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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:
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.
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Diesel Technician
Top Careers After Diesel Technician
Hispanic or Latino13.4%
Black or African American0.5%
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Universal Technical Institute50.2%
Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc9.4%
University of Northwestern Ohio7.3%
WyoTech - Laramie5.0%
Lincoln College of Technology - Indianapolis3.1%
University of Phoenix2.7%
Lincoln College of Technology - Denver2.3%
Western Technical College2.3%
Arizona Automotive Institute2.1%
TDDS Technical Institute1.7%
Ohio Technical College1.7%
South Texas College1.7%
Lincoln College of Technology - Grand Prairie1.6%
NASCAR Technical Institute1.4%
Vatterott Career College1.4%
Idaho State University1.3%
North American Trade Schools1.3%
Atlanta Technical College1.2%
Rosedale Technical Institute1.2%
Universal Technical Institute of Texas Inc1.0%
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|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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