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Diesel Technician

Education and Training: High school and specialty training
Average Salary: $18.94 per hour
Job Outlook: Fair

Diesel technicians specialize in repairing diesel engines. They work in all types of different industries, including auto repair, government, schools, and any entity that uses diesel engines in its automotive fleet. Diesel technicians fix engines, do routine maintenance, and perform routine checks on cars, buses and trucks to ensure they are running to peak capacity.

Education and Training Requirements

People wishing to pursue careers as diesel technicians should study automotive repair, electronics, sciences and math while in high school. After high school, it is recommended that people enroll in vocational school or community college programs that will lead to an associate’s degree or certification as a diesel technician. It is also possible to learn the trade via on-the-job training. However, those with formal training will most likely be able to secure work as a diesel technician easier than those who do not have further education.

Getting the Job

There are many ways to get jobs as diesel technicians. Those who have earned some type of certification via a vocational school, or a college degree, should be able to secure jobs or apprenticeships at automotive shops, but on-the-job training opportunities are available, too. Some technicians begin their careers with preparation and light automotive work like cleaning parts, performing oil changes, and other car lubrication tasks. Often, this work can lead to minor repair work, and later more difficult repair jobs as they gain experience. This work includes, engine, brakes, transmission and electrical repair work.

Those who have mechanical aptitude, are good problem solvers, and are in good shape are good candidates to secure work as a diesel technician because of the skills required to perform the job. Diesel technicians will also need to have a driver’s license in the state where they are employed. It is often required that candidates take a drug test. Those who have experience repairing automobiles as a hobby or in the armed forces will be looked upon favorably for open jobs.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The need for diesel technicians will continue to grow, but there are factors that could limit the need for workers. The government estimates the need for diesel technicians will grow by 6 percent from 2008-2018. This is below the overall growth average. However, diesel technicians will continue to find opportunities because the diesel engine is the most-preferred engine for trucks, buses, and large vehicles. Further, diesel technicians with formal training will have more favorable job prospects than those who do not.

Diesel technicians have a lot of options when they want to advance their careers. This position could lead to supervisory managerial positions like shop supervisor, manager, or a sales job. There is also the opportunity for a diesel technician to open his or her own shop.

Working Conditions and Environment

The work is performed in automotive workshops, which usually includes good lighting and are almost universally indoors. Repairs on the road or a specific location for a work site are also environments where diesel technicians can work. There is some heavy lifting required, and employers look for candidates who are in good physical shape. The standard 40-hour work week is usually the norm for diesel technicians, but overtime opportunities may exist. Injuries can occur, and diesel technicians sometimes have to work in odd positions in order to fix equipment.

Salary and Benefits

The median hourly wage for diesel technicians is $18.94. The lowest-paid technicians earned less than $12.50 per hour, while some earned more than $28 per hour. The potential to earn a commission with experience exists, and lower-skilled beginners typical earn half what experienced technicians earn.

Where to Go for More Information

National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
101 Blue Seal Dr. SE, Ste. 101
Leesburg, VA 20175
(703) 669-6650

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
101 Blue Seal Dr. SE, Ste. 101
Leesburg, VA 20175
(703) 669-6600

New York Automotive & Diesel Institute
178-18 Liberty Ave.
Jamaica, New York 11433
(718) 658-0006

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