hire only those who have their certification in diesel technology.
Due to a projected need for diesel mechanics in the near future, some companies have established employer-sponsored certificate programs to train promising job applicants who do not have any formal education.
While this option is beginning to gain some popularity among a handful of companies, most employers prefer to limit their job search to those who have already obtained a degree in diesel technology.
Regarding certification programs, students have their choice in pursuing a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in diesel technology. Before enrolling in a diesel technology program, applicants should verify that the school is certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). This accreditation is favored by diesel mechanic employers and businesses across West Virginia, preparing students for additional certification opportunities.
Associate of Science in Diesel Technology
Students who want to earn their degree in diesel technology as quickly as possible often pursue an Associate of Science in Diesel Technology.
Taking most students slightly over two years to complete, an associate’s degree offers hands-on training to help students land an entry-level diesel mechanic position.
With most courses taking place in a garage setting, students in an associate’s degree program will likely complete the following coursework:
- Electrical systems
- AC systems
- Power transmissions
- Heavy-duty brakes
- Fuel systems
- Diesel engine technology
Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology
Upon graduation, students who have earned their associate’s degree may decide to further their education by enrolling in the Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology. This program dives deeper into the technology and methodologies behind diesel-powered engines and vehicles.
This expanded knowledge helps students make a more thorough diagnosis of unique diesel engine malfunctions.
With most courses taking place in a classroom, students will likely take the following courses:
- 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 West Virginia
West Virginia allows diesel mechanics to work in the state without any special license, but most employers prefer candidates to be proficient in certain sectors of this industry. After a diesel mechanic has some work experience, he or she can decide to further their expertise by taking the qualifying exam through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
With over 40 tests available to diesel mechanics, the ASE allows candidates to prove mastery in preventative maintenance techniques, steering systems, brakes, and electrical systems. Diesel mechanics who earn their ASE certification will increase their chances of getting promoted or receiving a pay raise with diesel employers across West Virginia.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducted recent research to determine the diesel mechanic demographics in West Virginia. According to the survey, West Virginian companies employ approximately fifteen hundred diesel mechanics statewide.
The BLS also found that the pay scale fluctuates greatly based on location and experience, with the bottom 10 percent earning $22,230 a year and the top 10 percent making $54,300 annually.
The growth for this industry is expected to increase over the next few years, adding another 21,600 diesel mechanic positions throughout the nation.
Based on current trends, some of the potential diesel mechanic openings will likely include:
- On-site diesel mechanic
- Commercial fleet mechanic
- Local diesel garage mechanic
- Charter bus mechanic
- Electric power generation, transmission and distribution repairman
With areas of the diesel industry growing at exponential rates, new diesel mechanic opportunities will spring up daily with companies in West Virginia.
Although the demand for diesel mechanics is growing, companies prefer to hire candidates who have completed the appropriate education or training.
Diesel mechanics who earn their diesel technology certificate increase their chances of success in this field of expertise.