Choosing a career as a diesel mechanic or technician can be demanding and rewarding.
Diesel mechanics focus on maintaining and repairing diesel-powered engines for trains, trucks, ships, and buses.
Due to the complex level of work and critical nature of diesel engine care, it is crucial that aspiring diesel mechanics obtain in-depth training and education before seeking employment in this industry.
Individuals who are interested in becoming diesel mechanics need to attend an accredited diesel technology school, whether it is a vocational, technical, or community college.
Even people who have had previous experience as a diesel mechanic may need to earn a degree in diesel technology because newly implemented laws require the necessary training to repair diesel engines while reducing environmental pollution.
For this reason, choosing a highly qualified college is essential to gaining the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this field.
Selecting a Diesel Mechanic School
With so many schools across the country offering diesel technology programs, individuals will need to research potential colleges before selecting the right school for their educational needs.
Completing a diesel mechanic training program at an accredited college will prepare the student for a career as a:
- Heavy equipment maintenance technician
- Diesel engine specialist
- Fleet maintenance mechanic
- Truck mechanic
- Diesel service technician
- Locomotive maintenance mechanic
Due to the intense hands-on nature of diesel technology, many schools only provide in-class training to prepare students for working in a garage or on the job site.
The following tips will help aspiring diesel mechanics narrow down their search and select an accredited diesel mechanic school.
The highest rated colleges should be nationally accredited through a notable organization like the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
2. Class Size
In order to gain in-depth knowledge and hone one’s skills, individuals should attend a diesel technology program with a smaller class size.
Small classes allow the students to receive additional one-on-one training with the teacher, helping the students obtain a greater understanding of diesel technology methodologies and techniques.
3. Hands-on Training
One of the essential components of a diesel technology program is hands-on training.
Some programs require students to spend 30 hours a week in hands-on training, while others consist of 50 percent hands-on training. Aspiring diesel mechanics want to choose a program with excessive hands-on training, choosing a school that has an on-site garage.
Certain diesel technology programs offer students the option to participate in manufacturer-specific training.
When narrowing down one’s search for a diesel mechanic school, individuals should speak with the owners of local repair shops for a school or program recommendation.
Any school that is being considered by a student needs to be toured before enrollment. During the tour, potential students will be able to gain a greater insight on the school’s quality and quantity of diesel technology equipment.
The diesel mechanic school should have an excellent track record with the graduates gaining national certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
7. Graduation Rate
Potential students should always review the percentage rate of students completing the diesel technology program within the designated time frame. A higher percentage rate equals a better program.
8. Job Placement
When selecting a diesel technology school, individuals should review the school’s job placement rate.
Many colleges provide partnership programs to help students find employment in entry-level positions.
Manufacturer-supported electives, such as Cummins Power Generation and Daimier Trucks, can give students a competitive edge when searching for a job in the diesel mechanic industry.
Most employers hire candidates who have proven they have earned an Associate of Science in Diesel Technology or Bachelor of Science in Diesel Technology at an accredited school, which is why individuals should research potential schools before enrollment.
Aspiring diesel technicians who wish to obtain a position as a mechanic can enroll in an associate’s degree program, which will take a minimum of two years to complete.
Others who wish to become diesel mechanic managers will need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program, taking at least four years to complete.
Depending on the program, coursework can include:
- Basics of diesel technology
- Diesel engine systems
- Cooling systems
- Engine overhaul
- Diesel engine operation
- Brake systems
- Diagnostic Techniques
From diesel-powered vehicles to marine vessels, diesel mechanics can choose from a variety of jobs in America.
A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that there are an estimated 242,200 diesel mechanic jobs in the United States, and employment is predicted to increase by 15 percent by 2020, providing an additional 35,200 jobs.
Diesel mechanics just starting out can expect a median salary of $40,850 annually, which averages out to an hourly wage of $19.64.
Diesel mechanics who have graduated from an accredited diesel technology program can seek employment as a:
- Heavy duty technician
- Fuel system specialist
- Diesel engine mechanic
- Diesel parts and service manager
- Manufacturer technician
Whether you are just starting out as a mechanical engineer or wish to further your education to obtain a higher paying position, attending an accredited college is vital to getting the necessary educational training and hands-on experience to succeed in the diesel mechanic industry.
If you are searching for a diesel technology program, take a couple of minutes to review available schools near your home.View Schools By State