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Diesel Mechanic Job Opportunities and Outlook

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Diesel Mechanic Job Opportunities and Outlook
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Diesel engines power some of the biggest players in our economy. From construction to agriculture, the number of industries that rely on diesel to keep them running is innumerable. For those who love the roar of a diesel engine and have a natural ability to problem solve, a career as a diesel mechanic can be the perfect choice.

The demand for skilled mechanics is high but you might be asking yourself, “Is being a diesel mechanic a good career?” and “What are the duties of a diesel mechanic?” Keep reading to learn all about what a diesel mechanic does, job opportunities in the industry, job outlook and more:

Full of Potential Benefits

Our 45-week Diesel Technology program 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.

9.5% Projected 10-year growth rate for diesel technicians13
296,000+ Expected total number of diesel technicians employed nationally by 203048

What Is a Diesel Mechanic?

Diesel technicians (also known as diesel mechanics) inspect, repair and overhaul buses and trucks, and specialize in the maintenance and repair of any type of diesel engine. From boats to bulldozers, diesel mechanics aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to get the job done right.

Diesel mechanics have an in-depth understanding of a vehicle’s electrical system, engine and all of its working parts. They enjoy hands-on work yet also have an understanding of the technical systems that are used to make today’s vehicles run.

Diesel mechanics are trained to perform a variety of maintenance and repair services, from oil changes to full-on engine rebuilds.

Diesel Mechanic Job Description
  • Follow inspection procedures
  • Test-drive vehicles to diagnose malfunctions and determine vehicle condition
  • Interpret diagnostic test results
  • Inspect brake systems, steering, transmissions, engines and other parts of vehicles
  • Perform routine maintenance procedures, including oil changes, lubricating equipment, and parts and checking batteries
  • Repair and replace malfunctioning parts and electrical equipment
  • Maintain vehicle records to document services and repairs

Types of Diesel Mechanic Jobs

As technology continues to evolve and customer demand increases, diesel careers are growing. Read on to take an in-depth look into various diesel jobs:

Trucking and Transportation

One of the most popular industries that diesel mechanics go into is trucking and transportation. Many mechanics 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 such support of road crews, forestry equipment maintenance, and repairs of city vehicles and machinery. These are important roles, as cities and states rely on these mechanics to keep their equipment running.

Diesel Automotive Repair & Maintenance

Some diesel technicians decide to apply their skills in auto shop environments. These technicians provide repair and maintenance for diesel-powered autos. Working in a shop means these techs must be able to keep up with 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 the repair. These mechanics specialize in getting cars and trucks back on the road as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Railroad and Marine Diesel Technician

Believe it or not, diesel technicians play an important role in the railroad and marine industries. These careers require technicians to gain specialized training on equipment and tools they’ll be using.

Locomotive mechanics and marine technicians perform routine upgrades and tuning services on ships and trains, and often work in specially designed shops or ride with the vehicle as they monitor wear and tear to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Power Gen Technician

Power generation technicians are responsible for the inspection, repair and 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.

Diesel Service Writer

Service writers act as liaisons between the business and customers. They possess in-depth product knowledge and ensure customers’ needs are being met. Job duties include answering customer questions, writing job orders, dispatching work to technicians, providing cost estimates, and facilitating the transaction process.

Agricultural Mechanic

Diesel engines power many of the vehicles used in agricultural work. Agricultural mechanics fix tractors, combines and other types of farm equipment, which often involves replacing parts or upgrading outdated components. This career is ideal for those who love agriculture, mechanics and transportation.

Where Diesel Mechanics Work

Diesel mechanics play a vital role in maintaining America’s transportation and energy infrastructure. Due to the widespread use of diesel engines, mechanics can find work in a variety of industries. Now that we’ve covered some common diesel technician jobs, let’s talk about where diesel mechanics often work.

  • Diesel repair shop: A large percentage of diesel mechanics go to work in diesel repair shops. These mechanics perform maintenance and repair services on a variety of models and makes.
  • Truck stops: Truck stops and depots that service commercial vehicles are a common place of work for diesel mechanics. In order to ensure truck drivers stay on track with their delivery schedule, these mechanics must be able to quickly diagnose and repair malfunctions.
  • Field service: Mobile mechanics spend a majority of their time on the go, as they travel to their clients to perform repairs. Rather than working in a shop, these mechanics work out in the field.
  • 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. They may work on site where equipment is kept or in dealerships that sell farming equipment.
  • Self-employed: Some diesel mechanics choose to take the self-employed route, owning their own garage or performing repairs for their own client base. Self-employed mechanics typically rely on long-term customers rather than doing one-off repairs.

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 $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.

When it comes to job outlook, there are more than 28,000 estimated average annual job openings in the U.S. for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, according to the BLS.43 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 Become a Diesel Mechanic

While some diesel mechanics learn on the job after high school, employers are increasingly preferring candidates who have completed a postsecondary program at a technical trade school like Universal Technical Institute (UTI).1

UTI’s 45-week Diesel Technology program is designed to teach students the fundamentals they need to service powerful trucks and engines.

In the program, students learn to diagnose and repair diesel fuel systems, perform hydraulic services, and receive hands-on training using equipment from leading brands in the industry.

The diesel mechanic career path can be exciting. After graduating from the core program, students can choose to continue their education by completing a Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training program.

These courses are created with leading manufacturers and designed to mimic workflows found in the real world, which can give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs. Advanced training programs include:

When you choose UTI for your diesel mechanic school, you’re in good company. Some of the leading names in diesel look to UTI graduates to keep their engines running, which means you can feel confident that you’ll learn the skills that manufacturers say matter most.

Overall, becoming a diesel mechanic is a great choice for those looking for a career with competitive pay and a variety of work environments. With the growing demand for diesel mechanics, there’s no better time than now to start your training!


UTI’s diesel program is offered at campus locations across the country. Classes begin at regular intervals, so you can start your training when it’s convenient for you.