Do you like big engines and inner workings or mechanics of heavy machineries? If you don’t mind getting grease on your hands and you like taking things apart or putting them back together, a career as a diesel mechanic might just be for you.

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What Are The Duties Of A Diesel Mechanic

Diesel mechanics are specialized technicians. They repair, maintain and inspect all sorts of diesel engines for various shops, garages, dealerships and companies etc. Diesel mechanics operate on enormous vehicles such as, trucks, buses, heavy/light duty machinery, boats, cars and vans etc.

Diesel engines are quite different from the gas-powered engines and therefore, need special treatment and care. The job requirements of diesel mechanics are very diverse. The typical job description of a diesel mechanic includes:

  • Diagnosing problems.
  • Inspecting engine parts.
  • Changing engine oil.
  • Replacing broken or old parts.
  • Cleaning engines.
  • Maintaining engine parts and systems.

How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Pennsylvania?

Becoming a diesel mechanic in Pennsylvania may take you a few months to a few years depending on the chosen education level and the duration of field experience. Most certifications take between 6 to 12 months to complete, whereas, an associate’s degree usually takes about 2 years (full-time program). It is better to opt for a program that is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Getting a state issued certification may take a few more months but it will help you get better job opportunities.

Requirements to Become a Diesel Mechanic

To begin your career as a diesel mechanic in Pennsylvania, you must follow the steps given below:

  1. Complete a high school diploma or an equivalent GED certificate.
  2. Obtain a post-secondary training in engine maintenance and repair i.e., a certification or an associate’s degree.
  3. Gain hands-on experience by working in the field as a Trainee Diesel Mechanic.
  4. Obtain professional state issued certification.

In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, diesel mechanics must possess the following skill set.

  • Technical ability:

Diesel Mechanics must have the knowledge to operate the technology and equipment that is used to repair engines.

  • Math Skills:

They must be able to do basic calculations with decimals and fractions. A strong knowledge of these basic concepts is important for their routine work.

  • Analytic ability:

They must possess the analytical skills to step back and see the bigger picture of what’s happening in the engine at any given time.

  • Attention to detail:

An excellent diesel mechanic always has an eye for detail to immediately pinpoint the origin of the problem in engines and their parts.

  • Patience:

The diesel mechanics must remain patient with customers and the unforeseen issues that may arise in their work and cause delays.

  • Communication skills:

They must also have strong people skills in order to work well as a member of a team.

  • Stamina:

The nature of their work causes diesel mechanics to stand for long periods of time. Therefore, they must have stamina to not let fatigue impact the quality of their work.

  • Willingness to learn:

In-service training is essential for keeping up with changes in the engines and the technology. Therefore, diesel mechanics must be willing to learn on the go.

Certifications to Become a Diesel Mechanic

Various study and certification programs are offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). These certifications are offered in areas of School & Transit Bus Maintenance, Truck Equipment and Heavy/Medium Trucks. To be enrolled in an ASE certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of relevant work experience.

How Much Does a Diesel Mechanic Make in Pennsylvania

As per the data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists earned $46,960 in annual mean income in the state of Pennsylvania in 2018.

Salary Trend of a Diesel Mechanic in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the annual mean income of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists for three years as:

2016 2017 2018
Annual Mean Salary (PA) $44,340 $44,680 $46,960
Annual Mean Salary (US) $46,710 $48,000 $49,150

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics


The above-mentioned income chart shows a gradual increase in the annual mean salary of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in Pennsylvania between 2016 and 2018.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania was the fourth highest state in terms of employment for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in both 2016 and 2017. In 2018, it climbed one place to become the state with the third highest employment level for this particular occupation.

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