With the commerce industry reliant on fully functioning diesel-powered vehicles, diesel mechanic are essential to keeping the economy running smoothly.
Without diesel mechanics, the trucking industry would be hindered due to faulty vehicles, and manufacturing companies would be unable to provide vital raw materials and merchandise to sellers. For this reason, earning a degree in diesel technology can be a rewarding career choice.
Diesel mechanics maintain, rebuild, and repair diesel-powered engines for busses, ships, trucks, trains, and other vehicles.
In order to diagnose and repair engines, mechanics need to be able to run the necessary diagnostic tests, diagnose the problem source, and replace malfunctioning parts. Diesel mechanics check water-cooling systems as well as clean oil and air filters in order to prevent engines from breaking down.
Due to the fact that replacing diesel engines can become quite expensive, mechanics rebuild them at regular intervals, which generally occur after 100,000 miles. During the rebuilding process, diesel mechanics take the engine apart, replace any worn parts, and reassemble the engine.
From repairing diesel engines to rebuilding engines, diesel mechanics utilize various tools while on the job, including wrenches, pliers, drills, lathes, grinders, and screwdrivers.
They can also measure engine power by using specialized testing equipment like dynamometers, and mechanics need to be able to lift heavy objects, requiring a healthy physical physique.
Diesel mechanics can specialize in repairing:
- Fuel-injection systems
- Starting systems
- Cylinder heads
- Natural gas engines
- Industrial equipment
Being employed by equipment dealers, repair companies, and diesel engine manufacturers, diesel mechanics tend to work indoors where there is ample ventilation and lighting.
Many employers require mechanics to travel for vehicle repairs, whether it is at a job site or on the side of a road. While on the job site, individuals should be able to work in awkward positions while lifting objects of various weights.
Diesel mechanics can work independently or in a group setting, requiring them to be able to work as a team when lifting heavy engines and parts to ensure a safe working environment.
Most employers require a diesel mechanic who can work in a team setting because teams are required for various projects, depending on the complexity and nature of the each job.
Some jobs require mechanics to disassemble vehicle parts and remove engines as a team, preventing workers from suffering life-threatening injuries.
Upon graduating from an accredited college, diesel mechanics will often go through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training to make sure they are properly prepared for a complex work environment.
The typical work schedule for a diesel mechanic revolves around a 40-hour work week and possible overtime opportunities. Most repair companies extend work hours to fulfill customer needs, which call for various shifts to be filled.
Diesel mechanics can start their own business or choose to work independently, allowing them to work on their own schedules. Before finding employment as a diesel mechanic, individuals need to obtain the necessary educational training in order to be successful in the mechanic industry.
Both associate and bachelor’s degrees require individuals to earn their high school diploma or GED before they enroll in an accredited college.
Some diesel mechanic schools require students to fulfill certain course requirements before they are accepted, including two years of science and math as well as four years of high school English.
Aspiring diesel mechanics need to earn a diesel technology degree at an accredited vocational, technical, or community school. Most accredited colleges offer an Associate of Science in Diesel Technology, requiring two years of educational training, and a Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology, requiring four years of educational training.
Students will obtain both educational training and lab experience in a garage or lab, and programs train individuals on how to properly diagnose mechanical issues, plan truck repairs, and maintain diesel engine services. Depending on the degree program, courses may cover subjects like:
- Diesel engine systems
- Electrical systems
- Braking systems
- Preventative maintenance
- Hydraulics and pneumatics
- Diesel fuel systems
- Diesel shop management
- Welding theory and lab
- Heavy duty automatics
Diesel Mechanic Certification
Certification is not required for diesel mechanics to be hired by a mechanic company, but most employers prefer those who have earned a national certification, showing that the mechanic has successfully met the national standards in diesel technology.
Diesel mechanics can take an exam through an accredited organization, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), which will cover the engine systems, brakes, electrical systems, and preventative maintenance.
A 2010 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that approximately 242,200 individuals are employed as diesel mechanics across the nation.
Employment opportunities in this field are expected to rise by 15 percent before 2020, offering 35,200 more jobs to potential mechanics.
According to the BLS, diesel mechanics can earn a median wage of $40,850 annually, averaging out to $19.64 per hour. Diesel mechanics can find employment as a:
- Fuel system specialist
- Manufacturer technician
- Diesel service manager
- Heavy truck technician
- Manufacturer technician
Earning a degree in diesel technology can open many career opportunities for individuals. If you are interested in attending an accredited diesel technology college or university, take a minute or two to research potential diesel mechanic programs near you.Diesel Mechanic Schools By State