Diesel mechanics work with heavy-duty vehicles and equipment, such as buses, trucks, construction equipment and agricultural machinery. They diagnose, repair and maintain these types of engines. They also perform maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations.
A bachelor’s degree is typically needed to become a diesel mechanic. However, high school courses in automobile repair, electronics, English and mathematics provide an excellent foundation for a diesel mechanic career.
An apprenticeship is another option to gain experience as a diesel mechanic. These programs can last three to four years and include classroom instruction as well as hands-on work.
Certifications and licenses are also important to employers. For example, the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification shows employers that you have the knowledge and skills to work on diesel engines. This can help you receive offers and possibly a higher starting salary.
You can learn the skills you need to be a diesel mechanic by taking online courses or attending vocational schools. Many community colleges and trade and vocational schools offer programs in diesel engine repair, which can last six months to two years. These programs cover the latest technology and teach the specific skills you’ll need to do your job.
Problem solving is an important skill for a diesel mechanic to have. This is because you’ll often have to figure out how to fix a problem on your own or with the help of other people. This requires you to think through all the components of an issue and decide which solution will yield the best result.
Teamwork is another important trait for diesel mechanics to have. This is because you’ll be working with your fellow employees on the shop floor and your customers when performing repairs. You’ll also need to be able to collaborate with your colleagues on new projects and problems.
A great way to improve your diesel mechanic skills is by reading trade publications and attending seminars related to the industry. These events can give you the opportunity to network with other diesel technicians and learn new techniques and products for diagnosing and repairing fuel injection systems.
Developing your technical skills can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Some diesel technicians complete an associate degree in diesel technology, a degree that provides you with the technical training you need to succeed as a diesel mechanic. Other diesel mechanics complete certification programs to gain additional qualifications.
Employers are also looking for diesel mechanics who have a good understanding of the tools and materials used in the field, such as hand and power tools. This is especially important for newer diesel mechanics who may have limited experience with these types of tools.
The diesel mechanic career path is a good choice for people who love mechanical challenges, and it offers a variety of positions within the industry. You can start as a junior tech and advance to a supervisor or shop owner, where you can earn a higher salary.
Whether you choose to get formal training or start out as a diesel technician, make sure you have a clear plan for how you’ll achieve your goal. It’s easy to fall behind if you don’t have a concrete path in mind.