How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Georgia
Do you like to work with your hands, particularly on vehicles? Are you looking for a steady career that pays well and offers job security? Then you might want to consider working as a diesel mechanic. Diesel mechanics specialize in the maintenance and repair of diesel engines, which are commonly found in buses and trucks. Training to become a diesel mechanic can typically be done on the job, but if you wish to complete a post-secondary education to get you prepared to work in the field, that can usually be done in a year or less.
Diesel Mechanic Requirements for Georgia
The state of Georgia currently has no set requirements for working as a diesel mechanic. The career is not regulated by the government, meaning that employers can set their requirements for hiring. Most employers require employees to have a driver’s license, preferably with a clean driving record. A minimum of a high school diploma or GED is usually the only educational requirement. Post-secondary education is not mandatory but can give you the training you need to start at an entry-level position rather than having to train under another mechanic. Certification is optional, but it is something to be considered, especially if you are looking to earn more or work independently at your own shop.
Learn to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Georgia
There are a lot of benefits to getting a certificate or diploma in diesel technology. The main benefits are that you are more likely to be hired, and you may potentially earn more money because you won’t require extra on-the-job training.
If you choose to complete an educational program, there are a couple of options for you to pick from in Georgia.
- Atlanta Technical College. Atlanta Technical College offers several programs in Diesel Equipment Technology. These include a diploma in Diesel Equipment Technology, and technical certificates in Diesel Electronics Systems, Diesel Engine Service and Diesel Truck Maintenance. The technical certificate programs can be completed in 1-2 semesters (1 year or less). The diploma program can be completed in four semesters or two years. The diploma program includes general education courses and specialization courses. You must be at least 16 and have a high school diploma or GED to enroll in any of the programs.
- Oconee Fall Line Technical College. OFTC gives students the option of several technical certificates, a diploma in Diesel Equipment Technology or an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Diesel Equipment Technology. The technical certificates available are Diesel Electrical/Electronic Systems Technician, Diesel Engine Service Technician, Diesel Truck Maintenance Technician, Heavy Diesel Service Technician and Transport Temperature Control Technician. The certificate programs can be completed in 1-3 semesters and consist of 10-33 credit hours, depending on the specialization. The diploma consists of 47 credit hours taken over four semesters. The A.A.S. degree program can also be completed in four semesters and consists of 47 credit hours but include more general education hours than the diploma program. The A.A.S. degree program is also approved by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) if you are working toward certification.
If you are planning to obtain certification as a diesel mechanic, then you want to be sure that any educational program you complete is approved by the ASE. The ASE is the main form of certification used by mechanics. An ASE-approved program will prepare you to take the certification exams. Certification exams relevant to working in diesel mechanics include transit bus, school bus, truck equipment, medium-heavy duty trucks and electronic diesel engines. Once you pass your exam of choice, you will be certified in that area.
Salary and Job Outlook for Diesel Mechanics
Careers for diesel mechanics are growing steadily. In the state of Georgia, the profession is experiencing a growth rate of 19.6 percent. More than 1,500 jobs should be available to diesel mechanics in the state over the next few years.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that diesel mechanics across all states make an average of $47,350 annually. In Georgia, the mean annual salary for diesel mechanics is slightly lower at $46,120. However, with experience and certification, you could potentially earn as much as $68,010 annually in the state.
Beginning a Career as a Diesel Mechanic in Georgia
Diesel mechanics may work for places like trucking and transportation companies, truck dealerships, repair shops or for the local government, school district or public transit systems. They must bend, crouch, squat and stoop to do parts of their job. If you work as a diesel mechanic, you will also be on your feet for long periods and occasionally have to lift heavy loads. Diesel mechanics do both minor and major engine repairs and use both handheld and power tools.
With the current growth rate so high in the state of Georgia, finding work almost anywhere in the state should not be hard. However, the cities that tend to employ the most diesel mechanics are Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah. Atlanta is also one of the highest paying cities for diesel mechanics in the state.