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Diesel engines power some of the biggest players in our economy. From construction to agriculture, a vast number of industries rely on diesel to keep them running. And there’s a demand for skilled diesel technicians.

In fact, there are more than 24,000 estimated average annual job openings in the United States for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).43

Explore the variety of careers that diesel technician school can lead to, what the role requires and how you can set yourself apart when looking for a job.1

Full of Potential Benefits

Our 45-week Diesel Technology program7 was created with input from the world’s leading manufacturers to prepare you to work on everything from big trucks and corporate fleets to farm equipment and oil rigs. Some of the biggest names in diesel choose UTI’s graduates to keep their engines running.


Projected total number of diesel technicians employed nationally by 203248

What Is a Diesel Mechanic?

Diesel technicians (also known as diesel mechanics) inspect, repair, and overhaul buses and trucks. They also specialize in the maintenance and repair of any type of diesel engine.

From boats to bulldozers, diesel mechanics have an in-depth understanding of a vehicle’s engine, including the electrical system and all of its working parts. They enjoy hands-on work and also understand the technical systems that make today’s vehicles run smoothly and efficiently.

“When hiring diesel technicians at Penske Truck Leasing, we know UTI graduates come to work ready, well prepared and a step ahead. UTI graduates also come to work with an advanced level of know-how that enables them to quickly become valuable team members.”6

Shane Rodgers | District Service Manager, Penske Truck Leasing

Types of Diesel Mechanic Jobs

Diesel mechanics play a vital role in maintaining America’s transportation and energy infrastructure. Most of our grads start out working as entry-level technicians or in other entry-level roles. As with any industry, over time, you may be able to advance in your career with experience and hard work.

Diesel mechanics can be found in a variety of industries, including:77

Trucking and Transportation

One of the most popular industries that diesel technicians go into is trucking and transportation. Many techs are employed by trucking companies and transportation authorities. These jobs typically focus on maintenance and repair of semi-trucks, heavy trucks, buses and construction vehicles.

State and Local Governments

Many entry-level diesel mechanics work for government departments. In these roles, mechanics may be assigned to various responsibilities like support for road crews, forestry equipment maintenance, and repairs of city vehicles and machinery.

Diesel Automotive Repair & Maintenance

These technicians repair and maintain diesel-powered automobiles. Working in a shop means diesel technicians must be able to keep up in a fast-paced environment and have great teamwork and communication skills.

Mobile Diesel Mechanic

Mobile diesel mechanics bring the shop to their customers. Rather than traveling to a repair shop, customers can contact a mobile mechanic who can meet them roadside (or wherever they may be) to perform repairs.

Power Gen Technician

Power generation technicians are responsible for the inspection, repair, maintenance and modification of internal combustion engines, diesel generators and other gaseous engines. They possess the ability to troubleshoot and repair diesel and gas generators, provide cost estimates for materials and services, use test equipment to determine the cause of breakdowns, and maintain records and files.

“Today’s diesel job market has many career opportunities but requires preparation. When preparation is combined with opportunity, you will be successful. Employers are looking for top talent.”6

Ted Fleming | Technical Recruiter, Peterson Cat

Where Diesel Mechanics Work

Diesel mechanics often end up working in these places:

  • Diesel repair shop: These mechanics perform maintenance and repairs on a variety of vehicle models and makes.
  • Truck stops: Truck stops and depots that service commercial vehicles are a common place for diesel mechanics to work. To ensure truck drivers stay on track with their delivery schedules, these mechanics must be able to quickly diagnose and repair any issues.
  • Field service: Mobile mechanics spend most of their time on the go as they travel to their clients to perform repairs.
  • Railroad: Railroad diesel mechanics often work in specialized shops or may travel with the trains they work on to monitor performance and ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • Farm or farm equipment dealer: Agricultural mechanics work on various types of farm equipment, such as tractors, planters and tillers both on site and in dealerships.
  • Self-employed: Some diesel mechanics choose to take the self-employed route, owning their own garage or performing repairs for their own client base.

Diesel Mechanic Salary & Diesel Mechanic Job Outlook

If you’re considering a career in this field, you may be wondering, “How much do diesel mechanics make?” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for diesel service technicians and mechanics was $58,970 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.

As more freight is shipped across the country, additional diesel-powered trucks will be needed to carry freight wherever trains and pipelines are not available or economical. In addition, diesel cars and light trucks are becoming more popular, and more diesel technicians will be needed to maintain and repair these vehicles.

How to Train to Become a Diesel Mechanic

When it comes to becoming a diesel technician, there aren’t any official requirements for education, certifications or licenses. The only thing most employers require is a high school diploma. However, you can boost your prospects with the right diesel technician school and certifications.

Tips to Set Yourself Apart From Other Diesel Technicians

Here are some of the steps you can take to stand out as a diesel technician.

Pursue Higher Education

Many employers increasingly prefer candidates who have completed a postsecondary program at a diesel technician school, according to the BLS.

The Diesel Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is designed to teach the fundamentals you need for an entry-level role as a diesel mechanic. In the 45-week Diesel Technology program, you’ll learn to diagnose and repair diesel fuel systems, perform hydraulic services, and receive hands-on training using equipment from leading brands in the industry.18

Obtain Additional Certifications

​​One of the top certifications that employers look for is an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. It shows that you’re highly qualified and have the expertise and skills necessary to work on diesel engines.

UTI’s Diesel Technology program prepares students to complete ASE examinations. Graduates can even substitute their training for one of the two years of work experience required to become ASE certified.16

Another way to increase your value as an employee and your earning potential is through specialized training, like the Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs available to UTI students who have completed the Diesel Technology program.11

The courses have been created in conjunction with leading manufacturers, including Cummins, Daimler and Peterbilt. They’re designed to provide hands-on experience and mimic real-world workflows, which can give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.15

Brush Up on Your Interview Skills

Even if you have the exact qualifications and experience needed for a position, you’ve still got to know how to make good impression in an interview. Here’s a checklist of how to prepare to put your best foot forward.


Some of the biggest names in diesel look to UTI Diesel program graduates to help keep their engines running. Here, you’ll learn the skills top manufacturers say matter most for diesel technicians.

To learn more about diesel mechanic school at UTI, contact us today. We’ll connect you with an Admissions Representative who can answer your questions and help you get started.


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