How to Begin a Professional Career as a Diesel Service Technician

How to Begin a Professional Career as a Diesel Service Technician


How to Begin a Professional Career as a Diesel Service Technician

Diesel Service Technician: A Quick Look
Median Salary $42,320 per year
$20.35 per hour
Entry-level Education High school degree or an equivalent
On-the-job training No
Primary employers Private truck transport companies, government organizations
Number of positions (U.S.) 250,800
Job Growth (2012-2022) 9 percent (slightly slower than the national average)
New positions (2012-2022) 21,600

What Does A Diesel Service Technician Do? A Diesel Service Technicians ensure that automotive vehicles running on Diesel maintain good working order. They do so by servicing the vehicle with regular check ups and repairs. Read more.

Salary The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median yearly pay for Diesel Service Technicians stands at $43,320 as of May of 2012. Read more.

Becoming A Diesel Service Technician If an interested candidate wishes to become a Diesel Service Technician, most of the skills and expertise needed to properly perform the job can be accumulated while working hands-on. Candidates must possess a High School Diploma or GED. Find out more about How to Begin a Professional Career as a Diesel Service Technician here: Read more.


Job Outlook The professional outlook for Diesel Service Technicians remains positive over the course of the next decade (2012 through 2022) at a growth rate of 9%. However, the Bureau’s expectation is slightly below the predicted growth for all occupations in the U.S. (11%) Read more.

Diesel Service Technician Salary

Diesel Service Technician According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary for Diesel Service Technicians stood at $43,320 as of May 2012. That figure sits just higher than the median yearly wages for all installation, maintenance and repair occupations ($41,020). It's also far higher than the countrywide median for all occupations ($34,750). This median wage is a midway point. By comparison, half the income earners earn less and the other half earn more. That same time period, the top 10 percent of earners in the profession earned more than $63,250 per year. The Bureau found that a wide gap stood between these top earners and the bottom 10 percent who earned a median average less than $26,820 per year. The level of pay for Diesel Service Technicians also varies according to the industry in which the worker is employed. While many of these professionals work for truck transport companies, the highest earners are typically employed by the government. These government Diesel Service Technicians earn a median yearly wage of $49,130. Technicians who work for parts and supplies wholesalers follow closely behind at $42,950; those employed in manufacturing earn $42,160; finally, technicians working in repair and maintenance earn an average of $38,880. Diesel Service Technicians employed in the repair and maintenance industries represent the majority for this field. Mechanics employed by the truck transport industry have the lowest median salary with a median yearly salary of $38,250. Keep in mind, these employees typically earn bonus commission fees on top of their base salaries.

How to Become a Diesel Service Technician

If you want to become a Diesel Service Technician, most of the skills and expertise required to properly perform the duties of the job derive from hands on experience. Due to the current economic conditions and competitive job market, an increasing number of employers in this field prefer to hire candidates who possess some degree of post secondary certification in diesel repair. Certificates handed out by professional organizations in the industry can also carry some weight.

Educational Requirements

The only official mandatory educational requirement for Diesel Technicians is a high school diploma or GED. If you’re serious about this career track, you may consider also signing up for extra courses in automotive repair, math, or electronics. Such courses are typically offered at the high school level as well as the post secondary level. Numerous trade schools, vocational schools, and community colleges offer post-secondary training courses in the repair of Diesel Engines. Upon the completion of such courses, graduates usually receive certification. Some schools may awarded an associate’s degree instead. Such programs include a mix of formal training and experience based classes. Candidates should prepare to learn a lot about diesel technology, repair techniques, equipment, technical manuals, and diagnostics of electronic components.

Professional Experience

Most Diesel Service Technicians begin as trainees. During this stage, they perform routine maintenance, menial, and repair tasks. This stage of their career usually lasts 3 or 4 years. Following this stage, the mechanic graduates to the status of full blown Diesel Service Technician. This career track requires Technicians stay up to speed in the newest developments in the field. New techniques and equipment continue to be developed throughout the years. Many companies choose to have their most experienced Diesel Technicians regularly retrained by vendors and manufacturers of Diesel equipment. As a Diesel Service Technician, you may also choose to apply for credentials from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. You can specialize in one of several areas such as drive trains, electronic systems, inspections, or maintenance. Earning such a certificate from the ASE requires at least 2 years of professional experience. Technicians must also pass at least one exam organized by the institution. The certificate must be renewed once every 5 years, or it loses its validity.

Diesel Service Technician Job Description

A Diesel Service Technicians repair and maintain any automotive vehicles that run off of Diesel fuel. They ensure that the equipment remains in good working order. These Technicians do by inspecting the vehicles and repairing them when something breaks down. They work on buses, trucks, and even diesel based cars; they also work on complex, heavy duty vehicles such as cranes, bulldozers, or commercial boats. Diesel Technicians must know how to fix all of the intricate parts on a Diesel engine, from its electrical system, to its exhaust system, to the engine itself. They also ensure the engines in question comply with current regulations by installing emission control systems.


The job of a Diesel Service Technician usually consists of the following responsibilities:
  • Comply with the typical inspection procedure template, as outlined by company policy;
  • Give all vehicles in a fleet a regular test drive, to ensure they’re working properly and to diagnose those that have malfunctioned;
  • Work with oscilloscopes and other devices used for engine diagnoses;
  • Accurately read the diagnoses generated by computerized systems and other devices;
  • Elevate heavy vehicles, such as trucks, buses, bulldozers, and boats, by operating a hydraulic jack or hoist;
  • Regularly perform inspections on all the important systems of a Diesel powered vehicle, from the brakes, to steering, transmission, engines, etc.
  • Routinely perform maintenance oil changes, battery checks, lubrication, and other similar operations.

Job Outlook The Bureau expects a positive increase of employment for Diesel Service Technicians over the course of the following decade (2012 through 2022). This projected level of growth stands at 9 percent. While the growth rate is positive, this figure sits slightly lower that the projected growth of employment for all occupations in the U.S. (11%). Experts feel that the positive estimated growth stems from the increase in freight shipments across the continent. In turn, this increase leads to an increase in demand for Diesel engine trucks and other vehicles. Similarly, older trucks and buses require modernization to comply with newer environmental standards. Both of these factors increase the demand for Diesel Technicians to work with, maintain, and fix the equipment. Some industry experts speculate that the newer generations of Diesel engines will be manufactured far more durable. This durability decreases the demand for technicians. In the future, increases in employment of these Technicians will soften. Furthermore, computerized diagnostic tools will make the technicians’ jobs easier. That means companies won’t hire as many staff members. The demands of the job will be met by their existing Diesel Service Technicians. All in all, professionals with post-secondary certification and significant professional experience will find it easy to break into the field. Conversely, those with no formal training will likely be disregarded by potential employers as too expensive to train.

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