Truck Repair Technician: Career Profile

Sep 17, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a truck repair technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training programs, job duties and professional certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Truck repair technicians typically enter the field with a high school diploma, however, applicants who complete a certificate or associate's degree in a relevant field will be able to compete more effectively for job openings.

Essential Information

Truck repair technicians, also called diesel service technicians, are mechanics who specialize in repairing diesel engines and the vehicles they power. Aspiring truck repair technicians can train through certificate and associate's degree programs at community colleges and vocational schools. Many employers want mechanics who are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), which requires experience and passing a test. Most diesel service technicians work for private companies, but there are also opportunities within the government.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree in a relevant field recommended
Other Requirements ASE certification preferred
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% for diesel service technicians and mechanics
Median Salary (2018)* $47,350 for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description

Truck repair technicians may conduct regular inspections and maintenance on diesel engines. Their particular duties may include replacing oil, testing batteries, realigning wheels and tightening loose screws and bolts. Technicians may also utilize equipment such as chassis charts, computers and gauges in the diagnostic and inspection process.

Since their work environment is so hazardous, technicians may also need to be mindful of safety procedures and equipment, such as hard hats, goggles and insulated gloves. The physical demands of the job, which may include lifting parts and equipment and carrying them from one spot to another, may require technicians to maintain a minimal degree of fitness.

Education Requirements

Although some technicians may learn their trade while on-the-job, most employers prefer hiring candidates with formal training in high school trade programs, associate's degree programs and certificate programs. Some high schools may offer training in trades like truck repair to upperclassmen who have sufficient math and reading skills. Students may gain an understanding in diesel fuel systems, engine repair, electricity and brake systems.

In addition to acquiring an advantage in the job market, students planning on attending community college may be able to apply these high school credits toward their associate's degree. Students in diesel technician post-secondary programs may be trained in areas such as engine inspection, repair, assembly and disassembly.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists was $47,350 in 2018 (www.bls.gov). This estimate is subject to change when factors like location, skill level and employer are involved. Although the BLS predicts as fast as the average job growth from 2018-2028 for diesel service technicians and mechanics compared to other occupations, it does note that the best job prospects will be available to the most highly skilled workers who've undergone some form of postsecondary education or training.

The 5% projected job growth increase from 2018-2028 is as fast as the average. Applicants who complete a certificate or associate's degree should be able to compete effectively for openings as a truck repair technician. Taking shop classes, completing an internship or gaining volunteer work experience will also help applicants competing for jobs in this field.

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