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America depends on diesel-powered trucks and buses. In this fast-growing field, you'll help keep these and anything with a diesel engine up and running with inspections, maintenance and repairs.
While you may be able to learn on the job after high school, most employers now look for graduates of training programs in diesel engine repair. Getting an industry certification may also help you stand out.
You'll need to know engines, transmissions, braking mechanisms, and other complex systems in order to identify mechanical and electronic problems, make repairs, and offer a proper maintenance strategy. Attention to detail and physical strength are necessary to get the job done. Good listening and communication skills are also important when working with customers. Some shops require a commercial driver's license (CDL) to test-drive buses and large trucks.
At this stage of your career you'll have mastered basic tasks such as cleaning parts, checking fluid levels, and driving vehicles in and out of the shop. You may want to get certified in specific repair areas, such as drivetrains, electronic systems, and preventative maintenance and inspection.
After five years, you can expect to be considered a journey-level diesel technician and take on tasks with more complexity, such as vehicle diagnostics. To remain certified, diesel technicians must pass a recertification exam every 5 years.
Over the course of your career you'll be expected to keep up with new techniques and equipment. Employers often send experienced technicians to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors to learn about the latest diesel technology.