If you decide to continue your education after high school, there's no limit as to what you can study. Most students choose their field of study based on several factors, such as what interests them, what they are good at, what they can hope to earn for a salary after graduation and how much time it will take to pursue a degree or certificate in that field.

One job that can nearly guarantee you job security and a decent salary is that of a diesel mechanic. Getting a diesel mechanics degree can help you learn the skills you need to become a diesel mechanic as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible.

Tip

It can take up to two years to get an associate degree in diesel mechanics or one year to get a degree certificate in diesel mechanics.

What Is a Diesel Mechanic?

Diesel mechanic is the job title given to a person who inspects and repairs vehicles. They are the experts who you see working in the garage at a car mechanic business or repair shop. Diesel mechanics have a lot of responsibilities, as they need to make sure that the vehicles they inspect are safe to drive on the road. They also have to do their jobs quickly because people are very reliant on their vehicles and cannot go a long time without having the ability to drive.

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What Are Diesel Mechanic Programs?

There are two different kinds of diesel mechanic programs that can be used to earn your diesel mechanics degree. A diesel mechanics degree is a degree you can earn that will teach the skills and knowledge you need to know in order to become a diesel mechanic. A diesel mechanics degree can be a two-year associate degree in diesel mechanics or a degree certificate in diesel technology.

If you choose to go the associate degree route, you can apply at a community college, and you can earn your degree after 70 hours of study. With this degree, you will learn everything you need to know in order to identify problems in a vehicle and how to find solutions for repairs. Once you earn your associate degree, you will also be able to use it if you decide to go back to school to earn your bachelor's degree at some point. Having an associate degree can also give you a bit of a leg up on the job competition.

A Degree Certificate in Diesel Mechanics

If you decide to go the degree certificate route, you will need to apply at a community college, vocational school or technical school that offers a degree certificate program in diesel mechanics or diesel technology. These programs usually require students to take between 30 and 50 credit hours, though it depends on the individual program.

Getting a degree in order to become a diesel mechanic is not necessary, as it is possible to get a job straight out of high school or after earning your GED. The business that hires you will give you the training that you need to become a diesel mechanic. However, having a degree certificate or associate degree before you start your job search can make you a more desirable candidate, provide you with higher pay and make it easier to find a job altogether.

What Can You Do With a Diesel Mechanics Degree or Certificate?

With a diesel mechanics degree or degree certificate, there are many things you can do. First and foremost, you can work at a variety of different repair shops, whether it's a private business or a car dealership. You will be expected to do everything from adjusting wheels and doing oil changes to more complicated work like fixing brakes or diagnosing a problem in a vehicle that the driver can't seem to figure out. Of course, you will need to be able to fix those problems too.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Diesel Mechanics Degree?

The amount of time it takes to become a diesel mechanic depends on whether or not you decide to pursue a degree or degree certificate. If you decide to get an associate degree in diesel mechanics, it will take two years minimum, especially if you are going to school full time. Of course, it may take longer depending on whether you can only attend school part time or if you take breaks in between.

If you'd like, you can also pursue a bachelor's degree after earning your associate, which will take approximately another two years. A bachelor's degree is not necessary to become a diesel mechanic, but there are schools that offer a bachelor's degree in diesel mechanics or something related, such as engineering or diesel technology.

If you decide to pursue a degree certificate instead, you can usually achieve it in a year or less. Again, this depends on the program itself and if you are able to commit to completing the entire degree certificate program in one stint.

Diesel Mechanic Accreditation

When you get your diesel mechanics degree, you should make sure that it comes from a school or program that is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, or NATEF.

You can get your individual accreditation through them directly or by going through your program and earning your degree through an accredited institution. Either way, it is highly recommended that you get some type of credential because it will make you more professional.

Once you've earned your associate degree or degree certification in diesel mechanics, you can consider pursuing your education even further in order to earn additional diesel mechanic certifications. Again, you do not need to necessarily possess a degree in order to take these certification tests. However, the coursework in your degree program will certainly help you to better prepare for them.

