Diesel and Heavy Vehicle Technology Associate Degree

If you enjoy working with diesel and heavy vehicles, an associate degree program could help add to your professional experience. This article goes over the kinds of diagnostic and repair classes you will find in your program, as well as career expectations once you're out of school. Schools offering Diesel Mechanics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Find in a Program?

A program leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree can take two or more years to complete and may consist of 66-120 credits. During the program, you develop the skills necessary to diagnose and repair mechanical and electric problems, maintain optimum performance and upgrade, or rebuild engines for diesel automobiles, trucks, buses, trains, cranes, tractors, bulldozers and mobile equipment. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, fully online programs aren't available.

Typical courses you might encounter include brakes and suspension systems, diesel fuel and hydraulic systems, heavy duty drive trains, engine diagnostics, mechanics, electrical systems, preventative maintenance and welding. You may also have the opportunity to serve an internship at a school-partnered independent repair facility. You may find that all or a portion of the credits earned in the associate's degree program will transfer toward a bachelor's degree program at a 4-year school.

Common CoursesPreventative maintenance, welding, mechanics, electrical systems
AccreditationStudents should look for programs accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
Career Education RequirementsOn-the-job training as minimum; degree preferred
Job Growth (2014-2024)*12% for diesel service techs, 5% for heavy equipment techs

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Can I Find a Suitable Program?

There are at least two sources you can use that will lead to an appropriate associate's degree program. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is an excellent source of postsecondary education institutions. A search through the NCES online database yields over 150 schools that may offer associate's degree programs in diesel and heavy vehicle technology.

The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) also maintains an online directory of schools. The secondary and postsecondary schools listed all offer training programs that have been certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Some are degree programs.

Do I Need an Associate's Degree in Diesel and Heavy Vehicle Technology?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it's possible to secure a position in diesel or heavy vehicle technology by way of on-the-job training. However, the BLS goes on to state that most employers would rather hire people who have completed a postsecondary formal education program. High school courses such as automotive repair, mathematics, physics and even computer technology can provide you with a good foundation for further education.

In addition to associate's degree programs, community colleges and technical institutes may offer programs that lead to a certificate of completion. However, an associate's degree may provide you with a more well-rounded education, enhance your employment possibilities and increase your advancement potential.

What About Employment Possibilities?

According to the BLS, there's no industry-wide certification standard for heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians. In addition, there is no certification necessary for diesel service technicians. However, the BLS asserts that certification stands in testimony to your competence. Once you've earned your degree and have amassed a specified amount of appropriate work experience, you may be eligible to sit for one or more certification examinations administered by the ASE. ASE certification is the benchmark of excellence throughout the industry.

The BLS projected that employment opportunities for diesel and heavy vehicles service technicians would increase twelve and five percent, respectively, from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This growth may be due to a couple of factors. While the durability of vehicles has improved, increased sophistication in the technological aspects of the field maintains a constant demand for trained personnel.

The most resent salary statistics were complied in 2014. At that time, the BLS determined the median annual wage for diesel service technicians to be $43,630. The median annual salary for heavy vehicle mechanics was determined to be $45,930.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • St Cloud Technical and Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Saint Cloud
  • Southwest University at El Paso

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: El Paso
  • Northeastern Junior College

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Sterling
  • Hennepin Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Brooklyn Park
  • Edison State Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Piqua
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame