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Ranking the Highest Paying Diesel Mechanic Salaries in the U.S.

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  • Ranking the Highest Paying Diesel Mechanic Salaries in the U.S.

Do you love working on big equipment? A career in the diesel industry may be the perfect fit.

Diesel technicians get to work on some of the most heavy-duty equipment on the planet, from engines on ships, to oil rig and mining machinery. They play a vital role in keeping our country and our economy moving forward. Without them, so many of the conveniences we’re accustomed to would simply not exist.

Diesel engines power a variety of different types of equipment, including:

  • Power generators
  • Locomotives
  • Construction equipment
  • Large trucks
  • Agricultural equipment
  • Forestry equipment

According to John Gerhard, national education director for Universal Technical Institute (UTI), learning in a diesel technician training program is beneficial because it gives students many different avenues to pursue.

“Anyone who would like to have a lifelong skill and a career that can be used anywhere in the world should consider a diesel career,” John says.

How Much Do Diesel Mechanics Make?

Due to the high demand for those who can service and repair diesel equipment, skilled diesel mechanics have great income potential.1 So how much can diesel mechanics make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists was $48,500 in May 2019.29 This means half of them made more than that salary and half made less.

In some states, the annual median wage is higher than the national average. This could be due to a number of factors, including demand, predominant industries and cost of living in that state. To help you plan your next career move, here's a look at how the 50 states and District of Columbia rank in salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists as reported by BLS (median wages reported in May 2019):

Top 10 Annual Salaries for Diesel Mechanics

1. District of Columbia: $69,130

Construction is one of the fastest-growing industries in Washington, D.C., especially home construction. The Washingtonian reports the number of jobs in construction is expected to jump from 147,000 jobs in 2014 to 264,000 jobs in 2044. This means more diesel technicians who can work on construction machinery will be needed as well.

2. Alaska: $62,800

Top economic industries in Alaska include oil, fishing, timber, mining and agriculture. All of these industries use diesel-powered equipment. If you love the outdoors, you might consider a diesel career here.

3. Connecticut: $61,480

Connecticut names advanced manufacturing, bioscience and green technology among its top five industries. The state is a manufacturer of jet engines, nuclear submarines, medical tools and green-energy technologies. Diesel equipment powers much of the work in these industries.

4. Hawaii: $59,230

Hawaii is home to several U.S. military bases, spanning Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines. Hawaii is also a major agricultural producer, exporting items such as sugar cane, pineapple, coffee and macadamia nuts. Manufacturing is another prominent industry in Hawaii, which is a significant producer of cotton-based products. These industries all rely on diesel equipment.

5. Massachusetts: $57,310

Manufacturing and fishing are two of the top industries in Massachusetts. The state's manufacturing industry produces many products, including computer and electronic equipment such as microchips, automation products, and military communication devices. Fish is a significant export for the state, and food processing and storage is also prominent in the Massachusetts economy. Diesel technicians here work on ship equipment and in manufacturing sectors.

6. Washington: $56,500

Washington serves the Pacific Northwest and beyond as a leader in agriculture and food manufacturing, green technology, forestry, military, defense, and maritime industries. Diesel technicians here are needed to work on ships, farming equipment, forestry equipment and more. They also work in manufacturing, including on machines producing life science and global health products.

7. California: $56,490

California's economy is larger than entire countries such as Mexico, Canada, Spain and South Korea. Major industries include agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and utilities. Diesel technicians are needed in the state to work on farm equipment, forestry equipment, ships, large trucks and more.

8. New Jersey: $56,100

The state of New Jersey has diesel technician jobs for industries such as manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and pharmaceuticals. According to the state government website, New Jersey is a top producer of pharmaceuticals and is the most strategically relevant manufacturing location. Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes it a key gateway for exporting.

9. North Dakota: $55,050

Agriculture, oil and gas, and mining are among some of the top industries in North Dakota. According to World Atlas, approximately 90% of the land in North Dakota is devoted to farming, covering an area of 27.5 million acres, which is the third-largest cropland in the country. This means diesel technicians who can work on agricultural equipment are essential to the state’s economy.

10. New York: $55,010

The state of New York has the third-largest economy in the United States, Investopedia reports, and if the state were a country, it would rank around 15th in the world in economic size. Top economic sectors in New York include retail and manufacturing. New York is a major exporter of manufactured goods to other states and countries, and its role in technical manufacturing has risen in recent years.

Ranking All 50 States and the District of Columbia

RankStateAnnual Median Wage
1District of Columbia$69,130
2Alaska$62,800
3Connecticut$61,480
4Hawaii $59,230
5Massachusetts$57,310
6Washington$56,500
7California$56,490
8New Jersey$56,100
9North Dakota$55,050
10New York$55,010
11Nevada$54,540
12New Hampshire$53,000
13Maryland$52,300
14Colorado$52,160
15Minnesota$51,970
16Montana$51,450
17Rhode Island$50,720
18Wyoming$50,580
19Oregon$50,460
20Illinois$50,440
21Louisiana$48,870
22Wisconsin$48,800
23Texas$47,710
24Missouri$47,440
25Utah$47,240
26Virginia$46,850
27Pennsylvania$46,770
28Ohio$46,750
29Georgia$46,730
30Arizona$46,560
31Vermont$46,330
32Michigan$46,270
33Delaware$46,080
34Florida$45,900
35Indiana$45,890
36North Carolina$45,850
37Iowa$45,550
38Maine$45,030
39Kansas$44,910
40New Mexico$44,900
41South Dakota$44,820
42Tennessee$44,580
43Nebraska$44,120
44Alabama$43,590
45Oklahoma$43,460
46Idaho$42,970
47Kentucky$42,430
48South Carolina$41,250
49Arkansas$39,170
50Mississippi$38,170
51West Virginia$38,000

Want to Work in Diesel? Train at UTI

If you’re interested in working on large equipment that powers some of the world's biggest industries, completing a formal diesel training program can be a great place to start.

According to the BLS, employers prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary training in diesel engine repair, like the Diesel Technology program offered at UTI. To learn more, request information to get in touch with one of our Admissions Representatives today.
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