How Long Does It Take to Become a Diesel Mechanic?

Diesel engines power so much of the heavy machinery and vehicles that run industries like transport, automobiles and manufacturing etc. Buses, trucks (mail and cargo), lifters, commercial generators, cranes and a lot of other machinery is hence dependent on diesel mechanics for proper functioning.
There is a significant demand for diesel mechanics and it is set to grow in the years to come. If you are interested in pursuing this as a career choice, this piece will provide all the information you need.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Diesel Mechanic

Diesel mechanics perform a number of duties. These are listed below.

  • Fault diagnosis as well as proper maintenance and overhauling of various diesel engine types
  • Tracing fault codes and doing the needful to rectify them
  • Carrying out diesel engine performance assessment as well as running any needed diagnostic tests
  • Taking care of all engine parts (plugs, transmission, etc.) and repairing/replacing them when needed
  • Preparation and maintenance of engine service summaries/records

Diesel Mechanic Requirements

To become a diesel mechanic, you need to be 18 years old at least and hold a high school diploma (HSD) or a GED certificate. You will then be eligible to enroll in any specialized post-secondary diesel mechanic education and training program.

Steps to Become a Diesel Mechanic

  1. Finish high school

This is the bare minimum academic qualification you need.

  1. Diesel mechanic education and training

After high school, you can choose from a number of associate’s degrees and certificate programs to enroll into. Courses are delivered in diesel engine repair, diesel engineering, automotive mechanics and other related fields.

  1. Work experience

After completing your post-secondary education, you can start working at the entry-level. As you gain experience and learn new things, you will be able to move up the career ladder and take on roles with greater responsibility.

  1. Apprenticeship

There are no national or state-specific requirements that make it compulsory for diesel mechanics to undergo an apprenticeship. However, it certainly has its advantages. You will be able to polish your skill set and get better career opportunities.

  1. Certification

Getting a diesel mechanic certification is not required in most states. You can, however, enhance your employment and career growth prospects by becoming certified. Most diesel mechanics go for the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification for which an assessment is carried out by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Diesel Mechanic?

The time taken to become a diesel mechanic will depend upon when you enter the field and with what qualifications. If you do so straight out of high school, then you will most likely be working as a trainee diesel mechanic under the supervision of a senior diesel mechanic. You will be working for around 2 to 4 years as a trainee. On the other hand, if you acquire some specialized education and training beforehand, then it is likely to take you between 6 months and 2 years to become a diesel mechanic.

Diesel Mechanic Salary

As of May 2018, diesel service technicians and mechanics made $47,350 in annual median pay. The corresponding hourly pay was $22.76. This is as per data available with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Growth and Career Outlook for Diesel Mechanics

Diesel service technicians and mechanics can expect a 9% increase in employment opportunities between 2016 and 2026 (data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). This is an encouraging sign for people planning to become diesel mechanics in the next few years.