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If you have always been interested in how things work and spent your childhood taking things apart and putting them back together, you could have a future as a diesel mechanic. A diesel mechanic is a mechanic who works on diesel engines, which can be found in heavy equipment, including agricultural equipment such as farm tractors, buses and heavy trucks, bulldozers and cranes, road graders, and even boats. Some diesel mechanics specialize in diesel-powered cars and trucks. A diesel mechanic is in charge of fixing a variety of systems, from setting up the vehicle’s electrical system to reworking the engine from the inside out.
If you are still in high school, consider taking classes to help you develop mechanical and technical skills. This could include everything from algebra and geometry to physics and computer classes. As the career entails dealing with electronic equipment on a fairly consistent basis, a diesel mechanic needs to be up to date with basic computer technology and English skills. It is not uncommon for a diesel mechanic to use a laptop computer to help him or her identify engine problems. The use of power tools and welding equipment is also commonplace. If you have the chance to take on an apprenticeship at a local shop, or, better yet, work part-time around agricultural and construction equipment, do so. Hands-on practice is the best way for you to understand what your future job will entail.
Once you are out of high school, your educational options are varied. You can become a diesel mechanic by enrolling in a technical or community college. Most schools offer the option of obtaining either an associate degree or an advanced diploma. Both options usually take 16 to 24 months and include practical work experience. After graduation, you have the option of taking the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exams, which qualify you as a master diesel mechanic or diesel mechanic technician.
Working as a diesel mechanic requires physical strength because the parts to be moved are often large and heavy. If you intend to work in this profession, you should keep in good shape and make sure you have no physical limitations that would make it impossible for you to handle the equipment.
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