Schools for Aspiring Heavy Equipment Mechanics

Heavy equipment mechanics repair, maintain and service diesel-powered equipment and vehicles, and there are different types of programs that offer training for prospective mechanics. Both certificate and associate's degree programs can be found at various 2-year colleges.

How to Select a Heavy Equipment Mechanic School

Although many professional heavy equipment mechanics do not complete a formal education program and gain experience through on-the-job-training instead, many employers prefer to hire employees who have earned a certificate or degree from a heavy equipment mechanic program. Prospective students may find these programs at technical schools, community colleges and vocational institutes.

Summary of Considerations

  • Length of program
  • Hands-on training
  • Cost

Length of Program

Aspiring mechanics can earn a certificate or an associate degree in heavy equipment technology, which combines both classroom and hands-on education. Certificates take less time to complete than associate's degrees and require fewer, if any, general education courses. An associate's degree might be preferable to someone wanting to transfer to a university.

Hands-on Training

Hands-on training and previous experience are important hiring requirements for heavy diesel mechanics. Prospective students may want to look for programs that are affiliated with local businesses. Those business affiliations may provide students with the opportunity to participate in a partnership or co-op and gain additional work-related experience.


The least expensive program is not necessarily the best choice for an aspiring mechanic. Program costs differ between certificate and associate degree programs, and some programs include different certifications in the cost of tuition.

Heavy Equipment Mechanic Program Overviews

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs give students enough knowledge and training to find an entry-level position as a heavy equipment mechanic. Course topics include:

  • Diesel power trains
  • Welding
  • Hydraulics
  • Diesel engines

Associate Degree Programs

Students who wish to earn an associate degree in heavy equipment technology typically earn an Associate of Science, an Associate of Technology or an Associate of Occupational Studies. Most programs focus on fuel, electrical and brake systems, as well as repair, maintenance and analysis of diesel engines. Some programs ready students for national certification in heavy diesel engine emission control and for National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification exams. Coursework may cover:

  • Basic truck electronics
  • Heavy duty drive trains
  • Air brake service
  • Diesel fuel systems
  • Air conditioning, cooling and heating

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