What Is the Average Salary for Entry-Level Diesel Mechanic Jobs?

Diesel mechanics maintain and repair large trucks, buses, bulldozers, cranes and farming equipment. If you think this sounds like an interesting job description, read on to learn more about possible salaries, job duties and training requirements for an entry-level diesel mechanic. Schools offering Diesel Mechanics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

Entry-level diesel mechanics usually perform basic maintenance procedures. You may perform more complicated tasks as you gain experience, such as diagnose and repair engine problems, replace worn out components of braking and cooling systems, or troubleshoot electrical problems.

Important Facts About Entry-Level Diesel Mechanics

On-the-Job Training Apprenticeship programs available
Key Skills Customer focused, manual dexterity, physical strength and stamina, problem solving, critical thinking, mechanical knowledge
Work Environment Truck transportation; wholesale trade; state and local government; automotive repair and maintenance
Similar Occupations Small engine mechanics; heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians; automotive service technicians and mechanics; aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians

Education Requirements

Many aspiring diesel mechanics learn the skills they need by enrolling in a community or technical college's training program. The length of your training might vary depending on whether you're earning a certificate, diploma or associate's degree in diesel mechanics or a related field, but most programs can be completed in six months to two years. Your classes will likely include hands-on and classroom instruction in electrical systems, air conditioning systems and brake systems. You'll also learn how to properly diagnose, repair and rebuild a diesel engine.

Salary Overview

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the mean annual salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists as of May 2014 was $45,160 (www.bls.gov). The bottom 10 percent of these workers earned $28,130 a year or less, and the top 10 percent earned $65,350 a year or higher. When you first start out, your earnings may be less than the average. PayScale.com reported that most diesel mechanics with 0-5 years of experience earned between $11.67 and $22.77 per hour as of September 2015.

Salary by Industry

In May 2014, the BLS reported that the top employers of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists were general freight trucking and local government, with average wages of $41,170 and $52,420, respectively. Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers had annual average wage of $45,580, while the automotive repair and maintenance industry had an average wage of $42,260. Employing just 50 workers in May 2014, the federal executive government paid these workers the highest average salaries of $72,320.

Salary by Location

According to May 2014 data from the BLS, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists made the highest average wages in Alaska ($59,080), Hawaii ($55,340), Connecticut ($54,360), Nevada ($53,960) and Washington ($53,570). Workers made below-average wages of $25,560-$40,550 in several states, including South Carolina, Montana, Indiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Alabama and West Virginia.

Salary by Certification

As a diesel mechanic, you may earn higher wages if you're certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Diesel technicians with the ASE Master Technician certification earned hourly wages of $16.84-$30.37 in December 2015, according to PayScale.com.

Job Outlook

According to the BLS, diesel service technician and mechanic employment should grow at a fast rate of twelve percent over the 2014-2024 decade. This growth will be caused due to more freight being shipped across the country. Overall, the BLS expects good prospects for qualified mechanics who possess formal education and training.

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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  • Lincoln Tech

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  • University of Alaska

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  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

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    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
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    • Arizona: Prescott
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    • North Dakota: Williston