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Diesel Mechanic Salaries: Ranking the Highest Paying Diesel Technician Careers in the U.S.

Dec 2, 2020 ·
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  • Diesel Mechanic Salaries: Ranking the Highest Paying Diesel Technician Careers in the U.S.

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 $50,200 in May 2020.29 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 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 2020):

Top 10 Annual Average Diesel Mechanics Salary: 

1. Alaska: $62,820

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.

2. Connecticut: $60,200

Connecticut has named 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.

3. Massachusetts: $60,150

Manufacturing and fishing have been 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.

Diesel student checks an engine at a UTI lab.

4. Hawaii: $60,020

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. Washington: $59,500

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.

6. New Jersey: $59,030

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 has been 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.

7. California: $58,980

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. District of Columbia: $58,480

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 likely be needed as well.

9. North Dakota: $56,990

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: $56,320

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
4Hawaii $60,020
6New Jersey
8District of Columbia$58,480
9North Dakota$56,990
10New York$56,320
12Rhode Island$54,540
14New Hampshire
28North Carolina$48,260
38New Mexico
42South Dakota$45,820
50South Carolina$39,130
51West Virginia$39,110

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 12 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 is for Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2020 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 $23.20 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2020 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 percentiles of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $19.41 and $16.18, 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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