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What's Diesel Mechanic Training Like?

What's Diesel Mechanic Training Like

Wondering what a typical diesel mechanic training program is like? By the end of this article you’ll understand different types of programs, how long they last, common courses, class formats, and more.

Learn more about diesel mechanics and what they do.

How Long Are Diesel Mechanic Programs?

Certificate Programs

A certificate program gives you everything you need to start out as a successful diesel mechanic. Programs at schools like Lincoln Tech and South Texas Vocational College both offer diploma programs that take about a year to complete. These programs are designed to quickly get you started in your career.

Associate Degree Programs

On average, associate degree programs last two years. Some associate degree programs, however, are shorter. For example, the associate degree program from Lincoln Tech lasts about 19 months. Associate degree programs are longer because they also cover general education requirements such as English, science, and math in addition to the core career courses. The advantage of an associate degree is that it can open up more opportunities for career advancement.

Prerequisites to Diesel Mechanic Training

Generally, you must be at least 18-years-old, though some programs will admit younger students under certain circumstances. You should be able to read, write, and understand basic English, and have basic math skills. In order to enroll in a diesel mechanic program, you must also have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Many programs require an entrance exam, but some schools may allow you to submit your ACT/SAT scores instead.

Diesel Mechanic Course Description

Courses in each diesel mechanic program vary, though most will have the same core classes. Some of the most common courses include:

  • Diesel engine fundamentals and fuel systems
  • Truck operation and safety
  • Brakes, suspension, and steering
  • Truck electronics and A/C systems
  • Diesel drivetrain and chassis
  • Basic arc welding

Many programs aim to prepare students for ASE testing at the end of their programs as well. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies mechanics. Many employers look for and require their employees to have this certification. Read more about ASE certifications.

Format of Diesel Mechanic Programs

There are usually two aspects to diesel mechanic training: classroom training and shop training.

Classroom training focuses on demonstrations, lectures, bookwork, and preparing you to work in the lab. These classes can also focus on preparing you for ASE certification (as all ASE certifications are written tests).

Shop training involves working in a shop to learn hands-on skills. Typically, programs will have you spend more time in the shop than in the classroom. You will learn to work safely and responsibly with many different types of tools, equipment, and vehicles.

Diesel Mechanic Program Objectives

The main objective of these programs is to prepare you for an entry-level position as a diesel mechanic. They are designed to teach you all aspects of a diesel mechanic's job, and to give you the tools to succeed.

Diesel mechanic programs also will teach you ‘soft skills’, like communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

Materials Needed for Class

You will need a variety of tools as a diesel mechanic. A good pair of safety shoes is a must, along with work clothes. You will also need personal protective equipment (PPE) like safety glasses.

In addition, you may need various types of hand tools like wrenches and ratchets. You will also need basic school supplies and textbooks. Your school will tell you which books you need when you are accepted to the program. The cost of the PPE, tools, and books may be included in your tuition.

Find a Diesel Mechanic Program

If you love tinkering with engines and working with your hands, becoming a diesel mechanic may be right for you. Ready to start training for your career as a diesel mechanic? Make your best career move yet. Find diesel mechanic training in your area!

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