Diesel Mechanic Career Information

The following information is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics. Please visit the website for a more comprehensive breakdown of the data.


Diesel service technicians and mechanics (also known as diesel technicians) inspect, repair, or overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine.

Job Duties

  • Consult with customers, read work orders, and determine work required
  • Plan work procedures, using technical charts and manuals
  • Inspect brake systems, steering mechanisms, transmissions, engines, and other parts of vehicles
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Read and interpret diagnostic test results to identify mechanical problems
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components, parts, and other mechanical or electrical equipment
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
  • Test-drive vehicles to ensure that they run smoothly


National Average Annual Pay (2019): $50,360

Top 5 States

1. Alaska


2. Connecticut


3. Massachusetts


4. Hawaiʻi


5. California


Bottom 5 States

50. West Virginia


49. Mississippi


48. Arkansas


47. Kentucky


46. Nebraska



There are a couple ways to learn the skills to become a diesel mechanic.

The first is to attend a technical school. Graduates of diesel mechanics programs may also earn their associate’s degree if the program is affiliated with a community college.

The second is through on-the-job training.

Students or beginners will first learn basic tasks, such as cleaning parts and checking fuel and oil levels before advancing to more complex tasks like vehicle diagnostics.

Certification isn’t required to become an auto body repairer but is offered from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

  • Option 1: Technical School

    Enroll in a diesel mechanics program at a local trade school or community college. Programs usually last around 2 years.

  • Option 2: Learn On the Job

    Gain experience by getting trained on the job.

  • Get Certified

    Getting certified from the ASE is a standard credential. Most employers require their service technicians to become certified.

  • Become a Diesel Mechanic



Mechanics need a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination for many tasks, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, and using hand tools.

Customer-Service Skills

Diesel technicians frequently discuss automotive problems and necessary repairs with their customers. They must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Mechanical Skills

Diesel technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They often disassemble major parts for repairs, and they must be able to put them back together properly.

Physical Strength

Diesel technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, such as exhaust system components and pneumatic wrenches.

Trouble-Shooting Skills

Diesel technicians use diagnostic equipment on engine systems and components in order to identify and fix problems in mechanical and electronic systems. They must be familiar with electronic control systems and the appropriate tools needed to fix and maintain them.

Detail Oriented

Diesel technicians must be aware of small details when inspecting or repairing engines and components, because mechanical and electronic malfunctions are often due to misalignments and other easy-to-miss causes.

Organizational Skills

Diesel technicians must keep workspaces clean and organized in order to maintain safety and accountability for parts.

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