Are you interested in working in the field of diesel mechanics? Are you ready to begin working on the requirements that will allow you to pursue this potential career, but you aren’t sure just where to begin? If you said yes to these questions, then you should keep reading so that you can properly develop an educational plan that will prepare you to work in this profession. A diesel mechanic is considered to be a specialized mechanic who spends the majority of their time servicing and repairing any vehicles that have a diesel engine. Typically, this consists of tractors, heavy construction equipment, and trucks. In order to be properly trained and prepared to work as a diesel mechanic you will want to complete some level of post-secondary training. It is important to note that while it may not be required for you to have completed a training program in order to obtain employment, it is likely to serve in your best interest. Students commonly choose to complete a six month certificate program, a twelve month certificate program, or an associate’s degree program. For each of these formal training areas you can likely pursue a concentration in an area such as diesel technology, diesel mechanics, or diesel engines. Regardless of which area you choose to focus your studies in, you will likely begin your coursework with an introductory course to power generation and electrical systems. As you advance beyond the initial phases of your coursework you can expect to take classes that will teach you about computer diagnostic software and electrical systems.
It is important to note that at this point in your program you will be completing instructional classes along with hands-on laboratory classes. After completing your formal requirements you will need to complete a significant amount of on the job experience that will allow you to apply the techniques and methods that you have been learning. Becoming certified will allow you to prove your abilities and stand out against other individuals in this industry. To be eligible for certification you must have at least two years of field experience; then you must earn a passing score on the certification exam. Feel free to request a complimentary information packet from any of the schools on our site that interest you. As a trained diesel mechanic it will be possible for you to work on a specific company’s fleet of trucks or you may choose to travel to specific customers to perform your service. In addition, by furthering your educational level you will be eligible to teach this trade to aspiring diesel mechanics. Be sure to research any of the diesel technician training programs listed below, you’ll be happy once you get started.
In the economy that we have today, diesel engine maintenance, as well as repair, happens to be one of the professions that are growing in a robust manner. That is why it has a lot of potential for individuals wanting a successful career. The profession is driven by such a market that finds diesel engine an environmentally friendly and fuel efficient alternative as compared to gasoline engines. These factors have led to a wide resurgence of diesel engines around the whole world. Diesel engines are not only used today in commercial vehicles like trucks, construction vehicles, and buses, but it is also used in all sizes of available passenger vehicles. So, you can tell that this field has a lot of potential.
Diesel Mechanics Career Facts
A survey done a few years back by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that there are around 242,000 diesel service technicians and mechanics working in the United States. The survey has also indicated that by 2020 the number of jobs for diesel mechanics will increase by 15% which means that by the year 2020 there will be 35,000 more job openings for a diesel mechanic. This number can also increase depending on other factors such as retirements, market conditions, and other causes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of a diesel mechanic can reach up to $40,000 and above. This is also partially why the number of individuals studying to become diesel mechanic has increased in recent years. This field is becoming increasingly popular due to its greater accessibility and growing demand for environment-friendly diesel engine technology. It is also possible that if this rise in popularity continues the number of future jobs may increase tenfold. Most diesel mechanics have a full work load which means that they work full time while some also work on weekends. Working overtime is also common in the said field. The majority of diesel mechanics are stationed in repair shops. In some cases, they might have to work outside if the vehicle is a large one. Some of the repair shops are ventilated and lit well. Occasionally, diesel mechanics have to repair vehicles on the road or at a job location. In a sense, it can be said that this profession can entail a lot of field work for some individuals.
Diesel Mechanic Education
A lot of employers look for those candidates that have an associate degree or certificate in repairing diesel engine, however; many are also willing to accept a high school certificate as long as the person has sufficient experience. Numerous community colleges and vocational schools provide a certificate of completion, as well as associate degrees, for diesel engine repair programs. These programs take anywhere from half a year to two years for completion. Since a diesel mechanic career involves a lot of hands-on work, there are hardly any training programs available; however, there are limited online courses that individuals can sign up for. A few schools also offer a hybrid program in which the students have to complete part of their coursework either at a work location or on-campus. Once you complete the diesel mechanic program, a plethora of career options are available for you. Some of the career options available are diesel engine specialist, locomotive maintenance mechanic, truck mechanic, diesel service technician, professional fleet maintenance, and heavy equipment maintenance.
Topics you will be covering
While pursuing a certificate or degree in diesel mechanics, you will be studying the following:
• Cooling systems
• Basics of diesel technology
• Diesel engine systems
• Engine overhaul
• Brake systems
• Diagnostic techniques
• Diesel engine operation
• Electrical and electronic systems
• Preventive maintenance
Courses you will be taking
As a student of diesel mechanics, you will be taught some or all of the following courses depending on the institute.
Diesel Service Techniques
This course covers all the basic diesel systems which include fuel suspension brakes and even electric trains. The course also provides the student a general overview of the safety operation of inspection and equipment. This course is the foundation for all the other advanced courses that the enrolled students will be taking.
