Career Definition for a Truck Maintenance Technician
Truck maintenance technicians work in trucking companies, repair shops, and gas stations all over the country. These techs work on the mechanical parts of a truck, such as the engine, wheels, accelerator, and brakes. They also use complicated diagnostic computers to discover problems and issues with a particular truck. They may work directly for companies in a variety of industries, servicing a fleet of similar vehicles, or may be employed by repair shops that service a variety of commercial trucks.
|Education||High school diploma or equivalent required, associate degrees available|
|Certification/License||Exam given through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, commercial driver's license required for test driving|
|Job Skills||Mechanical technology, diagnostics, electrical equipment knowledge|
|Median Salary (2017)||$46,360* (for diesel service technicians and mechanics)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||9%* (for diesel service technicians and mechanics)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Most employers require either a high school diploma or equivalent. An associate's degree in automotive technology can help to increase career opportunities in a crowded and competitive marketplace.
Required Certification and Licensure
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, (www.ase.com), requires you to pass a master truck technician exam in order to become a truck maintenance technician. This exam covers diesel engines, drive trains, brakes, suspension, steering, electrical systems, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Possession of a commercial driver's license may also be required so that truck maintenance technicians can perform test drives to diagnose problems if needed.
Before a truck leaves a warehouse, a truck maintenance technician must check the level of the fuel and oil and inspect the truck to make sure the brakes, accelerator, and engine are all working properly. Truck maintenance technicians are also required to have extensive knowledge of mechanical technology, diagnostic computers, and electrical equipment. They must be able to solve challenging problems quickly and efficiently and record their work so that future mechanics and technicians know what work has already been completed.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage among diesel maintenance technicians was $46,360 in 2017. The outlook for a career as a diesel maintenance technician is positive, with the BLS predicting 9% job growth from 2016-2026, as trucking and shipping will always be in demand. However, economic troubles can severely affect the shipping and trucking industries, as companies move fewer goods and increased gas prices reduce the profitability of commercial trucking.
Alternate Career Options
These are some other options to consider in the field of vehicular inspection and repair:
Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician
These kinds of mechanics can work on construction, farming, mining, and rail transportation vehicles, performing repair and maintenance work on engines, brake systems, transmissions, and more. They often work on-site. It's possible to get a job with a high school diploma, although some employers prefer to hire candidates with some postsecondary vocational training; those options include certificate and associate's degree programs, too. Some mechanics may qualify for voluntary manufacturer's certification. In general, jobs in this field are expected to grow 8% from 2016-2026, per the BLS; however, jobs in rail car repair are expected to grow only 5%, and the job outlook for farm equipment is projected to be 8% for the same decade. The BLS reports that heavy equipment mechanics, except those who specialized in engine repair, earned median pay of $50,860 in 2017, while farm equipment mechanics earned $39,340, and rail car repairers earned $57,460 that same year.
Automotive Service Technician and Mechanic
These mechanics perform repair and maintenance tasks on cars and light trucks. They use specialized instruments to diagnose problems and specialized tools to adjust, install or repair parts. Common duties include engine tune-ups, oil changes, and brake pad replacement. Automotive service technicians and mechanics can get a job with a high school diploma and on-the-job training or with a certificate or associate's degree in automotive technology or a related field. Voluntary professional certification is available; however, those who work with refrigerants are required to hold a special license issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Workers in this field can expect average job growth, according to the BLS; the rate of job growth is predicted to be 6% from 2016-2026. The BLS also reports that automotive service mechanics earned median pay of $39,550 in 2017.