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Become A Diesel Technician

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Working As A Diesel Technician

  • 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

  • $49,390

    Average Salary

What Does A Diesel Technician 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 Technician

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 Technician Jobs

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Diesel Technician Career Paths

Diesel Technician
Shop Manager Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Assistant Plant Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Service Manager General Manager Service Advisor
Assistant Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Technician Hvac Technician Building Maintenance Technician
Building Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Service Manager General Manager
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Lead Mechanic Maintenance Manager
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Shop Manager General Manager Property Manager
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Fleet Mechanic Diesel Mechanic Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Service Manager Delivery Driver Maintenance Technician
Lead Mechanic
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Mechanical Technician Mechanics Supervisor
Mechanic/Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Foreman General Foreman
Mechanical Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Fleet Mechanic Technician Mechanical Technician
Mechanics Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Specialist Maintenance Technician
Senior Maintenance Technician
9 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Technician Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Diesel Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Fleet Mechanic 3.7 years
Diesel Mechanic 3.6 years
Auto Technician 3.6 years
Truck Technician 3.3 years
Service Technician 3.2 years
Truck Mechanic 3.2 years
Fleet Technician 3.1 years
Diesel Technician 3.0 years
Top Employers Before
Technician 14.5%
Mechanic 11.2%
Welder 3.8%
Cashier 2.6%
Driver 2.2%
Top Employers After
Technician 10.8%
Mechanic 10.4%
Welder 3.1%
Owner 2.8%
Driver 2.4%

Do you work as a Diesel Technician?

Diesel Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

94.8%

Female

4.3%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

63.1%

Hispanic or Latino

17.7%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

5.7%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.5%

Carrier

12.8%

Portuguese

3.8%

German

3.8%

Arapaho

1.3%

Zulu

1.3%

French

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Korean

1.3%

Navajo

1.3%

Italian

1.3%
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Diesel Technician Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

50.0%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

9.3%

University of Northwestern Ohio

7.4%

WyoTech - Laramie

5.1%

Lincoln College of Technology - Indianapolis

3.1%

University of Phoenix

2.9%

Lincoln College of Technology - Denver

2.3%

Western Technical College

2.3%

Arizona Automotive Institute

2.2%

TDDS Technical Institute

1.7%

Ohio Technical College

1.7%

Lincoln College of Technology - Grand Prairie

1.6%

South Texas College

1.6%

Vatterott Career College

1.5%

NASCAR Technical Institute

1.4%

North American Trade Schools

1.4%

Idaho State University

1.3%

Atlanta Technical College

1.1%

Rosedale Technical Institute

1.1%

Universal Technical Institute of Texas Inc

1.0%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

60.4%

Industrial Technology

7.5%

Business

6.7%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

3.6%

Precision Metal Working

2.7%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.4%

General Studies

2.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.5%

Electrical Engineering

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%

Engineering

1.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

1.2%

Management

1.1%

Aviation

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

0.9%

Education

0.9%

Information Technology

0.7%

Computer Science

0.7%

Medical Technician

0.7%
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Degrees

Other

41.6%

Associate

24.9%

Certificate

13.1%

Diploma

11.9%

Bachelors

6.7%

Masters

1.3%

License

0.3%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Diesel Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Diesel Technician Diesel Dogs Truck Repair Inc. Saint Paul, MN Dec 05, 2016 $49,587
Senior Certified Diesel Technician C & R Fleet, Inc. Griffin, GA Nov 10, 2009 $49,000
Diesel Technician Diesel Dogs Truck Repair Inc. Saint Paul, MN Nov 02, 2015 $47,959
Diesel Technician Omaha Truck Center, Inc. Omaha, NE Mar 08, 2016 $40,655
Diesel Technician Omaha Truck Center, Inc. Omaha, NE Oct 01, 2016 $40,655
Diesel Technician Sunscape Landscape Nursery Inc. Tampa, FL Nov 20, 2007 $39,027
Diesel Technician Prowler Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL Aug 13, 2010 $34,882

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Top Skills for A Diesel Technician

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  1. Diesel Engines
  2. Tractor Trailers
  3. Preventive Maintenance Schedules
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Perform Federal Inspections Perform Preventative Maintenance Customer Service Data Entry Diagnose electrical issues with diesel engines
  • Obtained a vast amount of knowledge of tractor trailers, a/c, air supply systems, suspensions, and electrical troubleshooting.
  • Ensured availability of vehicles for customers by completing preventive maintenance schedules, installing component and part upgrades, and controlling corrosion.
  • Work with Cummins INSITE, Volvo Truck Portal, and PACCAR Engine Portal to diagnose and repair engine/truck related problems.
  • Installed brake systems, steering mechanisms, transmissions and other parts which resulted from performing diagnostic tests.

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