Diesel Mechanic Salaries: Rankings for Diesel Technicians in the U.S.

Dec 2, 2020 ·

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Do you love working on big equipment? A career in the diesel industry may be the perfect fit. You might be wondering, “How much do diesel mechanics make?” The answer is that diesel technician salary varies based on a variety of factors, including what equipment they work on and the industry they’re in.

Diesel mechanics, also known as diesel technicians, get to work on some of the most heavy-duty equipment on the planet, from engines on ships to oil rig, mining and agricultural 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:

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,”1 John says.

How Much Does a Diesel Mechanic Make?

There is a high demand for those who can service and repair diesel equipment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists was $48,690 in May 2021.29 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. To help you plan your next career move, here's a look at how the 50 states rank in salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists as reported by BLS (median wages reported in May 2021; no data available for the District of Columbia):

Top 10 Median Annual Salary for Diesel Mechanics

1. Washington: $60,780

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.

2. California, Hawaii & Massachusetts: $60,550

California, Hawaii and Massachusetts all tie for the second highest median annual salary for a diesel technician in 2021. Here’s some info about each:

  • California: The state’s economy is larger than entire countries like 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.
  • Hawaii: The Aloha State is home to several U.S. military bases for the 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. These industries all rely on diesel equipment.
  • Massachusetts: Manufacturing and fishing are two of the top industries in Massachusetts. Diesel technicians here work on ship equipment and in manufacturing sectors.

3. Alaska & Connecticut: $60,270

  • Alaska: This state’s top economic industries 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 in Alaska.
  • Connecticut: The Constitution State touts 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.

Diesel student checks an engine at a UTI lab.

4. Colorado, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota & Rhode Island: $59,770

A number of states tied for the fourth-highest diesel technician annual median salary for 2021. Here’s some info about each state:

  • Colorado: Some of the biggest industries in this state include manufacturing, mining and agriculture. Within each of these sectors, diesel technicians may be able to find work.
  • New Jersey: The state has diesel technician jobs for industries such as manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and pharmaceuticals. According to the state government website, New Jersey has been a top producer of pharmaceuticals and is the most strategically relevant manufacturing location.
  • New York: The state has the third-largest economy in the U.S., Investopedia reports. 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.
  • North Dakota: According to World Atlas, approximately 90% of the land in North Dakota is devoted to farming. This means diesel technicians who can work on agricultural equipment are essential to the state’s economy.
  • Rhode Island: When combining the relatively low cost of living with an above average salary in the diesel industry, Rhode Island can be a great place to live and work. According to WorldAtlas, manufacturing is a top industry in the state, which means lots of machinery in need of diesel mechanics to keep Rhode Island’s economy going.

5. Minnesota: $59,250

According to World Atlas, Minnesota is another state with agriculture as a top industry, along with manufacturing and mining — all industries that are in need of diesel mechanics to keep it running. Minnesota is the country’s 17th largest economy, and agriculture isn’t just part of the economy, it’s a way of life in Minnesota. Another staple of life in Minnesota are the county fairs, which often mean great food and tons of fun.

6. Maryland: $59,190

Heading back to the East Coast for sixth place, Maryland is one of the original 13 colonies, and its economy reflects that. Since the colonial period, Maryland has had large tobacco farms and a large percentage of crops. In addition to agriculture, Maryland has a lot of manufacturing, and both are industries that rely on big machines—and diesel mechanics—to keep them running. Plus, you can enjoy stunning natural landscapes and delicious blue crabs if you choose to live and work in Maryland.

7. Nevada: $59,130

The Silver State is known for its mining and cattle ranching, along with tourism: Nevada is home to Las Vegas. The most important mining exports are gold and silver, hence the state’s nickname. These are all industries that rely on diesel technicians, which puts them in demand. Nevada is a great place for the outdoorsman, with the Colorado River, ATV tours, Lake Tahoe and historic routes to drive and explore.

8. Illinois: $58,150

Illinois’ industrial output includes fruits and vegetables, machinery, food processing, electrical equipment, chemical products and more, according to Livability. These industries require large diesel machines to keep them running, which means diesel mechanics are needed. Plus, Illinois is home to Chicago, with its beautiful architecture and deep-dish pizza.

9. New Hampshire: $54,140

Another state on the East Coast, New Hampshire relies on tourism for its economy. Tourists flock to the Lakes Region, Seacoast and White Mountains to name a few, and it has several historical attractions to explore. But more importantly for diesel technicians, New Hampshire also relies on health care and high-technology manufacturing, which means diesel technicians are needed to help keep the machinery running and delivered smoothly.

10. Wisconsin: $49,380

Being “America’s Dairyland” is more than just a catchy slogan. Wisconsin produces about 26% of the nation’s cheese each year thanks to more than 1 million cows and 8,000 licensed dairy farms. With agriculture being a large part of Wisconsin’s economy comes large diesel machines, making diesel technicians in demand in this state.

Ranking All 50 States and the District of Columbia

RankStateAnnual Median Wage
1 WA $60,780
2 CA $60,550

HI $60,550

MA $60,550
3AK $60,270

CT $60,270
4CO $59,770

ND $59,770

NJ $59,770

NY $59,770

RI $59,770
5MN $59,250
6MD $59,190
7NV $59,130
8IL $58,150
9NH $54,140
10WI $49,380
11UT $49,240
12OR $48,720
13VA $48,630

WY $48,630
14AZ $48,480
15DE $48,390
16FL $48,340
17LA $48,210
18PA $48,190
19IA $48,050
20 SD $47,990
21KS $47,870
22MI $47,850
 TX $47,850
23OH $47,840
24NC $47,600
25MT $47,410
26IN $47,400
 VT $47,400
27 GA $47,310

NM $47,310

TN $47,310
28ID $47,200
29ME $47,160
30KY $47,120

MO $47,120

NE $47,120

OK $47,120
31AL $46,420

MS $46,420
32AR $42,700
33SC $40,220
34WV $38,640

Want to Work in Diesel? Train at UTI

Now that you have a better understanding of the average median diesel mechanic salary and 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. At UTI, you can complete our Diesel Technology program in just 45 weeks. We also offer a variety of specialized training programs, which can help prepare you for a career in a particular industry or with a certain manufacturer.15

For example, the Fendt Technician Academy program is designed for those looking to start their career as an agricultural service technician. Over the course of just 8 weeks, you can learn how to work on tractors from Fendt — part of the AGCO Corporation. This could help give you a competitive advantage as you pursue employment in the agriculture industry.11

To learn more about UTI’s programs, request information today. We’ll connect you with an Admissions Representative who can help you get started and answer any questions you may have!

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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

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.

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 2021 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 $22.89 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2021 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 $18.59 and $17.03, 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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