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Become A Service Mechanic

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Working As A Service 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

  • $42,413

    Average Salary

What Does A Service 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 Service 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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Service Mechanic Jobs

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Service Mechanic Career Paths

Service Mechanic
Field Service Technician Field Engineer Project Engineer
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Field Service Technician Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Shop Mechanic Field Service Technician Driver
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Welder Foreman
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Technician Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Shop Mechanic Field Mechanic
Lead Mechanic
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Equipment Mechanic Mechanical Technician Mechanics Supervisor
Mechanic/Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Welder Operator Maintenance Technician
Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Field Supervisor General Foreman
Mechanical Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Mechanical Technician
Mechanics Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Technician Maintenance Technician
Senior Maintenance Technician
9 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Lead Mechanic Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Service Mechanic?

Service Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

95.3%

Female

3.6%

Unknown

1.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.2%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.0%

German

6.5%

Japanese

6.5%

Carrier

6.5%

Russian

3.2%

Polish

3.2%

Italian

3.2%
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Service Mechanic Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

27.4%

University of Phoenix

8.8%

Lincoln Technical Institute

8.0%

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology

4.4%

Community College of the Air Force

4.4%

Arizona Automotive Institute

3.5%

Del Mar College

3.5%

Ferris State University

3.5%

Texas A&M University

3.5%

College of the Sequoias

3.5%

Texarkana College

3.5%

Central Connecticut State University

3.5%

WyoTech - Laramie

3.5%

Ashford University

2.7%

Glendale Community College

2.7%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

2.7%

The Academy

2.7%

Rosedale Technical Institute

2.7%

Pearl River Community College

2.7%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

2.7%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

25.5%

Business

10.0%

General Studies

7.1%

Electrical Engineering

6.1%

Heating And Air Conditioning

5.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

5.2%

Aviation

4.8%

Mechanical Engineering

4.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.3%

Industrial Technology

3.7%

Criminal Justice

3.5%

Computer Science

2.6%

Education

2.6%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Management

2.4%

Precision Metal Working

2.0%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

Engineering

1.7%

Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies

1.7%

Surveying, Mapping, And Hydraulic Technologies

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

47.9%

Associate

16.7%

Bachelors

15.3%

Certificate

11.2%

Diploma

5.0%

Masters

2.7%

License

1.2%
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Internship
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Real Service Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Automatic Service Mechanic Tia Automotive, Inc. DBA Midas Port Charlotte, FL Feb 18, 2016 $48,194
Automotive Service Techncian and Mechanic Next Millenium Transmissions Inc. New York, NY Mar 01, 2011 $48,000
Automotive Service Techncian and Mechanic Next Millenium Transmissions Inc. New York, NY Apr 01, 2011 $47,700
Automotive Service Techncian and Mechanic Next Millenium Transmissions Inc. New York, NY May 02, 2011 $47,700
Automotive Service Mechanic Kick Sound, Inc. Chicago, IL Jan 20, 2016 $43,264
Automotive Service Mechanic Hogan and Sons, Inc. Leesburg, VA May 25, 2010 $42,682
Automotive Service Technicias & Mechanics Star Sunoco Hawthorne, NY Dec 07, 2007 $40,050
Automotive Service Mechanic Mario's Auto Service Danbury, CT Sep 04, 2008 $38,025
Automotive Service Mechanic Cortez Shell Bradenton, FL Mar 12, 2015 $37,960
Automotive Services Mechanic Joe's Hamilton Transimission Mercerville, NJ Dec 14, 2007 $37,733
Automotive Service Mechanic Southland Auto Care Laguna Hills, CA Apr 24, 2008 $37,566
Automobile Service Technican & Mechnics Mall of Georgia Chrysler Dodge Jeep Buford, GA Oct 06, 2009 $37,336
Automotive Service Mechanics North Coast Subaru Inc. Glen Cove, NY Oct 22, 2010 $33,976
Automotive Service Mechanic Fleet Equipment Center, Inc. Bolingbrook, IL Apr 24, 2008 $30,950
Automotive Service Mechanic Fleet Equipment Center, Inc. Bolingbrook, IL Feb 05, 2008 $30,950

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Top Skills for A Service Mechanic

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  1. Preventative Maintenance
  2. Diesel Engines
  3. Brake Systems
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Field Mechanic Field Welder Fabricator Heavy equipment operator Diesel mechanic Preventative maintenance Performed oil changes and maintenance on heavy equipment
  • Repair, maintain and install gasoline/diesel engines, generators, hydraulic/pneumatic systems, and plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Experienced working on semi-trailers and troubleshooting electrical and brake systems, repairing and replacing worn-out parts.
  • Maintained integrity and cleanliness of company vehicles.
  • Demonstrated initiative by setting, and meeting personal goals to improve customer service, maximize productivity and increase departmental revenues.

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Top 10 Best States for Service Mechanics

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. Nevada
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana
  6. Connecticut
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Washington
  10. New Jersey
  • (61 jobs)
  • (136 jobs)
  • (136 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (112 jobs)
  • (116 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (282 jobs)
  • (343 jobs)
  • (337 jobs)

Top Service Mechanic Employers

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Jobs From Top Service Mechanic Employers

Service Mechanic Videos

Aircraft Mechanic Salary - Aircraft Mechanic Shows His Paycheck

MOTIVATION FOR THE NEW MECHANICS. HOW TO BECOME A PROFICIENT MECHANIC

A Day in The Life of a Mechanic.mov

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