In an associate's degree in medium and heavy duty truck technology students learn how to diagnose and repair problems with engines, brake systems, transaxles, suspension and other systems. Similar programs exist to train individuals in diesel technology at trade and technical schools and community colleges. Most programs seek approval of their curriculum from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Associate's degree programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent and take two years to complete.
Associate's Degree in Medium and Heavy Truck Technology
These associate's degree programs typically contain courses in general education, such as English, math and science, in addition to coursework specific to medium and heavy duty truck technology. Such programs also usually include internships. Those who want to specialize in emergency vehicle technology may find workshops to prepare them for certification from the Emergency Vehicle Technician Certification Commission. Graduates must pass several examinations in order to become credentialed. Course topics include:
- Engine repair for medium/heavy duty vehicles
- Pneumatics and hydraulics
- Basic and advanced electrical systems
- Heavy duty brake systems
- Suspension and steering systems
- Maintenance inspection for heavy duty trucks
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
An associate's degree program can prepare an individual for a career as a diesel service technician and mechanic who repairs many types of heavy machinery, such as diesel ambulances, trucks, buses or tractors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted job growth for this group of workers to be 12% from 2014 to 2024. The median salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists was $44,520 in May 2015.
Certification and Continuing Education
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers a voluntary certification program for diesel and other automobile service technicians. The program generally requires a certain amount of work experience, a passing grade on an exam, and an adherence to a code of ethics.
For certification in emergency vehicle maintenance and repair, the Emergency Vehicle Technician Certification Commission, which came out of local and national fire chiefs associations, offers credential programs that include a series of exams for different levels of emergency vehicle technician skills. Some schools offer workshops to prepare individuals for the exams. There is also a National Emergency Vehicle Technician Training Academy, sponsored by the Florida Fire Chiefs Association, along with local chapters in many states that offer occasional training and workshops.
Aspiring mechanics wanting to repair and maintain emergency vehicles should pursue an associate's degree in medium and heavy truck technology. In addition to general education requirements these programs teach students how to work on various mechanical systems of emergency vehicles, as well as the skills needed to pass related certification exams.