Diesel Engine Technology
The course teaches students the theory of the operating components of the diesel engine and terminologies associated with them like fuel compression, exhaust system, and air intake. The course also covers topics like basic steps for an overhaul, diagnosis, how to use tool fasteners, safe practices, and measurements of parts. This course lays the groundwork for students so that they can take advanced coursework along with labs for maintenance and repair of engines.
The course teaches students the theory, as well as the operation, of the fuel injection systems that diesel mechanics use commonly. The equipment includes both electronic and mechanical equipment. The course also reviews repair, safety considerations, and problem-solving. The course prepares the students on how to maintain fuel systems and diesel equipment.
This course talks about the basics of troubleshooting electric circuits. The students are taught how to service diesel electrical systems and design diagnosis. Furthermore, this course also covers engine charging, accessories, and engine starting. The course prepares the student for working on electrical systems and diesel equipment.
Heavy Equipment Drive Train
The course familiarizes the student with common components of a drive train including torque converters, transmissions, differentials, and clutches. This course also teaches the students how to service and repair transmission assemblies. The course prepares the student for maintaining such drive train systems that are common to diesel equipment.
Brake Systems and Suspension Steering
The course teaches students the theory, as well as the repair, of steering components, tires, pneumatic brake systems, wheels, and various kinds of suspensions hydraulic. The purpose of this course is to teach the enrolled students how to repair and maintain the brake systems and suspension steering that are generally part of all diesel vehicles.
Electronic Computerized Controls
The course talks about a wide variety of topics ranging from electronic controls that are used for power trains and diesel engines to adjustments and operation of power trains. The purpose of the course is basically to prepare the student when it comes to maintaining those electronic controls that are part of diesel equipment.
How to Select a Suitable School for Diesel Mechanics?
When selecting diesel mechanics as a profession you need to acquire the right education. And to acquire the required education you need to select a suitable school or academic establishment. That is why before you choose a school, do some research and make sure it has the following:
The school you have chosen for becoming a diesel mechanics must be accredited by a reputable and notable organization at a notable level. This will require focus. Don’t be sucked into online advertisements. Ensure that you’ve checked the background of any school you want to apply at. It is also recommended that you seek advice from someone who already has diesel mechanics as a profession.
This is a crucial part of any diesel mechanic program. A few programs for diesel mechanics include around 30 hours of hands-on training in one week. Try to pick a school that has an on-site garage. There are some schools that also provide the students with the option to participate in such training programs that are manufacturer-specific. If the class is comparatively small in size, there will be more opportunities for one-on-one instructions and conversations with the instructor. Talk to the owners of local repair shops and ask them for their opinion on the diesel mechanic schools you have taken an interest in. Find out if the school has a good track when it comes to the ability of graduates to earn a certificate from the ASE – Automotive Service Excellence organization. Take a tour of the school you are thinking about as it will give you an idea of the quality of their programs. Make sure you note the equipment available as well its quality. Try and find out the proportion of students that graduate from the diesel mechanic program that an academic establishment is offering. Find out the percentage of students that graduate at the right time. Are there students that were late or had to repeat a few courses? Try to know the rate of job placement that the school has. There are some diesel mechanic programs that partner up with such programs that help in placing their students in basic, entry-level jobs. It’s always good to have some sort of job security once you complete a stage in your education. Find out if the program has manufacturer-supported electives. For example, a few schools offer electives like Cummins diesel, Daimler trucks, and international trucks.
If you want to become a diesel mechanic, then there are a few ways you can do that. However, one should first note that no state licensure or federal laws make it compulsory for an individual to get certification to become a diesel mechanics. This means that one can become a diesel mechanic without any formal education. However, keep in mind that employers usually prefer those diesel mechanics that have formal training in the field of diesel mechanics. In short, if you want to work with big companies, you need the proper formal education. Moreover, because of legal issues, most employers only employ those aspiring diesel mechanics that are more than 18 years old. Furthermore, they also prefer if the applicant has either a GED degree or at least a high school diploma. There are also a few cases where vocational schools or community colleges allow the student to apply for a diesel mechanic program while simultaneously working towards earning an equivalent degree.
In informal training, the individual is assigned as an untrained helper for work at a local garage. While he or she is employed at the local garage, the said individual is trained by qualified mechanics in diesel repair while they are asked to assist in small tasks. As the skills of the individuals start to show improvement, the employer allows the individual to work complex tasks until they are considered a completely skilled and fully trained diesel mechanic. People who opt for informal training are paid for the work they put in, and this option is more useful for those who are unable to afford a formal training program. The greatest benefit of informal training is that the individual gets training at a working garage and as a result, they get practical training that they are highly unlikely to get somewhere else. However, finding such a garage that is ready to take on and train an unskilled individual is tough to find. Moreover, such training also takes a longer time than formal training does because, in informal training, the individual has to continue performing the assigned duties along with being trained to become a diesel mechanic as well. Moreover, a few employees might not be willing to hire someone that doesn’t have formal certificates even if they have gained a lot of experience from informal training.
