Diesel Engine Mechanics

Diesel engine mechanics diagnose and repair engine problems. Read on to learn more about training opportunities and the career outlook for this field.

Is Working as a Diesel Mechanic for Me?

Career Description

Diesel mechanics fix and maintain diesel engines and related components. As a diesel mechanic, you have the opportunity to work a wide range of vehicles, including boats, heavy machinery and automobiles. Although you can sometimes specialize in a specific area of diesel engine work, most diesel mechanics work on all vehicle components. You should be comfortable using hand-tools and know your way around an engine if you want to become a professional diesel mechanic.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that diesel service mechanics were expected to see a nine percent increase of job opportunities from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Those who complete formal training programs should have the best employment opportunities. According to the BLS, diesel mechanics made a median annual income of $42,730 as of 2013.

How Can I Become a Diesel Mechanic?

Training and Education

If you want to become a professional diesel mechanic, you need to have a high school diploma and be at least 18 years of age. You will usually need to have a valid state commercial driver's license as well. In most cases, on-the-job training teaches you the skills you'll need to work as a diesel mechanic. Formal training is not required, but it can lead to better job prospects and give you a solid foundation in working with diesel engines.

If you want to obtain formal training before working as a diesel mechanic, an associate degree in diesel technology would be a good choice. These programs combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience. Most associate programs cover electrical, transmission and emissions systems, in addition to the basics of a diesel engine. Course topics can also include drive trains, brake systems and welding. Some programs offer specializations for heavy equipment mechanics and agriculture equipment mechanics.


The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers many certifications that can be useful for diesel mechanics. The Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist designation can be useful for all types of diesel mechanics, and the Transit Bus designation can be helpful if you want to work with a specific type of automobile. You must pass a test and have at least two years of related work experience to become certified by the ASE.

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