If you are one of those people who have always loved cars, trucks, putting things together and taking them apart, becoming a diesel mechanic may be the right job for you. Diesel mechanics are responsible for keeping vehicles with diesel engines on the road and running smoothly. It is an exciting career for many who are interested in hands – on work.
What do Diesel Mechanics Do?
Diesel mechanics are very familiar with the inner workings of cars, trucks, and buses with diesel engines. They are responsible for test driving vehicles to check for difficulties or malfunctioning parts, diagnosing problems, basic maintenance such as oil changes, repairing damaged parts or systems, performing inspections, understanding results from computerized or manual diagnostic tests, and more. These mechanics know the vehicles inside and out to ensure efficiency and safety.
How do You Become a Diesel Mechanic?
In terms of official schooling, you usually do not need formal education beyond a high school diploma. With increasing frequency, however, employers prefer to hire candidates who have some continuing education in mechanics. Many local community colleges, and even some high school technical programs, offer courses in diesel mechanics that can be very valuable for gaining experience and help you stand out over other applicants. The National Institute For Automotive Service Excellence does certify mechanics who have demonstrated exceptional proficiency in their knowledge and capabilities in the field. This certification is not required, but definitely catches the eyes of employers. Since diesel mechanics often are required to test drive the vehicles they are working on, they may need to acquire a commercial driver’s license to certify their capability in driving large trucks and buses.
Most education for diesel mechanics, however, is hands on and on the job. Those just beginning may start with basic tasks such as cleaning or simple maintenance, and gradually receive greater responsibilities as they show proficiency. Even the continuing education classes often spend a number of hours working with actual machines. The value of experience cannot be underestimated in this field.
How much do Diesel Mechanics Make?
On the national average, diesel mechanics make $40,850 per year, although they may make $60,000 or more with experience and skill. The range in pay is due to a number of factors. Some diesel mechanics work for truck fleets, others for repair shops, and still others for local governments. Many workers also find their base salary padded through overtime payment, which is very common in the field, or commission payments.
What are Some Similar Occupations?
Those interested in working with their hands, but are not sure if becoming a diesel mechanic is the best path, should also investigate the variety of similar occupations available. Some people may be interested in becoming automotive service technicians or mechanics. Those in this field often make around $35,790 per year, or $17.21 per hour, and are also only required to have a high school diploma and receive extensive on the job training. Vocational programs offer helpful classes to prepare individuals for this field.
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians also have related, interesting careers. These individuals perform maintenance, inspections, and repairs on airplanes and helicopters. Those entering this field usually receive their training and certification from a special Aviation Maintenance Technician School. In this field, mechanics and technicians can expect to make an average of $53,220 per year.
Another career that may be interesting to many is a small engine mechanic. Employers looking for these mechanics often prefer to hire candidates who have certifications or some type of continuing education in the field, although it is not currently required. Small engine mechanics can work on a variety of types of engines, from motorcycles to motorboats, though many specialize in a particular type of engine. On average, these mechanics can expect to make around $31,790 per year.
Those who enjoy working in hands on careers will find the various fields that mechanics can learn interesting. Diesel mechanics certainly have an exciting career working with all types of diesel engines and problem solving daily. With quality training and hard work, it can be a successful career for skill applicants. If you are interested in this field, or and other related field, you should speak to local mechanics in that area today to begin finding your way into this career.