Diesel service technicians and mechanics, also known as bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists , repair and maintain the diesel engines that power transportation equipment such as heavy trucks, buses, and locomotives. Some diesel technicians and mechanics also work on heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, including bulldozers, cranes, road graders, farm tractors, and combines. A small number of technicians repair diesel-powered passenger automobiles, light trucks, or boats.

Job Outlook and Growth Potential:

Employment of diesel service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow as freight transportation by truck increases. Additional trucks will be needed to keep pace with the increasing volume of freight shipped nationwide. Trucks also serve as intermediaries for other forms of transportation, such as rail and air. Due to the greater durability and economy of the diesel engine relative to the gasoline engine, buses and trucks of all sizes are expected to be increasingly powered by diesels. In addition, diesel service technicians will be needed to maintain and repair the growing number of schoolbuses in operation.

Careers as diesel service technicians attract many because they offer relatively high wages and the challenge of skilled repair work. Opportunities should be good for persons who complete formal training in diesel mechanics at community and junior colleges or vocational and technical schools. Applicants without formal training may face stiffer competition for entry-level jobs

Wages and Earnings Potential:

Median hourly earnings of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, including incentive pay, were $16.53 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.13 and $20.54 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.66, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.61 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in 2002 were as follows

Local government $19.58
Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers $15.62
General freight and trucking $15.62
Automotive repair and maintenance $15.36
Elementary and secondary schools $15.10

Because many experienced technicians employed by truck fleet dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Beginners usually earn from 50 to 75 percent of the rate of skilled workers and receive increases as they become more skilled, until they reach the rates of skilled service technicians.

Many diesel service technicians and mechanics are members of labor unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Amalgamated Transit Union; the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the Transport Workers Union of America; the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association; and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Copyright © 2014, Ohio's 2-Year Council of Deans and Directors of Engineering & Industrial Technologies

Career information from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition and member schools.