How to Choose the Right Diesel Mechanic School for You

5/22/2023

Looking to get your hands dirty and train for a career as a diesel mechanic? That’s exciting! But before diving in, there’s a crucial step you must take – researching diesel mechanic schools! From tuition costs to job preparation assistance, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, but doing so can make all the difference. Read on to learn how to make the most of your search.

Diesel Mechanic School: 8 Ways to Choose the Right One for You

To help you make the best decision for your future, we've compiled eight essential tips that you should remember when choosing a diesel mechanic school.

1. Identify Your Career Goals

Identifying your career goals before deciding on a diesel mechanic trade school will help you know whether your top picks can prepare you to reach those goals. To identify your career goals, consider the following questions: 

  • Which industry am I interested in? Diesel mechanics are vital to various industries ranging from agriculture to transportation. You’ll want to make sure the program you attend prepares you to pursue a career in the industry you’re passionate about or interested in.
  • Will I want to further my education? Some diesel mechanic schools offer specialized training beyond their core diesel programs.
  • How soon after graduating do I want to begin pursuing my career? A trade school that takes a genuine interest in its students and graduates should be able to assist in this process.
  • How long am I willing to attend school? Some programs last longer than others, so be sure you’re ready to commit the time it takes to complete training.
  • Do I want to obtain professional certifications? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) considers the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification a standard for diesel mechanics, so you’ll want to ensure the program you attend helps prepare you to take the certification exam after graduation.

2. Evaluate the Diesel Mechanic School’s Program Structure

Once you’ve identified your career goals, you’ll want to consider whether the program structure fits your learning style. Diesel mechanics mostly work with their hands. Therefore, those interested in a diesel mechanic education typically learn best by doing.

A good diesel mechanic school will provide plenty of opportunities for hands-on application. Universal Technical Institute (UTI) uses a blended-learning model that closely mirrors the training diesel mechanics undergo in the field.1

A portion of the program consists of online instruction, while the rest includes hands-on application in labs similar to environments seen in the field. Both the online and hands-on portions are led by instructors with real-world experience.

3. Gauge the Diesel Mechanic School’s Class Options

What you will learn is just as important as how you learn it. The field of diesel mechanics is ever-changing, so the courses should provide you with both the knowledge and practice using up-to-date technologies and equipment.

UTI developed its curriculum with the help of industry leaders to better understand what employers are looking for from entry-level mechanics. Diesel mechanic courses at UTI include:

  • Diesel Engines Service & Repair
  • Diesel Truck Manual Transmissions
  • Diesel Truck Brake Systems & Chassis
  • Diesel Truck Steering & Suspension Systems
  • Automotive Climate Control Systems and Repair
  • Diesel Hydraulic Systems
  • Vehicle Electronic Systems and Technology
  • Diesel Truck Transport Refrigeration
  • Diesel Truck Preventative Maintenance

The best part about UTI's diesel mechanic trade school is that the courses build students' knowledge from the ground up, so you don't need experience to enroll.

4. Assess the Diesel Mechanic School’s Reputation

One way to assess a school’s reputation is to examine its industry relationships. If the school you’re considering has enduring industry relationships, it’s because prominent brands within the field trust it to train prospective entry-level mechanics.

After completing UTI’s core diesel mechanic training program, students at select campuses can get specialized training on brands like Cummins, Daimler Truck North America and Peterbilt:

Some of these brands also provide UTI’s core diesel mechanic program with the vehicles, tools and equipment students will likely see in the field.

However, the diesel mechanic education program isn’t the only one with industry relationships. UTI has relationships with manufacturers of more than 35 brands to help students in a number of programs prepare for careers after graduation.1

5. Research Career Services Offered

The best trade schools for diesel mechanics offer resources that equip students with what they need to pursue careers after graduation.

For instance, every UTI campus provides career services. Students can take advantage of career coaching, résumé development, career development classes, interview training and practice interviews. They'll have access to a nationwide database of career opportunities, as well.

