How do I Become a Diesel Mechanic?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2019
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There are four steps required to become a diesel mechanic: post-secondary training, work experience, obtain a license, and complete the job interview process. A diesel mechanic is trained to repair the engines and related systems of diesel-powered vehicles. The combustion engine found in gasoline-powered engines is slightly different when using diesel. As a result, special training is required to repair and maintain these types of vehicles.

People who want to become a diesel mechanic are mechanically inclined, enjoy fixing things, are good with their hands, and like to solve problems. Mechanic is a dirty job, with most of the day spent in coveralls to ensure that oil, grime, and dirt don't get onto clothes. Typically, mechanics work during the day, serving customers in a specially built auto garage.

The first requirement to become a diesel mechanic is to complete a post-secondary education program. Diesel mechanic programs are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. These programs are usually two to three years in length and often include a job placement program, which may be comprised of several courses or an entire school term.

During the job placement, the student works under the close supervision of a master diesel mechanic, who can show them how to apply their knowledge to real problems. Several schools offer work terms in both the first and second years. The more knowledge you have, the more interesting the work that you will be asked to complete.


Many students gain related work experience by repairing their own vehicles, part-time jobs at an oil change or mechanic shop and other jobs that require the use of tools. Mechanical aptitude and skills are required to become a diesel mechanic and these skills are only developed through practice. Take the time to develop advanced mechanical skills if you want to become a mechanic.

A diesel mechanic license is required to work in this role. There are different requirements in each state, but all have a specific combination of post-secondary training, experience, and a written examination. This exam is usually multiple choice and is focused on mechanical principles, ethics, and safety.

When applying for a job to become a diesel mechanic, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. During the job interview process, remember that the employer usually has a standard list of questions and is looking for complete, concise responses. Keep in mind that everything you say will be written down and reviewed. Think about your answers and take your time.


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