Most of the time, when people think about diesel engines, they think big rig trucks, cruising down the highway. But there’s more to the world of diesel engines than eighteen wheelers. The number of industries and applications that rely on diesel engines, big and small, as the life of their success are innumerable. Think of it: construction equipment, train engines, some passenger vehicles, even camping generators all use diesel engines, and all need maintenance and repair. Put in those terms, the field of diesel mechanics is a much more diverse and broad category than you might have originally thought. All these different types of engines require specialized knowledge and experience to properly care for and maintain them. The types of jobs available depends on what kind of vehicles or applications in which the engines are used. Here’s a look at some of the more common types.
Large Commercial Vehicle Mechanic
This category includes large construction equipment, busses, and those big trucks we mentioned earlier. The sheer number of these vehicles in operation across the country means that this is a fairly common area for diesel mechanics. These mechanics need skills relating to large engines and also the cooling, transmission, and any hydraulic and accessory systems the engines themselves power. A mechanic in this field may work out of a shop for a company, or you may be part of construction crew required to travel with the equipment. Cities and municipalities sometimes have their own mechanic shops. While in other circumstances, large commercial vehicle mechanics may work as sub-contractors. Regardless of whether you prefer to travel or stay at home, or if you want to work for a large company or a small shop, this career track has many flexible options.
Rail Road and Marine Engine Mechanic
Both Rail and Sea transport systems make extensive use of diesel engines. Mechanics in these areas require very specialized training on the particular systems they’ll be using. On both the rails and the water, mechanics are needed to ride with the vehicle to maintain and monitor the work and wear conditions. This requires long-term commitment and a high degree of expertise, not to mention the ability to think on one’s feet and react quickly to on-the-spot problems. Rail and Sea vessels also undergo routine upgrades and tuning services meaning mechanics are needed in specially designed shops, so options for those who prefer a settled location are also available.
In addition to the points above, mechanics on the water may also require additional certifications and seamanship training before embarking on a voyage as a crew mechanic.
Fixed Diesel Engine Repair
Many public and private organizations rely on diesel engine generators for primary or backup power sources. Those systems require regular, scheduled maintenance. Depending on the terms of employment a mechanic may be needed on the grounds at all times or may be required to respond to several different properties as needed.
Small Engine Repair
Small camping generators or diesel engine passenger cars also need repairs by people specializing in small engines. A person in this field will most likely work out of a shop that caters to a variety of private customers.
A diesel engine mechanic can work in any one of a large variety of different settings. You may find yourself in a shop or garage, as part of a team, or working alone. This field offers many opportunities for self-employment. The work of a mechanic is difficult and requires dedication and long hours. For the self-employed can come more flexibility, but also increased financial strain as the startup costs of investing in the proper equipment can be quite high.
Diesel Mechanic Salary & Job Outlook
Is it worth it? With so many varied job opportunities and settings, it’s hard to imagine that a well-trained individual with the proper drive and motivation can’t find a place to thrive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics could enjoy a 9% job growth rate from 2012-2022, with a median annual salary of $42,320 annually. Further, the BLS reports that, “Job opportunities should be best for those who have completed post-secondary training in diesel engine repair.” This indicates that with a solid education, you should have little trouble finding work in the field.
Get in Gear . . . Become a Diesel Mechanic
If you’re curious about the many opportunities that training in diesel mechanics can offer to you, contact Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) today. Our Heavy Vehicle Technology with Service Management (AOS) program may what you need to get your career in gear. With our year-round scheduling, one call may be all you need to start the next chapter of your life. Contact us today at 800-468-1093 or request information online!
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