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Become A Diesel Technician

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Working As A Diesel Technician

  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Stressful

  • $37,850

    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.


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.


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.


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
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Operations Manager
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Systems Administrator Engineer
Chief Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Service Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Service Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Delivery Driver Electrician
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Technician Operator Installation Technician
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Shop Foreman Maintenance Technician
Lead Mechanic
7 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Driver Operation Supervisor
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Delivery Driver Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician Service Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Operations Manager Operations Director
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineering Technician Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Service Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Shop Manager Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Shop Manager Project Manager Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Driver Instructor Program Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Technician Engineering Technician Network Administrator
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Diesel Technician Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • Carrier

  • Portuguese

  • German

  • Arapaho

  • Zulu

  • French

  • Greek

  • Korean

  • Navajo

  • Italian

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Diesel Technician

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Diesel Technician Education

Diesel Technician

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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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Top Diesel Technician Skills

  1. Diesel Engines
  2. Important Parts
  3. Tractor Trailers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Perform many tasks from rebuilding diesel engines, replacing clutches and complete drive train components, to troubleshooting electronic engines.
  • Followed checklists to verify that all important parts were examined.
  • Repair tractor trailers and fork trucks on and off site.
  • Ensured availability of vehicles for customers by completing preventive maintenance schedules, installing component and part upgrades, and controlling corrosion.
  • Conduct electrical diagnostics using Cummins Insite and Diamond Logic International software.

Top Diesel Technician Employers

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Diesel Technician Videos

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