$15 million in grants & scholarships available this year for those who qualify10


8 Tips for Choosing the Right Diesel Mechanic School

May 22, 2023 ·

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Has your “diesel mechanic school near me” search become tiresome? From tuition costs to job preparation assistance – there are several factors to consider when choosing a diesel mechanic school, and selecting the right one can feel like a daunting task.

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. Read on to find out how to make your search easier!

1. Identify Your Career Goals

Identifying your career goals before deciding on a 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 Program Structure and Course Options

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’s (UTI) diesel mechanic school uses a blended learning model that closely mirrors the training diesel mechanics undergo in the field.

Half of the program consists of online instruction, while the other half 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.

What you will learn is just as important as how you learn it. The field of diesel mechanics is everchanging, 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

3. Assess the 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 them to train future entry-level mechanics.

After completing UTI’s core diesel mechanic training program, students at select campuses have the opportunity to get specialized training on brands like Cummins, Daimler, Fendt 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.

4. Research Career Services Offered

Get the most out of your diesel mechanic training by attending a school that offers resources beyond just training.

Every UTI campus provides career services. Students can take advantage of career coaching, résumé development, career development classes, interview training, practice interviews, and access to a nationwide database of career opportunities.1

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.

5. Consider Financial Aid Options

Some students prolong enrolling in diesel mechanic schooling 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. 

6. Look at Student Services Available

A trade school that cares about its students is always a promising sign. A sure way to tell is by examining the school’s support services. These types of services should ease a student’s educational experience, offer supplemental training opportunities and help prepare them for their future.

As previously mentioned, UTI offers an entire Career Services team. In addition to this, we also offer the following:

  • Housing assistance: Our Housing Assistance team can help students find an ideal living situation for their time at UTI.
  • Military and veterans services: As a Military Friendly® school,56 UTI understands that the transition to civilian life can be challenging, and want to help ease that process. Whether it’s navigating VA benefits or finding veteran-specific grants and scholarships to apply for, our Military Admissions Representatives are here to help.

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 also 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

Accreditation is important because it ensures students receive a quality education. It 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, UTI’s diesel mechanic school is also accredited by the ASE Education Foundation—a division of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. 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 can 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.


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 mechanic 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, diesel mechanics who worked in Washington are the top paid, with a median annual salary of $64,000 in May 2022.29 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.

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.
With classes starting every 3-6 weeks, no need to wait to start your career.
Hands-on training. Get hands on experience with the industry's leading brands.
No Pressure to commit. Get answers to your questions without any obligations.
Request More Info Or Call Now 800.834.7308

1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

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.

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.

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 2022 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 $32,360 to $94,400 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled diesel technicians in North Carolina is $24.18 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 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 $20.56 and $17.49, respectively.

56) Military Friendly® Schools designation applies to specific campuses. Check with the campus for details.

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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