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Become A Diesel Mechanic

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Working As A Diesel Mechanic

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $43,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Diesel Mechanic Do

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, or overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine.

Duties

Diesel service technicians and mechanics typically do the following:

  • Consult with customers and read work orders to determine work required
  • Plan work procedures, using technical charts and manuals
  • Inspect brake systems, steering mechanisms, transmissions, engines, and other parts of vehicles
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Read and interpret diagnostic test results to identify mechanical problems
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components, parts, and other mechanical or electrical equipment
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
  • Test-drive vehicles to ensure that they run smoothly

Because of their efficiency and durability, diesel engines have become the standard in powering trucks and buses. Other heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, including bulldozers and cranes, are also powered by diesel engines, as are many commercial boats, and some passenger vehicles and pickups.

Diesel technicians handle many kinds of repairs. They may work on a vehicle’s electrical system, make major engine repairs, or retrofit exhaust systems with emission control systems to comply with pollution regulations.

Diesel engine maintenance and repair is becoming more complex as engines and other components use more electronic systems to control their operation. For example, fuel injection and engine timing systems rely heavily on microprocessors to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize harmful emissions. In most shops, workers often use hand-held or laptop computers to diagnose problems and adjust engine functions. 

In addition to using computerized diagnostic equipment, diesel technicians use a variety of power and machine tools, such as pneumatic wrenches, lathes, grinding machines, and welding equipment. Hand tools, including pliers, sockets and ratchets, and screwdrivers, are commonly used.

Employers typically provide expensive power tools and computerized equipment, but workers generally acquire their own hand tools over time.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on automobiles, see the profile on automotive service technicians and mechanics.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on farm equipment, construction vehicles, and rail cars, see the profile on heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on motorboats, motorcycles, and small all-terrain vehicles, see the profile on small engine mechanics.

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How To Become A Diesel Mechanic

Most diesel technicians learn informally on the job after a high school education, but employers increasingly prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary training programs in diesel engine repair. Although not required, industry certification can demonstrate a diesel technician’s competence and experience.

Education

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. High school or postsecondary courses in automotive repair, electronics, and mathematics provide a strong educational background for a career as a diesel technician.

An increasing number of employers look for workers with postsecondary training in diesel engine repair. Many community colleges and trade and vocational schools offer certificate or degree programs in diesel engine repair.

Programs mix classroom instruction with hands-on training, including the basics of diesel technology, repair techniques and equipment, and practical exercises. Students also learn how to interpret technical manuals and electronic diagnostic reports.

Training

Diesel technicians who begin working without any postsecondary education are trained extensively on the job. Trainees are assigned basic tasks, such as cleaning parts, checking fuel and oil levels, and driving vehicles in and out of the shop.

After they learn routine maintenance and repair tasks and demonstrate competence, trainees move on to more complicated subjects such as vehicle diagnostics. This process can take from 3 to 4 years, at which point a trainee is usually considered a journey-level diesel technician.

Over the course of their careers, diesel technicians must learn to use new techniques and equipment. Employers often send experienced technicians to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors to learn about the latest diesel technology.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the standard credential for diesel and other automotive service technicians and mechanics. Although not required, this certification demonstrates a diesel technician’s competence and experience to potential employers and clients, and often brings higher pay.

Diesel technicians may be certified in specific repair areas, such as drive trains, electronic systems, or preventative maintenance and inspection. To earn certification, technicians must have 2 years of work experience and pass one or more ASE exams. To remain certified, diesel technicians must pass a recertification exam every 5 years.

Many diesel technicians are required to have a commercial driver’s license so they may test-drive buses and large trucks.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Diesel technicians frequently discuss automotive problems and necessary repairs with their customers. They must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Diesel technicians must be aware of small details when inspecting or repairing engines and components, because mechanical and electronic malfunctions are often due to misalignments and other easy-to-miss causes.

Dexterity. Mechanics need a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination for many tasks, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, or using hand tools.

Mechanical skills. Diesel technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They often disassemble major parts for repairs, and they must be able to put them back together properly.

Organizational skills. Diesel technicians must keep workspaces clean and organized in order to maintain safety and ensure accountability for parts.

