Enrolling in diesel mechanic school is beneficial because so many commercial transportation, government and business operations use vehicles with these engines and need qualified people to repair and maintain them. Skilled diesel mechanics can also prevent their employers from incurring fines due to pollution from malfunctioning engines.
There are more than 250,000 diesel mechanics in the United States and the number is expected to grow by 9 percent through 2022. Beginning salaries are approximately $26,000 per year and the median salary is around $42,000 annually, as of 2015. Experienced mechanics may earn as much as $60,000 per year.
Some diesel mechanic employers offer on-the-job training, but an increasing number require a high school education followed by a specialized program that combines class work with hands-on training. These programs are available at many community colleges and trade and vocational schools, and lead to either a certificate or an associate degree.
Industry certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence can also be important for diesel mechanics. Taking courses in electronics and math while still in high school are useful preparation for this line of work. In addition to mechanical skills, diesel engine mechanics need good customer service skills, troubleshooting skills, hand-eye coordination and steady hands. Overtime work may be frequent.