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Ever wonder what it’s like to be a diesel mechanic?
Diesel engines power some of the biggest players in our economy. From construction and mining to agriculture and manufacturing, diesel equipment and trucks keep some of the world’s most important industries running.
Our dependence on diesel engines creates exciting opportunities for those who work on them. Keep reading to learn all about the life of a diesel mechanic, including their day-to-day responsibilities, compensation and more.
Diesel mechanics (often referred to as diesel technicians) inspect, repair and overhaul trucks, buses and any vehicle with a diesel engine. Bulldozers, cranes and dump trucks are just some of the vehicles they commonly work on.
These mechanics possess in-depth knowledge of vehicle electrical systems, engines and all of their working parts. Strong analytical skills, familiarity with technology and the ability to think on their feet and are just a few of the common traits diesel techs are known for.
On any given day, they may complete a variety of tasks, from performing basic maintenance to using a computer to adjust engine functions.
So what exactly does a diesel mechanic do? This varies based on industry, location and level of experience. However, common responsibilities of diesel mechanics often include:
Diesel mechanics rely on a variety of tools to complete their work (be sure to check out this list of 125+ tools for diesel mechanics!). This includes diagnostic software and wrenches. In addition to
using power tools, they use basic hand tools such as screwdrivers, sockets and ratchets and pliers. Employers typically provide specialized heavy equipment, but diesel mechanics are expected to have their own set of hand tools.
An important aspect of a diesel mechanic’s job is following safety procedures. Diesel techs work with large, powerful equipment that can be dangerous without following proper safety procedures, such as wearing protective eyewear, never placing hands,
tools or other objects near an engine while it’s running, cleaning their work area properly and disconnecting the battery when working on electrical systems.
When it comes to work environment, diesel mechanics commonly work in the following industries:
A small percentage of diesel mechanics are self-employed. However, many work in a repair shop setting and at times, will repair vehicles at worksites or on roadsides. To learn more about specific diesel careers, check out this list of types of diesel mechanic jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers are increasingly preferring applicants who have completed post-secondary
training programs in diesel engine repair. Additionally, obtaining industry certification may be helpful because certification demonstrates a diesel technician’s competence and experience.
Universal Technical Institute’s 45-week Diesel Technology program was designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience required by today’s diesel industry. The program, which can be
completed in less than a year, provides students with the opportunity to learn to diagnose and repair diesel fuel systems, perform hydraulic services and receive hands-on training with equipment from leading brands in the industry.
Additionally, UTI’s diesel program is master certified by the ASE Education Foundation. As a graduate of the program, you’ll be well prepared to complete ASE examinations and can substitute your
training for one year of the two years of work experience required to become ASE certified.
After completing your core program, you may choose to complete one of UTI’s diesel advanced training programs. Created in conjunction with leading manufacturers, these programs are designed to
simulate a real-world working environment and provide you with specialized knowledge needed to work for a specific manufacturer.
If you’re considering a career as a diesel mechanic, you may be wondering, “How much does a diesel mechanic make?”
Like most fields, a diesel mechanic’s salary is dependent on several factors, including location, industry and experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
the median annual salary for diesel service technicians and mechanics was $50,200 in May 2020.29 This means half of diesel technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends
on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.
Job outlook is another important factor to consider when exploring a career path. According to the BLS, there are more than 28,000 estimated average annual job openings in the U.S. for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists.43
Due to the growing popularity of diesel cars and light trucks, diesel mechanics will be needed to repair and maintain these vehicles. Additionally, more freight is continuing to be shipped across the country with diesel-powered trucks wherever trains
and pipelines are not available or economical, which creates opportunities for diesel mechanics. The BLS states that workers
who have completed post-secondary education should have the best job opportunities,1 followed by graduates of accepted high school automotive programs.
Overall, the future looks promising for those interested in becoming a diesel mechanic. As the field continues to grow and advance due to changes in technology, those skilled in the trade can pursue exciting opportunities.
UTI’s 45-week Diesel Technology program is offered at campus locations across the country. To learn more, visit our program page and request information today.
If you're interested in learning how you can register for the Diesel Technology program Just click the link below or call (800) 834-7308 to speak with one of our friendly Admissions Representatives.
1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
6) UTI graduates' achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages.
11) See program details for eligibility requirements and conditions that may apply.
15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.
29) Estimated annual median salary for Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2020. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or
salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect
wages. Entry-level salaries may be lower. UTI programs prepare graduates for careers in industries using the provided training, primarily as diesel technicians. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a diesel
truck technician, such as maintenance technician, locomotive technician and marine diesel technician. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Bus and Truck Mechanics
and Diesel Engine Specialists (49-3031) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $34,323 to $70,713 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2019 data, viewed June 2, 2021, https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageSpecificOccupations#).
North Carolina salary information: The U.S. Department of Labor estimate of hourly earnings of the middle 50% for skilled diesel technicians in North Carolina, published May 2021, is $23.20. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level
salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $19.41 and $16.18, respectively. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2020. Bus and Truck Mechanics
and Diesel Engine Specialists, viewed June 2, 2021.)
43) For Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an annual average of 28,100 job openings between 2020 and 2030. Job openings include openings due to net employment changes and net replacements.
See Table 1.10 Occupational separations and openings, projected 2020–30, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, viewed November 18, 2021. UTI is an educational institution and cannot
guarantee employment or salary. Updated on November 18, 2021.
Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.