What does a diesel mechanic do? Diesel mechanics work on buses, trucks, and basically any other type of automobile that runs on diesel fuel. Some tasks over the course a diesel mechanic’s day may include:

  • You look over the work order, determine the scope of work, and consult with the customer.
  • You use charts and manuals to plot out the necessary repairs.
  • You inspect the parts, from the hood to bumper.
  • You may need to use a checklist to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  • You use diagnostic testing to figure out what’s going on with the vehicle.
  • Anything that’s damaged you either repair or replace.
  • Most often, you’ll be doing basic maintenance, whether it’s an oil change or replacing fluids, and rotating the tires.
  • Once you’ve made the necessary repairs, you test drive the vehicle to make sure you did the outstanding job you’re known for.

How do I become a certified diesel mechanic?

There’s a process to becoming a qualified diesel mechanic. It’s true that many diesel mechanics have learned the trade through on-the-job training in the past. Modern employers sometimes expect some post-secondary education.

  • Get your high school diploma or GED.
  • If you’re lucky enough to find on-the-job training, expect 3-4 years of training. Oh, and skip the next bullet point.
  • Find a community college or trade school that offers certificates or diplomas for diesel engine repair.
  • You’ll have both classroom instruction and hands-on training when you enroll in these programs.
  • The industry-standard certification is through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. It may not be required, but it’s highly encouraged.
  • You can specialize in areas such as drive-trains, electronic systems, and preventative maintenance and inspection.
  • To be eligible for certification, you must have two years of work experience and pass at least one ASE exam.
  • You have to get re-certified every five years.
  • Many diesel mechanics also need their CDL, which allows them to test drive the trucks and buses they work on.

How much will I earn as a diesel mechanic?

The median annual wage, which means the point where half make more and half make less, is $47,350. When you’re just starting out in the career, expect to earn more along the lines of $30,000. But you can look forward to a salary of over $72,000 once you’re very experienced. If you’re in a truck fleet dealership or repair shop, you may also earn commission on top of your salary. Many diesel mechanics report working a lot of overtime, and it’s also common to work on weekends and during the evenings. But hey, overtime is good!

Will I be able to find a job?

Yes, you’ll be able to find a job, assuming you’re qualified and certified. Employment growth is predicted to be a bit faster than average, with almost 26,000 jobs opening through 2026. If you have post-secondary training or got some hands-on training with an excellent teacher, then your chances of scoring a gig increase. If you’re untrained and in search of on-the-job training, then your chances decrease. That’s a time-consuming, and potentially expensive, endeavor these days. Not saying it can’t happen, but if you do the school thing, then it just puts the odds more in your favor.

Find a diesel mechanic training program.

last edit: 8.21.19

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