Career Summary

Nature of the Work-

Diesel engines are more efficient and durable than their gasoline engines. These powerful engines are standard in our Nation's trucks, locomotives, and buses and are becoming more prevalent in light vehicles, including passenger vehicles, pickups, and other work trucks.

Diesel technicians use a variety of tools in their work, including power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches machine tools, grinders, welding and flame-cutting equipment, and jacks. Diesel service technicians and mechanics also use a variety of computerized testing equipment to pinpoint and analyze malfunctions in electrical systems and engines.


Median hourly wages of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, including incentive pay, were $18.94 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $15.25 and $23.58 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.50, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.41 an hour.


High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, English, mathematics, and physics provide a strong educational background for a career as a diesel service technician or mechanic. Many mechanics have additional training after high school.

A large number of community colleges and trade and vocational schools offer programs in diesel engine repair. These programs usually last from 6 months to 2 years and may lead to a certificate of completion or an associate degree. Some offer about 30 hours per week of hands-on training with equipment; others offer more lab or classroom instruction. Formal training provides a foundation in the latest diesel technology and instruction in the service and repair of the equipment that technicians will encounter on the job. Training programs also teach technicians to interpret technical manuals and to communicate well with co-workers and customers. Increasingly, employers work closely with representatives of educational programs, providing instructors with the latest equipment, techniques, and tools and offering jobs to graduates.





© Christian Cole 2011