Associates Degree in Diesel Mechanics and Technology: Program Information

Diesel mechanics and service technicians specialize in repairing the engines found in heavy vehicles and large equipment. Those interested in pursuing a career in the field must complete some kind of academic training program, such as an Associate of Applied Science in Diesel Technology.

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Associate of Applied Science in Diesel Technology

A 2-year degree program in diesel technology provides students with the educational foundation and technical skills necessary to install, maintain and repair industrial, construction and marine vehicles and equipment. Students learn the basic processes of diesel engine maintenance techniques and then put those techniques into practice in a supervised workshop setting. They learn how to identify diesel engine issues, devise a corrective plan and implement that plan to repair the engine.

Some of the specific skills and processes that might be covered within an associate's degree program in diesel technology include those related to transmission repair, engine overhaul, brakes service, chassis maintenance, fuel injection and refrigeration. Many associate's degree programs in the field might also cover shop technology management to prepare graduates for managerial roles in the field.

Education Prerequisites

All students must have a high school education or GED equivalent before enrolling in an associate's degree program in diesel mechanics and technology at a community college or vocational school. Such schools also recommend that incoming students complete at least two years of math, science and English classes while in a high school-type setting.

Program Coursework

The courses found within an associate's degree program in diesel technology provide students with the vocational skills needed to work on vehicles with diesel engines. A mixture of classroom lectures and practical course sessions might include:

  • Diesel engine technology
  • Fuel systems
  • Hydraulics
  • Electricity
  • Heavy duty brake systems
  • Truck chassis
  • Diesel air conditioning systems
  • Diesel electronic fuels
  • Shop skills lab

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The employment rate for diesel technicians and mechanics is predicted to rise by 15% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is about as fast as the average projected job growth rate for that period. Those individuals who have a formal educational background in the field will have a better chance at finding jobs. The BLS reported that in 2012, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists held more than 230,000 positions in the country and earned a median annual salary of roughly $42,000.

Continuing Education Options

Diesel mechanics and technicians are not legally required to gain certification before practicing in their field, but many do opt for certification to prove their competence as technicians. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers a credential specifically aimed towards diesel technicians. Individuals must prove two years of experience in the field and pass an examination before they can earn the designation.

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