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Diesel Technician


How to Become a Diesel Technician
Diesel Technician Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Diesel Technician
Diesel Technician Salaries
Influential Professionals in Diesel Technician Field
Leading Organizations for Diesel Technicians
Top Cities for Diesel Technician Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Diesel Technician

Formal training provides a foundation in the latest diesel technology and instruction in the service and repair of job-related equipment. Training programs also teach technicians to interpret technical manuals and to communicate well with coworkers and customers.

A large number of community colleges, trade and vocational schools offer programs in diesel engine repair that last from six months to two years, leading to a certificate of completion or an associate degree. Programs may offer thirty hours per week of hands-on training with equipment or lab/classroom instruction.

Although national certification is not required for employment, many diesel engine technicians and mechanics find that it increases their ability to advance. Certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the recognized industry credential for diesel service technicians. Professionals may be certified in different subfields such as master truck equipment technicians. They may also be certified in various areas of repair, such as brakes, drive-trains, electrical and electronic systems, suspension and steering, or preventive maintenance and inspection. For certification in each area, a technician must pass one or more of the ASE-administered exams and present proof of two years relevant work experience. Diesel technicians are retested every five years.

Technicians also learn through on-the-job training and require three to four years of experience to become journey-level technicians. Technicians with at least three to four years of hands-on experience will qualify as journey-level diesel technicians.

Employers often send experienced technicians to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors, in which workers learn about the latest technology and repair techniques.

Most technicians work a standard forty-hour week. Technicians employed by truck and bus firms providing service around the clock may work evenings, nights, and weekends.

What does a Diesel Technician do?

Diesel service technicians repair and maintain the diesel engines that power transportation equipment. Diesel technicians work on mobile equipment, including cranes, bulldozers, road graders, combines, and farm tractors. Technicians also repair diesel-powered passenger cars, light trucks, or boats.

Technicians who work for organizations that maintain their own vehicles spend most of their time doing preventive maintenance. They inspect steering mechanisms, wheel bearings, and brake systems. After an inspection, technicians repair or replace anything that is not working properly.

Diesel service technicians use a variety of tools in their work, including power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches; machine tools, such as grinding machines and lathes to rebuild brakes; welding and flame-cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems; and jacks and hoists to lift and move large parts. Diesel service technicians and mechanics also use a variety of computerized testing equipment to pinpoint and analyze malfunctions in electrical systems and engines.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Diesel Technician?

Employers usually look for applicants who have mechanical aptitude and strong problem-solving skills. Technicians need a state commercial driver's license to test-drive trucks or buses on public roads. Many companies also require applicants to pass a drug test. Practical experience in automobile repair at an automotive service station, in the Armed Forces, or as a hobby is valuable as well.

Diesel technicians must be versatile to adapt to customers' needs and to new technologies. It is common for technicians to handle numerous types of repairs, working on a vehicle's electrical system one day and doing major engine repairs the next.

Diesel maintenance is becoming increasingly complex, as more electronic components are used to control the operation of an engine.

How much does a Diesel Technician make?

The average hourly pay for a diesel technician is around $17.65, with local government positions granting more lucrative pay at 21.22 an hour.

Experienced technicians employed by truck fleet dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer, with their weekly earnings dependent upon the amount of work completed.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Although no longer alive, Rudolph Diesel was the father of diesel technology, inventing the first engine which ran on compression ignition. He was a German mechanical engineer and inventor. There is now an award in Germany given in Diesel's name, which recognizes inventors and entrepreneurs.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

About twenty-three percent of diesel service technicians and mechanics are members of labor unions. These include: The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; The Amalgamated Transit Union; The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; The Transport Workers Union of America; The Sheet Metal Workers' International Association; and, lastly, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

What are the top cities for Diesel Technician jobs?

Diesel engines are becoming cleaner burning and more efficient-to comply with current emissions and environmental standards-and are expected to be used in more passenger vehicles, creating more jobs for diesel service technicians. Opportunities for employment are good for people who complete formal training in diesel mechanics at community colleges or vocational and technical schools.

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