Although some diesel service technicians and mechanics get their skills through on-the-job training, employers often prefer applicants who have completed a one to two year post-secondary training program in diesel engine repair. Industry certification is not required for diesel mechanics, but the certified diesel mechanic will usually get the job over someone without certification, sometimes even over someone with more experience. Due to the complexity of the job, finding employment as a diesel mechanic without relevant training or experience can be somewhat difficult.
Some graduates of diesel mechanics training programs go on to complete apprenticeship programs, although such opportunities can be hard to come by. One way to obtain a diesel mechanic apprenticeship is to be placed in one by the job placement office of the technical school you graduated from. Some companies may hire diesel mechanic apprentices as entry-level workers. These workers usually have an Associate’s degree in diesel mechanics along with a year’s worth of field experience. Apprenticeships allow beginning diesel mechanics to learn from journey-level workers (employees who are one step up from apprentices) how to inspect, repair, and maintain diesel engines.
Voluntary certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is generally recognized as the standard of achievement for diesel mechanics. To become certified, a diesel mechanic must pass a written test and have at least two years of experience. High school and vocational, trade, or community college training may substitute for up to one year of the experience requirement. Those who want to become certified will need to master general engine diagnosis as well as diagnosis and repair of the fuel system, cylinder head and valve train, engine block, lubrication and cooling systems, air induction and exhaust systems, starting and charging systems, and engine brakes.
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