What sort of education do I need to be a Diesel Mechanic?

As many repair and restore automobiles as a hobby or just out of necessity, if you enjoy it, why not earn a living doing it? Diesel mechanics repair and maintain large trucks and heavy equipment that is powered by diesel fuel. This may include tractor-trailer rigs, bulldozers, farm equipment or large cranes. Some light trucks are powered by diesel, as well.

Typically, the diesel mechanic will need additional formal training over that of which the shade-tree mechanic acquires just working in a home garage. Although actual hands-on experience is invaluable, most choose to attend a vocational school in their community or attend an online career diploma school. Due to the advantages of having actual hands-on experience, online schools are rare, however, some will allow you to gain knowledge online while you learn hands-on skills in your local community. Associate degree programs are also available, however, you will be expected to complete the general education requirements, such as English and math.

Prerequisites generally require a minimum age of 17 and at least an eighth grade or above education. If you are considering a career as a diesel mechanic while in high school, it is helpful to study math, electronics and automotive repair, if available to you. Computer coursework is also helpful, as most vehicles today require a certain amount of computer literacy to properly diagnose technical issues.

As previously mentioned, online schools that focus on diesel mechanics may be hard to locate, however, those that do typically can be completed in as little as seven months or may take up to two years, depending on your school and the dedication you put into it. Apprenticeship programs may also be available to assist you in gaining hands-on experience.

Coursework may include Diesel Engine Fundamentals, Ignition and Computer Systems, Diesel Engine Overhaul, Diesel Tune-ups, Steering and Suspension, Hydraulics, Engine Management Systems, as well as, Arc Welding and Truck Steering Systems. Other classwork may include Batteries and Starting Systems, Installation of Air Conditioning Systems, Brake Replacement and Diesel Electrical Systems.

You do not need to be “licensed” by your state to be a diesel mechanic, however, certifications are certainly encouraged. In fact, most employers require certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). This accolade will increase your hiring potential, in addition to, your paycheck. Most online diesel mechanic programs will offer classes that will prepare you for testing, however, generally at least two years of work experience is required before taking tests. ASE certification tests for diesel mechanics include the Automobile & Light Truck Certification Test for light vehicle diesel engines and the Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification Test for medium to heavy-duty trucks. In addition, re-certification is usually required every five years.

Diesel mechanics also need a state commercial driver’s license to test drive equipment and may be expected to provide their own hand tools.

Please see our list for the Best Online Schools in Diesel Mechanics, if you are interested in this field.