Diesel Technician: Job Description & Career Requirements

Diesel technicians have the option to work for employers or become self-employed. Read on to learn about the training, required skills, salary and employment outlook for this occupation.

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Career Definition for a Diesel Technician

A diesel technician has the job of repair and maintenance of diesel engines that power many types of equipment, such as buses, construction vehicles, and agricultural equipment. The diesel technician is responsible for repairing diesel engines and all the components that help to make the engines operate efficiently. Electronics, such as fuel regulators, emissions controls systems, and timing systems are often added to original power plants, so the diesel technician makes use of laptop or hand-held computer units to improve efficiency.

Education Associate's degree in diesel technology
Job Skills Problem solving, mechanical aptitude, leadership, computer operation
Median Pay (May 2015) $21.40 per hour bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (Diesel service technicians and mechanics)

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

Although a diesel technician can enter the field by the hobby route, the best prospects are for those who have completed the requirements of an associate degree in diesel technology. Many community colleges and trade schools offer appropriate coursework in applied sciences. As the complexity of diesel technology increases, the diesel technician must participate in more comprehensive training in order to stay abreast of the new developments. More responsible positions can result from on-the-job training or advanced technology courses.

Skills Required

A career in diesel technology requires strong skills in problem solving and a good mechanical aptitude. Leadership skills are encouraged for those who have responsibility for crew management or supervision. Skills in computer operation and use are increasingly important for the diesel technician.

Career and Economic Outlook

Opportunities for those who have earned a degree in diesel technology are expected to be about average, with 12% growth projected during the years 2014-2024. Increasing use of diesel in transportation vehicles creates additional demand for diesel technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the median hourly wage for diesel technicians was reported as $21.40 in May 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians

These technicians often earn 1- or 2-year certificates, but they may also opt for associate's degrees. Some technicians may learn their skills in diagnosing, repairing and overhauling large, mobile equipment while on the job. The BLS predicted 5% employment growth from 2014-2024 and reported a median hourly salary of $18.20 in 2015.

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

Some techs and mechanics might decide to pursue working on cars and light trucks instead, finding training for this career. Programs last from 6 months to 2 years, and some of the skills are learned on the job. Employment growth of 5% from 2014-2024 was anticipated by the BLS for this job that offered a median hourly salary in 2015 of $18.20.

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