Adult education programs, vocational schools, as well as community colleges offer numerous formal training programs for those aiming to become diesel mechanics. Individuals that are enrolled in such programs are then trained and instructed by those diesel mechanics that are working in well-equipped training garages and classrooms. Completion of this program can take six months to even two years depending on the schedule of the student and the program schedule itself. Some of the classes can be taken at home via online education. However, a majority of the programs require the students to do hands-on work for which the students will have to be present physically at the said institution. In a majority of the cases, students who finish the program successfully receive a certificate that documents their achievements. Apart from teaching the students the various techniques of diesel engineering, a majority of schools also provide internships and externships that provide the students with the opportunity of obtaining practical experience while working with trained mechanics. In some cases, the program might also provide placement services which assist the graduates in getting a long-term employment once the program is finished. Conclusively, it can be said that regardless of the source, getting a high-quality education can help the individual in entering a field that is not only personally rewarding but is also well-paying. Whether the individual chooses to work a large repair center or a local garage, a diesel mechanic is a vital and valued part of the repair team and is paid accordingly. As the amount of privately owned diesel vehicles that are being purchased around the world grows exponentially, current mechanics, as well as future mechanics, can expect numerous job opportunities which make diesel mechanic a fantastic field for new graduates, as well as for those looking to change their job.
Although it is not compulsory, certification from ASE – National Institute for Automotive Excellence provides recognized credentials for not only technicians but also for diesel mechanics. Getting a certification increases the salary as well as the opportunities for employment. If you want to sit for the ASE exams, you need to have two years of experience as a diesel mechanic. However, those that don’t have any experience can also sit for the exam if they have finished an apprenticeship program. Those who have completed a special co-op course from the original manufacturer of the equipment can also take the exam. Diesel mechanics might also be required to take certification in particular areas of repair like drive trains, electronic systems, inspection, and preventive maintenance. They can also sit for the Master Diesel Mechanic exam. Those diesel mechanics that are responsible for test driving buses and large trucks might also need a commercial driving license in some cases.
A Step-By-Step Short Guide on What to do to become a Diesel Mechanic
With six simple steps, you can become a top-notch diesel mechanic. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1 – Get the Basic Education
Start preparing for your career as a diesel mechanic while you are still in high school. Study as much as you can and focus on the career path that you want to take before you completely commit to it. Then, get your high school diploma. Side by side, also take such classes that can enhance and increase the knowledge you have about the things you will need to do as a diesel mechanic. If you want, you can also work part-time for a local diesel mechanic. Also, see if you can get some school credits by working with a professional diesel who might be interested in teaching you.
Step 2 – Get Further Education
Enroll yourself in such a vocational program or college which offers either an associate degree or a certificate for diesel mechanics. It can take you up to 24 months to complete further education. Meanwhile, make yourself familiar with how to communicate with customers. Moreover, learn helpful guides and the proper way of reading schematics. Know that learning hands-on is the best method of acquiring the skills you need. So, make sure that you engage yourself in lab exercises and class activities so that you get the maximum benefits from your education. As mentioned above, having a part-time job working for an experienced diesel mechanic can prove to be helpful in the long run.
Step 3 – Get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)
The CDL is needed for operating huge vehicles that need repair. It is also needed for those vehicles that have already been repaired but require necessary adjustments and testing so that the vehicle operates optimally.
Step 4 – Look for a Potential Employer
Try to look for such an employer who is ready to give you training regarding the job while you work towards getting a degree. Since there is a high demand for diesel mechanics, you should not settle for such an employer that won’t keep you updated with important technological advancement that latest vehicles have made. See if you can find an internship.
Step 5 – Take a Drug Test
A majority of employers require the applicant to take a drug test. Therefore, be conscious of your actions and keep in mind the consequences they can have. If you aren’t clean, chances are you might not be hired.
Step 6 – Get Certified
Apply for the national certification from ASE. Aim to keep on progressing through the ranks in the firm. Sit for all the necessary qualification tests so that you become certified in the area of diesel mechanics that you have chosen. Remember that you will need to be certified after every five years so that your qualifications stay updated. With diesel mechanics being a field that sees a lot of advancement, you need to continue improving your skills if you wish to be successful in your chosen profession. In short, becoming a diesel mechanic is all about how much time you want to invest. As mentioned above, you can go for informal training but that’s likely not going to increase your chances of being hired by a large firm. So, it is recommended that you go the formal training route and get the required certifications. This profession is also very hands-on. That is why you will need to be ready. While reading books is important, it all comes down to the practicality of it all. Feel free to go over the guide mentioned again so you fully understand what it means if you’re picking diesel mechanics as a career. Such a profession is said to grow in the coming years and thus, can be quite profitable for a lot of people. Just remember to keep yourself updated and strive to build up your skills if you want to succeed and be able to handle or be part of all the advancements being made.