How to Become
a Diesel Technician

Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications

If you enjoy working with big machinery and want to take your interest to the next level, you should consider a career as a diesel technician. These professionals focus on diesel machinery such as trucks, generators, and buses. According to PayScale, experienced diesel technicians can make over $25 per hour, which works out to over $60,000 per year.

The article below will teach you everything you need to know about how to become a diesel technician, including the job outlook, diesel technician salary, and educational requirements.

What Is a Diesel Technician?

Diesel technicians are machinery experts who inspect and repair equipment that uses diesel engines. This includes buses, trucks, generators, and vehicles with diesel engines. These professionals work in repair shops and other worksites.

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It is also common for technicians to work on engine repairs on the side of the road when vehicles break down. Like other professionals, machinery technicians can work full-time, part-time, overtime, or in the evening.

What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Diesel Technician?

To become a diesel technician, you should attend a trade school to complete a four-year training program. You will also need to have a high school diploma or equivalent certificate. This training is shortly followed by a certificate or certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service.

Most diesel technicians acquired their training on the job after high school education. However, most employers do hire applicants with postsecondary training in diesel engine repair. You should check entry-level requirements in your location before joining a specific school.

Best Diesel Technician Education Tracks

Many education paths can help you become a diesel technician. However, you need first to get your high school diploma. Only then will you become eligible for a technical school or a community college program.

Below are some education options that you can choose depending on your goals and learning preferences.


Vocational School

Many diesel technicians acquire their training on the job. However, vocational schools, also known as trade schools, can train you in specific technical skills. For this reason, you might want to consider a vocational school to get lots of hands-on experience.

Vocational schools are affordable, especially compared to most four-year bachelor’s degree programs. They can help you enter apprenticeships and meet other people in the field. If you want to get diesel technician training, a vocational school is a great option.


Community College

Community colleges offer associate degree programs that take two years or less to complete. Upon graduation, you will receive a certificate and credits that can transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2018 the average cost of a two-year program was approximately $10,704 per year.

This is a good option because you can find online colleges offering courses in diesel technology. These programs will allow you to specialize in the field. You can focus on agriculture and construction, on-highway trucks, or power generation.


Diesel Technician Degrees

There are few degree programs that can lead you to a career as a diesel technician. However, you could consider a Bachelor’s Degree in Diesel Technology from an accredited university. This program will help you learn about the different types of diesel, engine diagnosis, heavy equipment, and vehicle-integrated electronics.

You should consider a school with a curriculum that focuses on hands-on training because this is a hands-on profession. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of completing a four-year degree in 2018 was approximately $27,357 per year.

How to Become a Diesel Technician: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Diesel Technician: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you are looking for the best way to become a successful diesel technician, you should enroll in a trade school, college, or university. However, you will need to take more steps along the way.

Find out more about entry-level jobs in your location

Diesel technician entry-level jobs will have different requirements in different places. Find out your requirements to work in an entry-level position or what it takes to become a freelancer. This can help you plan your education and save time.

Enroll in a diesel technician program

Many entry-level diesel technician jobs require an Associate Degree in Diesel Technology. Some employers prefer hiring candidates with a few years of work experience. Either way, you should get an education first.

Find an apprenticeship

A diesel technician apprenticeship is a great way to get experience in the field. For most educational programs, this step is already included. If you need to, you can also find apprenticeships and internships on your own.

Become licensed

Some states require diesel technicians to have licenses before they can start working. For such reasons, you may be required to obtain a license or other certification.

Apply for entry-level jobs

After gaining hands-on experience, you will be ready for most entry-level job positions. Update your resume to include your skills and work experience.

Key Diesel Technician Skills

Key Diesel Technician Skills

To become a diesel technician, you should have some education and industry-standard skills. Hiring managers and employers prefer candidates who can apply a mix of technical and soft skills in the workplace.

Below are the essential skills you need to become a successful diesel technician.

Mechanical and Electrical Knowledge

Your primary job will be to monitor, analyze, and repair diesel engines. To accomplish this, you will need knowledge of diesel engines and the skill to repair and maintain them. You will need to apply different technologies for the development and maintenance of diesel engines.

Equipment Repair and Maintenance

As a diesel technician, you will be required to help with the maintenance of equipment or machinery. You will perform routine maintenance on diesel engines. A strong understanding of diesel equipment maintenance will help you complete your tasks efficiently.

