Being a diesel technician is an extremely rewarding career. Diesel technicians are responsible for keeping critical fleet vehicles on the road, helping to ensure that America’s supply chain continues to run smoothly and efficiently. At Transwest, our diesel technicians are the backbone of our service department, helping our drivers stay on the road and safe.
In addition, becoming a diesel technician is a good way to ensure future employment options. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for diesel technicians and mechanics is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029.
If you are interested in becoming a diesel technician, this guide will walk you through important knowledge needed for this career path, skills to acquire, and helpful tips for setting yourself apart in the industry.
Understanding The Work of a Diesel Technician
Before diving into the education and skills needed to become a diesel technician, it is important to understand the work these skilled tradespeople perform. Diesel technicians inspect, repair, and overhaul vehicles that are equipped with diesel engines.
This work can include anything from standard maintenance tasks, such as swapping out filters and flushing fluids, to more complex tasks, such as rebuilding an entire engine. Diesel technicians don’t just work on powertrain components, though, as they are also responsible for chassis-related repairs and more. For example, a technician may adjust brakes, diagnose air leaks, and work on electrical systems.
Regardless of what work is being done, each day as a diesel technician, you’ll be performing work that has been outlined in repair orders. This work must be performed efficiently and accurately, upholding dealership and factory standards.
Diesel technicians will also diagnose vehicles, determining what repairs need to take place. They will communicate with the parts department to secure necessary parts, and they will advise the shop foreman if the repair order needs to be adjusted for additional repairs that may be required. .
Diesel mechanics have to maintain a working knowledge of factory technical bulletins, and they have to be capable of road testing vehicles to assess repairs performed.
For a diesel technician, no two days will ever look exactly the same. The work is constantly changing depending on the needs of customers visiting the shop.
In addition to diesel technicians who work in a shop, some technicians will work on mobile repair trucks, responding to roadside breakdowns. These diesel technicians must be highly skilled, capable of repairing rigs without all the equipment or resources found in a shop.
Diesel Technician Requirements: Education, Experience, Knowledge, and Skills
Many diesel technicians learn their skill set on the job, in an apprenticeship-style environment. However, there are postsecondary training programs available for diesel engine and truck repairs, which are increasingly popular for those looking to get a headstart into the industry.
Additionally, many employers will require industry certifications, which can be acquired through specialized courses.
Common education, experience, knowledge, and skill requirements for diesel technicians include:
- High School diploma or equivalent
- A valid driver's license with the ability to obtain a CDL within 90 days of employment
- Diesel Engine Technology Certifications/Education
- Experience diagnosing and repairing diesel trucks
- The ability to work independently and remain self-motivated
- A willingness to attend training sessions for products serviced by the company at the company's expense
- Excellent verbal and communication skills
- Ability to successfully pass a General Abilities Assessment and Post-offer background check, physical and drug screening
Additional Education, Experience, Knowledge & Skills
In addition to the above requirements, employers often prefer diesel technicians who have additional education, knowledge, skills, and experience. The following are all extras that can help you stand apart during the application process:
- DTNA Heavy Duty Truck Systems, DTNA Electrical Troubleshooting, DTNA Electronic Systems, DTNA HVAC, DTNA M2 Certification.
- Freightliner Cascadia Expert Certification
- Western Star Expert Certification
- DD15 Major Repair, DD15 Advanced Diagnostics, Series 60 Major Repair
- Cummins ISX, ISL, ISM, ISB, ISC Engine
- Allison Transmission
- ASE Master
At Transwest, we believe in elevating our employees, so if you’re interested in earning certifications or expanding your knowledge, we’ll be proud to support you.
Physical Requirements of the Job
Beyond just meeting the educational and skill requirements of the job, diesel technicians must also be able to handle its physical demands.
The following are common necessities of working as a diesel technician:
- Required to perform work inside and outside, in all-weather situations, at the shop location
- Requires frequent sitting, standing, balancing, bending, or stooping for prolonged periods of time
- Manual dexterity, fine manipulation, and the ability to reach with hands and arms and lift up to 80 lbs
- Must be able to operate simple to complex and heavy-duty machinery
- Normal range of hearing and vision
Extra Tips to Set You Apart
With the basics covered, if you are interested in becoming a diesel technician, there are a few ways you can set yourself apart from others during the application process. These tips are aimed at helping you feel confident when you apply to work for any company.
Purchase Your Own Tools
Look into purchasing your own set of tools. Many companies actually require you to have a complete set of hand tools, while others simply give preference to candidates who can show up with their own set of tools.
Take Time on the Application
Applying to jobs can be a tiring experience. However, even though it might feel tedious, make sure to spend time carefully reviewing each application.
Pay attention to the details and don’t rush through your answers. A diesel technician needs to be able to read repair orders and follow detailed instructions carefully. Your application will be a reflection of how qualified you appear to the hiring manager.
After filling out an application, if you are called in for an interview, take time to prepare for the meeting. The following are all helpful tips for interviewing professionally:
- Practice answering common interview questions, such as what are your strengths and weaknesses, with a family member or friend before the day of the interview. This can help you feel more confident when the real deal comes.
- Dress nicely for the interview. While diesel technicians don’t need to dress up for their daily job, putting forth the effort to look professional for the interview goes a long way in showcasing that you take the process seriously and are capable of presenting yourself well.
- Don’t hesitate to talk about your accomplishments. While there is a fine line between confidence and bragging, don’t be shy during the interview. If you have an impressive list of qualifications or accomplishments, be sure to share them during your interview. A hiring manager will only know what you tell them.
Learn More About Joining Transwest
At Transwest, we hire diesel technicians on a regular basis. We would love to have you join our talented team at one of our many locations across the country.
When you work with Transwest, you’ll get the chance to work on Freightliner and Western Star products, Detroit Diesel, CAT, Cummins, and more.
Not only that, but we offer ongoing education opportunities and the latest in tooling and computer diagnostic equipment and technology.
Learn more about our current openings and talk to our team today to learn more about what it takes to become a diesel technician with Transwest.