Diesel mechanics work on buses, trucks, and basically any other type of vehicle that runs on diesel fuel. in this article we’ll cover the job description and how to become a diesel mechanic. 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 To 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.

Check out our ASE H2 Transit Bus Diesel Engines Practice Test for a fun little quiz.

How Much Money Do Diesel Mechanics Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, diesel mechanics earned an average of $59,920 in 2023. When you’re just starting out in the career, expect to earn more along the lines of $39,020. But you can look forward to a salary of over $82,000 once you’re very experienced (source: BLS).

Salary information updated in April of 2024.

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!

Find a diesel mechanic training program.