Operation Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Large vehicles such as trucks and buses are not the only things you will be working on. You will also be responsible for monitoring gauges, dials, and other indicators on different machinery to ensure they are working properly. You will need to have the skills to troubleshoot any operating errors and discover solutions.

Diesel Technician Salary and Job Outlook

Diesel technicians earn a salary that is close to the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2020 the average salary of a diesel technician was $50,200, while the national average for all occupations stands at $56,310. The BLS also states that diesel technician jobs will grow at the same rate as most jobs.

With more experience and education, you can make much more than $50,000 per year. If you get certifications, you can move up in the field and find more lucrative jobs. A diesel mechanic’s salary can be much higher than you might expect.

Min salary


Average salary


Top salary


Entry-Level Diesel Technician Job Requirements

Qualifications to become a diesel technician vary from state to state. However, most diesel technician positions require some form of postsecondary training. This could be vocational training, a degree, or even an apprenticeship.

Experience levels can also vary. On the one hand, you might have employers asking for vocational training with several years of apprenticeship experience. Other employers might demand a year of experience and an associate degree in a relevant field.

If you wish to increase your odds of landing a job, you should consider earning extra certifications. Keep in mind that most certification exams require years of experience working in a related position.

What Does a Diesel Technician Do?

What Does a Diesel Technician Do?

Diesel technicians repair, adjust, diagnose, maintain, and overhaul diesel machines. However, these professionals have other job duties and responsibilities, as explained below.

Repairs and Maintains Mechanical Equipment

As a diesel technician, your primary job will be to service machines or equipment that operate with diesel engines. You will also inspect them and identify any problems and defects. This is the most important aspect of the job.

Monitors Processes, Materials, and Surroundings

Some processes might require monitoring to detect problems. You will need to apply your technical knowledge to monitor machines and review information to make informed decisions. You will solve problems and perform solutions on diesel machines.

Provides Consultation Services

You might also give advice to management or individuals seeking diesel technician services. This might include coaching and mentoring others to improve their knowledge. Your assistance could solve problems before they happen.

Diesel Technician Certifications

Diesel technicians usually do not need professional certifications to start working. However, this might vary from state to state. Be sure to check with your location’s certification requirements before applying for jobs. The certifications below are not compulsory, but they can help you get a better job in the field.

ASE Certifications for Diesel Mechanics

ASE exams are certifications issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (NIASE). Holders of these certifications demonstrate knowledge of diesel engines, drive trains, brakes, suspensions, and electrical systems, to mention a few. If you want to specialize in the field, becoming ASE-certified can help you.

ABYC Certified Technicians and Advisors

If your interests lie in marine technology, you should consider earning a certification from the American Boat and Yacht Council. This certification program will teach you how to troubleshoot, repair, install, and monitor ships and boats.

How to Prepare for Your Diesel Technician Job Interview

How to Prepare for Your Diesel Technician Job Interview

The best way to ace your job interview is by going through common interview questions. Below are interview questions you should practice to increase your chances of getting a diesel technician job.

Diesel Technician Job Interview Practice Questions

  • What are the most important skills that a diesel technician should have?
  • How do you respond to unsatisfied or unhappy clients?
  • How do you inspect brake systems, wheel bearings, and other important car parts to ensure they are functioning well?
  • Describe your experiences working with diesel machinery.
  • Describe a time when you made a mistake and how you fixed it.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Diesel Technician?

It can take a few months to four years to become a diesel technician. This varies based on your work experience and current skill level. Formal education is usually not a major determining factor when hiring a candidate. Most people are trained on the job, but it can be useful to get a degree beforehand.

Associate degree


Bachelor’s degree


Should You Become a Diesel Technician in 2021?

Yes, you should become a diesel technician in 2021. It is an excellent choice for those interested in working with automobiles or other machinery. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates three percent growth in the diesel technician job market over the next decade. This means that you’ll always have employment opportunities working as a diesel technician.

Diesel Technician FAQ

How much do diesel technicians make?

Diesel technicians earn a salary of about $50,200 per year, according to the BLS.

What is the difference between a diesel mechanic and a diesel technician?

A diesel technician is typically concerned with repairing and maintaining diesel machinery, while diesel mechanics specialize in repairing specific diesel engines.

Is diesel technology a dying career?

No, diesel technicians are growing just as fast as any job in the United States. The BLS estimates three percent growth in the diesel technician job market by 2029.

Is a diesel technician a good career?

Yes, becoming a diesel technician is a promising career choice. The entry-level requirements are attainable, and you can make more money as time goes on.

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