Strength. Diesel technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, such as exhaust system components and pneumatic wrenches.

Troubleshooting skills. Diesel technicians must be able to use diagnostic equipment on engine systems and components in order to identify and fix problems in increasingly complicated mechanical and electronic systems. They must be familiar with electronic control systems and the appropriate tools needed to fix and maintain them.

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Diesel Mechanic Career Paths

Diesel Mechanic
Technician Team Leader Manager
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Electrician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Technician Electrician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Driver Foreman
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Electronics Technician Computer Technician
Senior Service Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Aircraft Mechanic
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Driver Electrician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Driver Field Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Foreman Maintenance Supervisor
Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Shop Foreman
Senior Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Field Service Technician Lead Technician
Service Technician Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Installer Hvac Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Foreman Hvac Technician
Maintenance Lead Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Technician Hvac Technician Maintenance Lead Technician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Owner Facilities Manager
Assistant Chief Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Lead Mechanic
Mechanics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Operator Electronics Technician Maintenance Electrician
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Operator Engineering Technician Machinist Mate
Marine Mechanic
5 Yearsyrs
Journeyman Journeyman Electrician Maintenance Technician Supervisor
Manager Of Maintenance Technology
7 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Senior Mechanic
Senior Maintenance Mechanic
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Diesel Mechanic?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Diesel Mechanic 4.0 years
Bus Mechanic 3.9 years
Fleet Mechanic 3.9 years
Mechanic 3.6 years
Truck Mechanic 3.5 years
Truck Technician 3.5 years
Service Mechanic 3.4 years
Shop Mechanic 3.1 years
Diesel Technician 3.0 years
Mechanic Helper 2.2 years
Top Careers Before Diesel Mechanic
Mechanic 23.8%
Technician 7.0%
Welder 5.2%
Driver 3.3%
Cashier 3.2%
Top Careers After Diesel Mechanic
Mechanic 20.3%
Technician 7.0%
Driver 4.8%
Welder 4.1%
Owner 3.0%
Supervisor 2.5%

Do you work as a Diesel Mechanic?

Diesel Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

89.6%

Unknown

6.4%

Female

4.0%
Ethnicity

White

63.5%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

67.7%

Carrier

13.0%

German

2.5%

Navajo

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

French

1.2%

Thai

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Italian

1.2%

Swedish

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Romanian

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Russian

0.6%

Berber

0.6%

Nepali

0.6%

Finnish

0.6%
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Diesel Mechanic Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

36.8%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

11.9%

University of Phoenix

6.7%

University of Northwestern Ohio

4.6%

WyoTech - Laramie

4.4%

Lincoln College of Technology - Indianapolis

3.9%

Central Texas College

3.3%

The Academy

3.1%

Arizona Automotive Institute

3.0%

Lincoln Technical Institute

2.8%

Ohio Technical College

2.4%

Lincoln College of Technology - Denver

2.3%

Western Technical College

2.3%

Lincoln College of Technology - Grand Prairie

2.3%

Ashford University

1.9%

A-Technical College

1.8%

Advanced Technology Institute

1.8%

Houston Community College

1.7%

New York Automotive and Diesel Institute

1.5%

Fox Valley Technical College

1.4%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

52.6%

Business

8.4%

General Studies

4.2%

Precision Metal Working

4.1%

Industrial Technology

4.1%

Criminal Justice

3.0%

Electrical Engineering

2.7%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

2.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.1%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%

Education

1.5%

Management

1.4%

Aviation

1.4%

Computer Science

1.3%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.3%

Engineering

1.2%

Information Technology

1.1%

Graphic Design

0.9%
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Degrees

Other

45.6%

Associate

21.0%

Certificate

13.8%

Bachelors

8.9%

Diploma

8.7%

Masters

1.4%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$43,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$32,000
Min 10%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Shaw's Supermarkets
Highest Paying City
Los Angeles, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a Diesel Mechanic make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Diesel Mechanic in the United States is $44,017 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $60,000.

