Diesel Mechanic

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D iesel engines power the vehicles that are essential to our everyday lives, from transport trucks, to buses to industrial equipment, which is why it is vital that these engines are maintained to keep them in good working order thus the need for skilled diesel mechanics.

What Does a Diesel Mechanic Do?

Diesel mechanics and service technicians maintain and repair large vehicles and other machinery that run on diesel fuel and typically do the following:

  • Use scanning tools and diagnostic software to identify issues
  • Interpret diagnostic tests
  • Inspect engines, suspension, brake and steering systems, exhaust systems and transmissions
  • Repair or replace mechanical or electrical equipment components
  • Perform routine care and maintenance, such as changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires

How to Become a Diesel Mechanic

You not only need hands-on training to become a diesel mechanic; there is also an important classroom component which is why its important to attend a diesel mechanic training program at a vocational or trade school. The in-class courses cover how diesel fuels work, how diesel engines work, how they are built and the typical areas and causes of failure.

How Long is a Diesel Mechanic Program?

On average, a diesel mechanic program is between 6 months and 1 year in length for a certificate program and between one and two years for an associate’s degree in diesel mechanics or technology.

Job Outlook for Diesel Mechanics

Diesel Mechanics who have graduated from a trade or vocational school typically have the best job opportunities as those without formal training often require more supervision making them more expensive and time-consuming for employers.  Diesel service technicians and mechanics employment outlook is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Pay and Job Outlook
2019 Median Pay $48,500 per year
Job Outlook 2019 - 29 3% (as fast as average)

Source:  United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics February 10, 2021

Diesel Mechanic Certification

While certification is not required, getting certified from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the standard credential for diesel and other automotive service technicians and mechanics and demonstrates a diesel technician’s competence to potential employers, often bringing higher pay.

Diesel mechanics may be certified in specific areas, such as electronic systems, drivetrains and preventative maintenance and inspection. To earn certification, technicians must have 2 years of work experience and pass one or more ASE exams. To remain certified, diesel technicians must pass a recertification exam every 5 years.

Important Qualities for a Diesel Technician or Mechanic

To be a successful diesel mechanic you should:

  • Be Detail Oriented and have good trouble shooting skills
  • Have good dexterity
  • Have good mechanical skills
  • Have good customer-service skills
  • Have good organizational skills
  • Have physical strength


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