America’s transport sector is dominated by diesel engines. From commercial trucks to large cargo ships, diesel engines provide the power needed to bring goods from the factory to the store shelf. In addition, the growing popularity of diesel powered passenger, utility and camping vehicles has further increased the demand for this engine type.
For that reason, skilled diesel mechanics have become an increasingly important part of America’s work force. Whether it is at a major repair center or at a local neighborhood garage, diesel mechanics play a vital role in maintaining America’s transport infrastructure.
Individuals seeking a dependable and well-compensated career should seriously consider becoming a diesel mechanic in the District of Columbia.
What Do Diesel Mechanics Do?
Diesel mechanics repair and maintain diesel engines of all types. In addition, many diesel mechanics have additional training that allows them to work on vehicular components such as emission control systems, brake systems, and vehicle frames. In general, diesel mechanics working at local garages may be required to work on a wider variety of vehicle components when compared to specialized mechanics working in larger repair centers.
Diesel engine mechanics must be able to perform the following activities over the course of a workday:
- Diesel engineers must be able to remain physically active. Diesel repair requires a good deal of physical effort, so diesel mechanics must be physically fit and capable of engaging in heavy lifting and other work over the course of their shift.
- Diesel mechanics must be able to quickly and effectively perform routine maintenance such as oil and filter changes.
- Diesel mechanics must be able to work in confined spaces. When working on an engine, especially if it is not removed from the vehicle, the diesel engineer must be able to effectively work in confined spaces.
- Diesel mechanics must understand workplace safety regulations. A repair shop can be an extremely dangerous place. For this reason, a diesel mechanic must always ensure that he or she is following all required safety procedures.
- Especially in smaller repair shops, a diesel mechanic may regularly interact with his or her customers and clients.
- Diesel mechanics must be able to provide accurate cost estimates to their customers before they start any repair work.
- Modern diesel mechanics must be able to effectively use computerized diagnostic and repair equipment. This is becoming an increasingly important part of a diesel mechanic’s duties due to the proliferation of computer controlled fuel injection and emission control systems.
In addition, self-employed diesel mechanics or individual’s who own their own shop must be capable of complying with all relevant local and federal business regulations. This can be especially important for those diesel mechanics who employee other workers in their garage.
Becoming a Diesel Mechanic
Currently, diesel mechanics do not have to be licensed by the District of Columbia. However, obtaining a formal education or certification can drastically improve a diesel mechanic’s ability to secure well-paying employment.
In addition, a formal education can assist an individual in obtaining a job if he or she moves to another state. This can be especially important if the diesel mechanic’s previous employer has ceased operation and can no longer provide a job reference.
Currently, the diesel repair field is an excellent choice for individuals seeking long-term employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there are over 250,000 currently employed diesel mechanics. When combined with the projected nine percent rise in employment between 2012 and 2022, this field clearly presents excellent job opportunities for qualified individuals.
Diesel Engineering Programs
Currently, most diesel engineering programs are provided by community colleges and vocational schools. These programs take anywhere from six months to two years for a student to complete, depending on his or her schedule and overall educational goals.
In most cases, a student who successfully completes a diesel mechanic program will receive a certificate of completion. However, individuals who attend a community college may receive an associate’s degree (A.A.). In some cases, the student may receive an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree.
One advantage of receiving an A.A. or A.A.S. degree is that credits earned in these degrees may be applied towards the completion of some bachelor’s degree programs.
Most of these programs offer both full and part-time options for their students. Part-time schedules can be especially useful for those students who are currently employed or who must care for their family members. However, a part-time schedule will result in the student having to attend the program for a longer period of time. Part-time schedules can also be used to attend class sessions on weekends or during the evening in order to avoid conflict with the student’s work schedule.
Online and distance learning programs allow students to attend classes via the Internet rather that being physically present. In addition to avoiding the need to travel to the school, online programs allow the student to learn at his or her preferred pace. In many cases, these programs allow the student to attend classes via webcam and communicate with the instructors by email, chat or teleconferencing. Because of the growth in the number of employed and adult students, online programs represent a fast growing segment of America’s educational sector.
There are a variety of certification options available for diesel mechanics. Most of these options are offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). These certifications cover a wide range of areas and require that the diesel mechanic demonstrate that he or she is a highly skilled individual.
However, in addition to passing a certification examination, ASE certification also requires that the candidate have a varying amount of work experience. For this reason, individuals who are considering seeking ASE certification should determine how much hands on experience will be required. In addition, it is important to ensure that the work experience can be verified to ASA’s satisfaction.
Ultimately, becoming a diesel mechanic is an excellent path for an individual who is seeking a dependable and well-compensated field. Because of the growing demand for diesel mechanics, qualified individuals should find it easy to obtain employment in this field.