UTI also employs experienced career advisors who support students from the moment they enroll. You can lean on career advisors to help you find a flexible, part-time job while you’re in school, and advisors can also help graduates locate employment opportunities upon completion of a program.1

6. Look into Financial Aid Options

Some aspiring mechanics delay enrolling in diesel mechanic school due to cost. If this is a concern of yours, ask your top-pick schools about financial aid, scholarship and grant opportunities.

UTI offers a variety of grants and scholarships to help qualifying students cover some of their educational expenses. This year alone, we have more than $15 million in scholarships and grants available to students who qualify.10

Our team of financial aid specialists can help you learn where to look, or you can start by checking out our page on scholarship tips.

7. Visit the Campus or Attend an Open House

Sometimes the best way to gauge whether a diesel mechanic school is a good fit for you is to visit it! Attending an open house or campus tour will provide more insight into the school culture, its dedication to the students and the program structure.

Open houses tend to be more generalized than campus tours. However, they're a great opportunity to get your questions answered, meet instructors and tour the facilities. If you want a closer look at the specifics of a trade school’s diesel mechanic program, consider scheduling a campus tour instead.

UTI hosts various events throughout the year that provide potential students a chance to see if the school is a good fit.

8. Ask About Professional Certifications and Accreditations

Accredited schools for diesel mechanics should be your top choice. Accreditation ensures students receive a quality education and is given to schools that meet specific standards set by a governing body, assuring the curriculum and learning environment are up to par.

UTI is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) — an agency whose mission is to ensure quality education.

In addition to accreditation, programs at UTI’s diesel mechanic school is also accredited by the ASE Education Foundation—a division of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.16 We aren’t just bystanders. We play an active role in the fields students are training to enter.

According to the ASE Education Foundation’s website, accreditation results in the following:

  • Schools contribute to career preparedness.
  • Employers and consumers can be confident in who they hire.
  • Students are prepared to pursue exciting careers.
  • Safer roads.

Attending a diesel mechanic program that is accredited by the ASE Education Foundation may also help prepare graduates to take the ASE certification exam. As mentioned above, becoming ASE certified is considered a standard in the diesel field. To become ASE certified, mechanics must have at least two years of hands-on working experience, and graduates of UTI’s diesel mechanic school can substitute their training for one of those years.

FAQ

Is Becoming a Diesel Mechanic Hard?

Becoming a diesel mechanic demands time and dedication, as mastering the trade requires a specialized set of skills and knowledge typically gained from in-depth training.

What Is the Best Trade School for Diesel Mechanics?

Before deciding which diesel school is best for you, it's important to consider your goals and how each school fits into them. Research the type of training they offer, their industry relationships and job search assistance.

What State Pays the Most for Diesel Mechanics?

According to the BLS New York had the highest diesel technician salary. The state had a median annual salary of $72,080 in May 2023.29 This means half of diesel technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

What are the Admission Requirements for Diesel Mechanic Schools?

Admission requirements vary by school but often center on age and previous education. For more information, read about UTI’s admission requirements.

What is the Curriculum Like at a Diesel Mechanic Trade School?

A good school for diesel mechanics will align with the needs of the industry and teach students the fundamentals of diesel engine maintenance, diagnosis and repair through hands-on application. It will also help them build important diesel technician traits like adaptability, personability and problem-solving.

Attend Diesel Mechanic School at UTI

UTI strives to help aspiring mechanics reach their goals, whether it be through specialized training or job search assistance—we’ll be there every step of the way. Think UTI might be the right fit for you? In just 45 weeks, you could be prepared to pursue an exciting career!7

Request more information today, and we’ll connect you with one of our Admissions Representatives.

Schools for Diesel Mechanics Near You

Think UTI might be the right diesel school for you? Attend a campus near you!

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
7 ) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
10 ) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
11 ) See program details for eligibility requirements and conditions that may apply.
15 ) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.
16 )  Not all programs are accredited by the ASE Education Foundation.
29 ) UTI’s Diesel Technology Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as diesel technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as diesel truck technicians, including in industries such as heavy equipment repair, power generation, and agriculture. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists (49-3031) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $48,980 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2022 data https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageAllIndustries/OEWResult?A=01&GA=000025&OG=493031&Dopt=TEXT). Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled diesel technicians in North Carolina is $25.28 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $21.55 and $18.00, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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