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​Become A Caterpillar Mechanic, Schools, And Training Programs


Caterpillar mechanics, or a dealer technicians, as Cat calls them, repair and maintain heavy Caterpillar equipment both on job sites and at big machinery service shops. The job requires mechanical training, analytical troubleshooting, and getting enjoyment from working with your hands.

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What Does A Caterpillar Mechanic Do?

A Caterpillar mechanic diagnoses problems and services the company's large-scale machines. Mechanics often work as part of a team.

Where Do Cat Mechanics Work?

You'll either do your work in a dealer's shop, or travel to do repairs on sites nearby. Caterpillar equipment is used on construction and road building sites, and at agriculture, logging and forestry, and industrial power generation settings, among other places.  

How Do I Become A Caterpillar Diesel Mechanic?

You can:

  • Get accepted into Caterpillar's specialized 2-year training program. Applications are open Jan-March every year. Interviews are in May, and classes typically begin in August.
  • Or, attend a diesel mechanic training program at a trade school near you. Many programs can be completed in as few as 10 months. Classes begin regularly throughout the year. 

Caterpillar offers its program through participating colleges and universities. The 2-year program is called ThinkBIG, and Cat will tell you it is very competitive to enter.

You'll need an essay, letters of recommendation, and to pass a series of mechanical, verbal, and spatial reasoning tests. If you aren't accepted on your first try, the brand recommends you enter a trade school or community college to learn while you wait for the next acceptance period. 

Acceptance to a trade school or community college that offers diesel mechanic training can be a much faster process. You'll need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. To get started, search your zip code on this page. You'll be directed to available programs near you.

Caterpillar Training and Trade School Programs: What You’ll Learn

While attending diesel mechanic training, you'll learn all about:

  • diesel technology
  • power trains
  • hydraulics
  • electrical systems
  • diesel engines and more

You'll learn about how engines work, learn work procedures for maintaining and repairing the total machine, and gain the technical skills you will need to work on new problems every day.

You'll also learn about the safety measures you'll need to take while making the repairs. After you learn about all of the theory and safety precautions, you'll get to work in a diesel lab and put your knowledge to use with the help of a trained professional.

What Happens After Attending Caterpillar Mechanic Training?

After graduating from a trade school or Caterpillar-partnered program, you will be qualified to work not only on Caterpillar equipment but also on a vast array of diesel-powered equipment found around the world.

You can seek employment as a service technician at a certified Cat dealer, or anywhere else diesel mechanics are employed. You can find jobs at large equipment repair shops, truck stops, and more.

In 2019, diesel mechanics made a median pay of $48,500 (bls.gov). And as a certified Caterpillar mechanic can make more than $100,000 in senior positions (empire-cat.com).

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