How Do I Earn My Diesel Mechanic License?

Diesel mechanics can benefit from a formal training program and professional certification, although licensure is not required. Read on to learn more about how to earn your diesel mechanic credentials. Schools offering Diesel Mechanics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Diesel Mechanic Licensing Overview

Diesel mechanics work on diesel-powered engines, often found in automobiles, large trucks, buses and mobile construction equipment like bulldozers and tractors. As a diesel mechanic, you will generally perform routine maintenance and inspections on vehicle motors. You will also be responsible for troubleshooting complex mechanical problems as well as for fixing broken or badly damaged engines. The only licensure you may need to be a diesel mechanic is a commercial driver's license (CDL), which is required in order to test-drive large vehicles on the open road. You can get a CDL by meeting your state's eligibility requirements and taking a state-administered exam.

Important Facts About Diesel Mechanic Careers

Median Annual Salary (2014) $43,630
Similar Occupations Automotive service, autobody and glass repair, aircraft and avionics maintenance and technology, heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service, small engine repair.
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 12% growth is predicted for employment within this industry.
Work Environment Machine or repair shops can often be noisy, and injury/illness reports are sometimes high in this industry (usually when safety protocol is not followed carefully.) Diesel mechanics must also sometimes travel to roadside or client-worksite locations for repairs.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Although you can gain experience as a diesel mechanic while you work, completing a formal training program may increase your chances of finding employment and advancing your career. You can seek training programs through automotive trade schools and community colleges. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers are likely to prefer job applicants with formal training as part of their experience.

National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation

The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) accredits training programs in automotive technician repair, which includes diesel engine training. The NATEF reports that advanced technical training and computer literacy are important in the modern automotive industry. As a diesel mechanic, you should have effective problem-solving, oral and written communication skills, as well as extensive mechanical knowledge.

Certification Exams

You can earn diesel engine mechanic certification by having two years of relevant work experience and passing a series of examinations from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a widely recognized industry standard. Certification in this area requires you to pass one or more of the ASE-administered exams, and you must currently be retested every five years.

Specific areas of truck maintenance certification include specialty concentrations in drivetrain repair, diesel engines, brake systems, electrical systems and steering systems. Examples of ASE certification exams for diesel mechanics include the Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification Test (for medium to heavy-duty trucks) and the Automobile & Light Truck Certification Test (for light vehicle diesel engines).

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