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Become A Shop Technician

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Working As A Shop 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

  • $47,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Shop 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 Shop 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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Shop Technician Career Paths

Shop Technician
Technician Team Leader Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Foreman Superintendent
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Systems Administrator Manager
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Owner Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Technical Support Specialist Team Leader
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Lead Technician Owner/Operator
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Lead Technician Owner
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Welder Electrician Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Welder Foreman Superintendent
Quality Control Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Welder Service Technician Computer Technician
Senior Service Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Maintenance Technician Aircraft Mechanic
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Specialist Operation Supervisor
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Maintenance Technician Electrician
Maintenance Lead Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Lead Technician
Service Technician Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Maintenance Supervisor
Mechanics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Electrician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Operator Maintenance Technician Hvac Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Diesel Technician Heavy Equipment Mechanic Senior Mechanic
Senior Maintenance Mechanic
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Shop Technician?

Shop Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

84.4%

Female

7.9%

Unknown

7.7%
Ethnicity

White

63.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.7%

French

8.3%

Italian

5.6%

Portuguese

4.2%

German

2.8%

Greek

2.8%

Mandarin

2.8%

Hmong

2.8%

Vietnamese

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Ukrainian

1.4%

Dakota

1.4%

Hebrew

1.4%

Japanese

1.4%

Russian

1.4%

Korean

1.4%
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Shop Technician Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

23.4%

University of Phoenix

9.6%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

7.5%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

7.2%

South Louisiana Community College

4.5%

Full Sail University

4.2%

Oklahoma State University

4.2%

Texas A&M University

3.6%

NASCAR Technical Institute

3.3%

The Academy

3.3%

Community College of the Air Force

3.3%

Syracuse University

3.0%

Brigham Young University

3.0%

Vincennes University

3.0%

Pulaski Technical College

3.0%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

3.0%

San Juan College

2.7%

Delgado Community College

2.7%

Casper College

2.7%

University of Utah

2.7%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

18.3%

Business

12.9%

Electrical Engineering

7.2%

Fine Arts

7.0%

Mechanical Engineering

6.8%

General Studies

5.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.9%

Industrial Technology

4.8%

Graphic Design

4.3%

Criminal Justice

3.6%

Computer Science

3.5%

Precision Metal Working

3.3%

Drafting And Design

2.7%

Information Technology

2.7%

Management

2.3%

Education

2.0%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.0%

Aviation

2.0%

Computer Networking

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

34.2%

Bachelors

28.6%

Associate

19.6%

Certificate

7.8%

Masters

4.9%

Diploma

4.1%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$47,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$30,000
Min 10%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$47,000
Median 50%
$73,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Contours
Highest Paying City
Richmond, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Shop Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Shop Technician in the United States is $47,266 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $30,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $73,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Shop Technician?

Have you worked as a Shop Technician? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Shop Technician.

Top Skills for A Shop Technician

  1. Order Parts
  2. Safety Equipment
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Look up and order parts for rebuilds, write up price quotes, be neat and organized.
  • Service and maintenance of various fire safety equipment
  • Shop Technician / Retail sales associate provided excellent customer service, performed automotive aftermarket installations from start to finish.
  • Developed and schedule preventative maintenance on equipment and other process optimizing solutions for continuous production flow with minimal downtime.
  • Worked as a technician on customer vehicles adding aftermarket performance parts along with repairing and diagnosing problems on customers vehicles.

How Would You Rate Working As a Shop Technician?

Are you working as a Shop Technician? Help us rate Shop Technician as a Career.

Top Shop Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Shop Technician Employers

Shop Technician Videos

Auto Body Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

What A Day As A Mechanic Looks Like ~Time Lapse Video

A Day in The Life of a Mechanic.mov

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