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Become A Service Technician

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Working As A Service 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

  • $59,093

    Average Salary

What Does A Service 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 Service 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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Service Technician jobs

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Service Technician Career Paths

Service Technician
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Operations Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician Service Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Field Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Service Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Technical Support Specialist Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Driver Delivery Driver Installation Technician
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Manager Sales Consultant
Internet Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Leader Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Branch Manager Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Executive Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Equipment Operator Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Service Technician Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    86.6%
  • Female

    12.0%
  • Unknown

    1.4%

Ethnicity

  • White

    80.3%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    11.5%
  • Asian

    6.3%
  • Unknown

    1.4%
  • Black or African American

    0.5%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    63.1%
  • Carrier

    9.0%
  • French

    5.4%
  • German

    3.4%
  • Portuguese

    2.5%
  • Italian

    2.0%
  • Arabic

    2.0%
  • Russian

    1.8%
  • Japanese

    1.4%
  • Chinese

    1.3%
  • Mandarin

    1.2%
  • Polish

    1.2%
  • Vietnamese

    1.1%
  • Tagalog

    0.8%
  • Dakota

    0.8%
  • Hindi

    0.8%
  • Korean

    0.7%
  • Urdu

    0.5%
  • Persian

    0.5%
  • Swedish

    0.4%
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Service Technician

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Service Technician Education

Service Technician

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Real Service Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Head of Technology Services Self-Point Inc. New York, NY Feb 18, 2016 $150,000
Lead Web Services Technician The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Bethlehem, PA Jan 08, 2016 $107,515 -
$120,000
Technical Services Cobb-Vantress, Inc. Siloam Springs, AR Aug 11, 2014 $100,000
Head of Technology Services Delivery Kaltura Inc. New York, NY Sep 04, 2014 $100,000
Lead Web Services Technician The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Bethlehem, PA Sep 08, 2015 $99,133 -
$144,893
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians KLM Royal Dutch Airlines San Francisco, CA Aug 13, 2014 $92,809
Service Technician Husky Injections Molding Systems, Inc. Peoria, AZ Aug 01, 2013 $84,050
Service Technician Doublebarrel Downhole Technologies, LLC Houston, TX Aug 19, 2013 $81,806 -
$100,000
Journeyman Service Technician Steve Silva Plumbing Inc. Napa, CA Aug 10, 2015 $74,235 -
$80,000
Corrugator Service Technician BHS Services N.A., LLC Baltimore, MD Apr 29, 2016 $73,902
Electrical Service Technician BHS Corrugated Na, Inc. Baltimore, MD Sep 26, 2016 $73,445
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians Shasta Aviation Corp. DBA Crescent Helicopters Pompano Beach, FL Jan 21, 2014 $72,800
Electrical Service Technician K&K Hardwood Floor, Inc. Chantilly, VA Aug 12, 2015 $69,514
Service Technician, Electrical Niehoff Endex North America Inc. Swedesboro, NJ Jan 22, 2016 $68,000 -
$85,800
Technical Services Technician Flying Food Group LLC Seattle, WA Jan 09, 2016 $54,000
Service Technician L&B Universal, Inc. Chantilly, VA Dec 14, 2015 $53,997
Crushing & Screening Service Technician-Coordinato Commonwealth Equipment Corporation Annapolis, MD Feb 15, 2015 $52,697
Helicopter Service Technician PJ Helicopters Red Bluff, CA Jan 05, 2016 $52,175
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians Swissport USA Los Angeles, CA Apr 15, 2014 $49,545
ATM Service Technician Atlas ATM Corp. NY Apr 03, 2016 $48,048 -
$50,000
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians Alpha Aircraft Systems, Inc. Miami, FL Sep 22, 2014 $48,000
Equipment Service Technicians U.S. Ski & Snowbaord Association UT Oct 01, 2013 $47,500
Services Technician Insight Direct USA Atlanta, GA Jul 15, 2016 $46,018
Equipment Service Technicians U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Park City, UT Oct 16, 2014 $43,848
Equipment Service Technician U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association ME Oct 01, 2014 $43,848
Aircraft Mechanic and Service Technician Royal Technical Group, Inc. Burlington, NC Feb 09, 2016 $43,680
Support Services Technician I Development Dimensions International, Inc. Bridgeville, PA Aug 21, 2015 $43,160
Aquatics Systems and Services Technician Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Nov 20, 2013 $43,017
Master Auto Service Technician Pro Auto Repair Inc. Hackensack, NJ Apr 02, 2016 $43,014
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians Aviation Sales & Maintenance, Inc. Brunswick, GA Feb 21, 2014 $42,370

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Top Skills for A Service Technician

ServiceDepartmentSafetyProceduresCompanyVehicleHvac/RTechnicalSupportServiceCallsDeliveryPreventativeMaintenanceAccessControlEmergencyEngineOilChangesWindowsInternetServiceTechDiagnosisSetupHandToolsCustomerSatisfactionPhoneCalls

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Top Service Technician Skills

  1. Service Department
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Company Vehicle
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted phone consultations with customers to resolve issues in the field before sending into service department.
  • Supervised and trained assistant technicians on install and safety procedures.
  • Maintained, and operated a company vehicle over an average of 300 miles per day.
  • Perform Installation and Service on various commercial, industrial, and institutional HVAC/R systems.
  • Provided technical support to other technicians.

Top Service Technician Employers

Service Technician Videos

Auto Service Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

A Day-in-the-Life of Wind Turbine Service Technician

A Day in the Life of a Crown Service Technician: Mike in Sacramento, California

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