What Are Some Popular Career Options in Diesel Mechanics?

There are many options for a diesel mechanic besides working on transportation vehicles. A skilled diesel mechanic can find career opportunities in the railroads, marine craft and aviation industries. Pay and job openings are dependent on skill level and certification. Schools offering Diesel Mechanics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Popular Career Options in Diesel Mechanics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports that diesel technicians need to be versatile today to be able to meet customer and employer needs. A diesel mechanic also must be able to embrace new technologies, since they handle all types of repairs and work on a variety of vehicle systems; the electronic and computer systems that control the operation of diesel engines are complex.

Important Facts about This Field

Entry Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
On-the-Job Training Long-term on-the-job training will be required
Job Outlook (2016-26) 9% (for diesel service technicians and mechanics)
Median Salary (2018) $47,350 per year (for diesel service technicians and mechanics)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Popular Career Options

Besides working on diesel transportation vehicles, a diesel mechanic may work on diesel engines found in heavy equipment. This can include construction equipment, agricultural and forestry implements, semi trucks, dump trucks and equipment used for heavy hauling. Three additional industries include railroad, marine and aviation engines.


Diesel mechanics find many job opportunities working on locomotives. According to Union Pacific Railroad, work as a diesel mechanic includes inspecting, repairing and maintaining the mechanical parts on diesel electric locomotives. Diesel mechanics must be skilled in using the appropriate machine tools and welding equipment.

Marine Equipment

According to the BLS, marine engine mechanics repair and maintain diesel engines on ships, boats and other watercraft. They might also repair shipboard mechanical and electrical equipment. Large craft, such as cabin cruisers and commercial fishing boats, are powered by diesel engines that are only removed for major overhauls. A diesel mechanic usually works on these engines at docks and marinas. In 2018, motorboat mechanics and service technicians earned a median income of $40,180 per year (www.bls.gov).


Some diesel mechanics working in aviation specialize in preventative maintenance. They perform inspections following a schedule that is based on the number of hours the aircraft has flown, calendar days since last inspection, cycles of operation or a combination of all these factors. Other diesel mechanics specialize in repair work on aircraft engines and related systems. Aircraft mechanics and service technicians earned a median salary of $62,920 in 2018 (www.bls.gov).

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:

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Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    • Certificates

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • University of Alaska

    Campus Locations:

    • Alaska: Anchorage
  • Oklahoma State University

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    • Oklahoma: Okmulgee
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Yavapai College

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Prescott
  • Wilson Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Wilson
  • Williston State College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Dakota: Williston
  • Pearl River Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Mississippi: Poplarville
  • Wilkes Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Wilkesboro