Diesel Mechanic Certifications

There are several diesel mechanic certifications you can earn. Although diesel mechanics do not need to hold any official certifications, they can definitely make you a more desirable employee, both in the eyes of your employer and your customers. They can also be helpful if you want to open your own shop one day.

If you are interested in pursuing certifications as a diesel mechanic, then you should take a look into the Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. The ASE offers exams that can certify you in anything from collision repair to truck equipment. Usually, you can only sit for these exams if you already possess an associate degree in diesel mechanics and/or several years of experience working in the field.

What Does it Take to Be a Diesel Mechanic?

In addition to getting the proper training, whether that's through a degree program or your employer (or both), a diesel mechanic should possess certain skills and abilities. While these skills can be picked up through your degree program, it's important to know what employers look for in their mechanics. This is especially true if you don't plan on enrolling in a degree program and instead plan to enter the workforce directly after high school.

Diesel mechanics are accustomed to working with their bodies. The job requires a lot of physical labor, and it can be difficult for someone who has any physical limitations. Diesel mechanics should be strong and dexterous.

They also need to be critical thinkers with the ability to solve problems that might be difficult for others to decipher. Lastly, diesel mechanics should have good customer service skills and people skills in general, as the job puts an emphasis on interacting with others.

How Much Does Diesel Mechanic School Cost?

If you're considering going to school to earn your diesel mechanics degree, you must first consider the cost. A degree certificate in diesel mechanics usually costs less than $10,000, whereas an associate degree in diesel mechanics or diesel technology can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000.

It is important to compare the costs and the benefits of different degree certificate programs versus associate degree programs to see what makes more sense for you and your wallet.

How Much Do Diesel Mechanics Make?

Speaking of money, you might be wondering whether or not a degree program in diesel mechanics is worth it based on the prospective salary. According to PayScale, the average diesel mechanic makes $19.83 an hour. However, that's just the median salary. If you become a diesel mechanic, you can expect to make anything between $10 and $30 an hour.

Your salary will be dependent on several factors, including but not limited to your level of experience, what city you are working in, whether or not you possess an associate degree or degree certificate and how many certifications you hold overall. Based on this information, you can determine whether or not it's a good idea for you to pursue a degree program or associate degree in diesel mechanics.

The Pros of Getting a Diesel Mechanics Degree

There are many pros and cons to getting a degree, and it's worth it to know all the diesel mechanic information you can before making your decision. One of the main benefits of getting a diesel mechanics degree certificate is that it is usually less expensive than an associate degree but can yield similar outcomes in terms of job placement and salary. It also takes less time to earn, as you can get a degree certificate in diesel mechanics in about a year.

If you go for an associate degree in diesel mechanics, you'll have the opportunity to go back to school for just two years after that to earn your bachelor's degree. Even though this route takes longer and costs more, an associate degree could be worth the extra cost. You will likely have more options when it comes to looking for a job, especially one with a higher salary.

The Cons of a Diesel Mechanics Degree

There are also downsides to getting a diesel mechanics degree. With a diesel mechanics degree certificate, you can only work in diesel mechanics. Although with an associate degree in diesel mechanics or diesel technology you may be able to expand that to various different career paths, this can take two years of your time.

Besides these reasons, there aren't too many other downsides to pursuing one of these degrees except for the fact that it is possible to get a job as a diesel mechanic without going to school. Therefore, you should consider your job prospects and talk to various experts in the field to see whether or not a degree makes sense for your future career as a diesel mechanic.

About the Author

Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. She has spent the last 5 years traveling the world and living abroad and has lived in South Korea and Israel. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years in the U.S. and around the world. She has her teaching certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, as well as a TESOL certification. Hana spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University during her undergraduate years at the University of Hartford. She hopes to use her experience to help inform others. Please visit her website, www.hanalarockwriting.com, to learn more.