Diesel Engine Specialists Overview
Community colleges as well as trade schools and technical schools offer diesel engine specialists programs in diesel engine repair. High school courses are usually offered in automotive repair and electronics as well. Diesel engine specialists with formal training will have the most job opportunities, especially those who are nationally certified.
Nature of the Work for Diesel Engine Specialists
The work of a diesel engine specialist involves repairing and maintaining diesel engines found in equipment such as trucks, locomotives or buses. Diesel-power engines are becoming more prevalent in trucks, passenger vehicles and light vehicle and are more efficient and durable than those that burn gasoline.
Diesel engine specialists will work with various types of repairs and must be versatile enough to adapt to advancing technologies and the needs of their customers. Diesel engine specialists may also work in preventative maintenance for organizations that maintain their own vehicles. They will follow a checklist and then adjust or repair parts that need to be fixed.
A number of tools, such as power tools, wrenches, and grinding machines are used by diesel engine specialists. The use of hand tools such as screwdrivers and pliers are also commonly used by diesel engine specialists. They may also use computerized testing equipment to analyze equipment malfunctions.
Diesel engine specialists usually work in well lit and ventilated indoor areas. Their work may sometimes take them on the road while others may work in areas that are drafty or noisy.
Heavy lifting, handling dirty and greasy parts, and long periods of standing can also occur on the job. Diesel engine specialists may also receive bruises, burns or cuts on the job, though serious accidents can be avoided by taking proper safety precautions.
Though some diesel engine specialists will work longer, most work 40 hours a week. To convenience repairs and speed up repairs, some shops have expanded their hours, meaning longer hours for diesel engine specialists. Some firms even work round the clock.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Diesel Engine Specialists
Employers prefer to hire diesel engine specialists who have graduated from a formal training program. Those who learned on the job need 3-4 years of experience in order to become a journey-level technician.
Diesel engine specialists interested in this career can begin by taking high school courses such as automotive repair, English, or electronics.
Diesel engine repair programs are offered at many community colleges and trade/vocational schools. The program can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years and can even lead to an associate’s degree or certificate. These programs usually offer students hands-on training or lab instruction. Students will also learn how to interpret technical manuals and how to communicate with customers and co-workers.
For diesel engine specialists who lack formal training, their work usually begins by cleaning parts, driving vehicles in and out of the shop as well as fueling and lubricating vehicles. After gaining experience, trainees can begin performing routine service tasks and making minor repairs. Once they gain enough experience, diesel engine specialists can begin working on brakes, transmissions, and electrical systems.
Diesel engine specialists may also be sent to special training classes by their employers to learn about the latest technology and repair techniques.
Qualifications for a diesel engine specialist include being at least 18 years old, being able to problem solve, and mechanical aptitude. Some companies also require their employees to pass a drug test as well.
Advancements for diesel engine specialists can include moving to supervisor or manager positions as well as those who open their own shop or become sales representatives. Advancement is made easier for those who receive a national certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Certifications can vary by specific area and requires that each person pass one or more of the ASE-administered exams as well as have at least 2 years of relevant work experience. In order to remain certified, diesel engine specialists must re-certify every 5 years.
Employment and Job Outlook for Diesel Engine Specialists
Those who have formal training in diesel mechanics will have the most job opportunities.
Buses, heavy-duty trucks, and large vehicles prefer to use a diesel engine due to its durability and efficiency, creating more jobs f or diesel engine specialists. On the other hand, the durability of this engine will mean less repairs and work will be necessary. There will also be jobs for diesel engine specialists who will fit existing vehicles with diesel engines.
Those who retire and leave the workplace will create more jobs for diesel engine specialists. Those with strong technical skills, job experience, and formal training will also have the most job opportunities available to them.
Earnings and Salary for Diesel Engine Specialists
Median hourly wages of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, including incentive pay, are $19.35. The middle 50 percent earn between $15.70 and $23.89 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $12.78, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $28.70 an hour.