Real Diesel Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Diesel Mechanic Eurotech Contracting Co Englewood, NJ Aug 06, 2015 $57,491
Master Diesel Mechanic A Gugie Jr., Inc. Howell, NJ Jan 07, 2015 $56,000
Diesel Mechanic K & T Transport LLC Linden, NJ Jan 12, 2010 $55,431
Diesel Mechanic 4 Kings Vacuum Trucking TX Apr 01, 2011 $53,991
Diesel Mechanic 7 S Auto & Truck Sale LLC Conley, GA Nov 21, 2016 $52,520 -
$57,520
Diesel Mechanic AJW, Inc. Wayne, NJ Jul 02, 2010 $51,111
Diesel Mechanic GMG Express Burr Ridge, IL Jul 18, 2016 $50,900
Diesel Mechanic Mario's Trucking Services Bensenville, IL Jan 09, 2016 $50,877
Diesel Mechanic West Wind Express Inc. Chicago, IL Aug 08, 2016 $50,877
Diesel Mechanic West Wind Express Inc. Chicago, IL Nov 10, 2016 $50,877
Diesel Mechanic A&D Truck & Trailer Repairs Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL Nov 18, 2016 $50,877
Diesel Mechanic Leesville Auto Wreckers, Inc. Rahway, NJ Dec 27, 2010 $49,171
Diesel Mechanic Polam Inc. Philadelphia, PA Oct 16, 2007 $47,542
Diesel Mechanic United Group Express Inc. Bensenville, IL May 28, 2015 $47,216
Diesel Mechanic Aulick Leasing Corporation Billings, MT Sep 01, 2016 $44,182
Diesel Mechanic Top Speed Trucking Delivery LLC TN Dec 23, 2016 $44,075
Diesel Mechanic Dye-Namic, Inc. New York, NY Jun 02, 2010 $43,660
Bus-Diesel Mechanic Mile Square Transportation Yonkers, NY May 20, 2011 $43,660
Diesel Mechanic Crown Container Corp. NY Jan 20, 2010 $43,660
Diesel Mechanic Ace Restoration Services, Inc. New York, NY Mar 23, 2011 $43,660
Diesel Mechanic (Truck Repair) Ace Drive Products and Services, Inc. Elizabeth, NJ Oct 11, 2007 $43,514
Diesel Mechanic Crown Container Corp. NY Dec 09, 2010 $43,430
Diesel Mechanic Aulick Leasing Corporation MT Sep 01, 2014 $40,196
Diesel Mechanic Pinto Bros Disposal, LLC South Plainfield, NJ Jul 12, 2010 $39,757
Diesel Mechanic Aulick Leasing Corporation Scottsbluff, NE Oct 18, 2016 $39,507
Diesel Mechanic Sercon Inc. La Puente, CA Dec 13, 2010 $39,486
Diesel Mechanic Central Metal Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 16, 2008 $39,486
Diesel Mechanic Kansas City Peterbilt Kansas City, KS Nov 10, 2010 $39,437
Diesel Mechanic Solomon Trucking Inc. Port Saint Lucie, FL Feb 05, 2010 $39,069
Diesel Mechanic Aulick Leasing Corporation Scottsbluff, NE Oct 01, 2015 $39,027

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Top Skills for A Diesel Mechanic

  1. Diesel Engines
  2. Important Parts
  3. Tractor Trailers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Acquired experience maintaining diesel engines.
  • Inspect brake systems, steering mechanisms, wheel bearings, and other important parts.
  • Diagnosed and repaired electrical problems on tractor trailers.
  • Performed all preventative maintenance inspections, state and federal mandated safety inspections and completed repairs in accordance with DOT requirements.
  • Inspect pneumatic safety devices and temperature alarms.

What is it like to work as a Diesel Mechanic

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August 22, 2019 on Zippia

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Diesel Mechanic.. Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Diesel Mechanics

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. Nevada
  4. Wyoming
  5. Connecticut
  6. Montana
  7. Colorado
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Minnesota
  10. Massachusetts
  • (48 jobs)
  • (114 jobs)
  • (86 jobs)
  • (31 jobs)
  • (116 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (887 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (384 jobs)
  • (187 jobs)

Top Diesel Mechanic Employers

Jobs From Top Diesel Mechanic Employers

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