How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Florida
If you’re looking for a new career, or your first, and a desk job just doesn’t appeal to you, consider working as a mechanic. There is always a need for mechanics who can work with heavy trucks and diesel engines, and training to become a diesel mechanic doesn’t take long. With a year-long academic program or a couple of years training while you work, you can become a nationally-certified mechanic and enjoy a steady career with good earnings in Florida.
Diesel Mechanic Requirements for Florida
There are no requirements set by the Florida state government for becoming and working as a diesel mechanic. Employers are free to set their own requirements, which may include a post-secondary education or certification. Generally, there are two ways you can meet the standards necessary to begin working in this industry:
- After high school or earning your GED, enroll in and complete a post-secondary diesel mechanic program. These usually are certificate programs and take a year or less to finish. They give you the skills necessary to start working after graduation and to pass certification exams.
- Also after high school, find a mechanic willing to train you. Work for a couple of years as a trainee, earning as you learn, and you will eventually be prepared for certification and to work as an independent mechanic.
Learn to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Florida
If you choose the academic route to becoming a diesel mechanic, you have a few options in Florida:
- Florida State College, Jacksonville. The Diesel Systems certificate program at Florida State College can be finished in just over a year and includes 1,800 hours of learning and hands-on work experience. You’ll also be prepared to pass relevant certification exams for diesel mechanics.
- Universal Technical Institute, Orlando. One of UTI’s many campuses is located centrally in Orlando and offers a diesel technology program. Classroom work is complemented by many hours spent in the campus bay doing hands-on work. You’ll learn about and work with diesel truck brake systems, chassis, manual transmission, steering, suspension and more.
- JTech Institute, Jacksonville. Another option in Jacksonville is the diesel technology program at JTech. Here you’ll learn in a large lab and be trained in inspection, diagnostics, troubleshooting and repair of diesel trucks and engines.
Most programs in diesel technology are aligned with the curriculum recommended by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and prepare graduates to pass the ASE certification exams. While certification isn’t strictly necessary to work as a mechanic in Florida, it is strongly recommended. You can take exams to become certified in truck equipment, medium-heavy duty trucks, school buses, transit buses and electronic diesel engines.
Salary and Job Outlook for Diesel Mechanics
Qualified mechanics will always be needed to maintain and repair buses and trucks. Right now, careers for diesel mechanics are growing at a rate of five percent across the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In Florida, this growth is much higher at 17.6 percent. Expect there to be more than 1,000 new jobs available for diesel mechanics in the state in the coming few years.
The BLS also reports on salaries, and on average diesel mechanics make $47,350 per year in all states. In Florida, this rate is a little lower, and the mean annual salary is $46,610. With such big growth and demand, though, you won’t have to worry about job security.
Beginning a Career as a Diesel Mechanic in Florida
As of 2016, there were more than 12,000 diesel mechanics working in the state. They work for public transit systems, school districts, local governments, trucking and transportation companies and truck dealerships and repair shops. Try any of these employers as you get started on your career in Florida. You should find great opportunities throughout the state as demand for good mechanics continues to grow.