Students learn the basic processes of diesel engine maintenance techniques and then put those techniques into practice in a supervised workshop setting. They learn how to identify diesel engine issues, devise a corrective plan and implement that plan to repair the engine. All students must have a high school education or GED equivalent before enrolling in an associate's degree program in diesel mechanics and technology at a community college or vocational school. Such schools also recommend that incoming students complete at least two years of math, science and English classes while in a high school-type setting.
Associate's Degree in Diesel Technology
Some of the specific skills and processes that might be covered within an associate's degree program in diesel technology include those related to transmission repair, engine overhaul, chassis maintenance, fuel injection and refrigeration. Students learn through lectures and practical courses that include:
- Diesel engine technology
- Hydraulics and electricity
- Heavy duty brake systems
- Diesel air conditioning systems
- Diesel electronic fuels
- Shop skills lab
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment for diesel technicians and mechanics is predicted to rise by 12% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is faster than the average projected job growth rate for that period. Those individuals who have a formal educational background in the field will have a better chance at finding jobs. The BLS reported that in 2015, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists held 251,750 positions in the country and earned a median annual salary of $44,520.
Continuing Education Options
Diesel mechanics and technicians are not legally required to gain certification before practicing in their field, but many do opt for certification to prove their competence as technicians. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers a credential specifically aimed towards diesel technicians. Individuals must prove two years of experience in the field and pass an examination before they can earn the designation.
Aspiring diesel mechanics can pursue an associate's degree in diesel technology to learn the skills they need to become mechanics and specialists who work on a variety of machinery with diesel engines. Although graduates are not required to acquire certification before working professionally, achieving certification shows employers that job prospects have the skills needed to work without additional training.