How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Hawaii
When thinking of diesel mechanics, it is easy to picture them working on big rigs or buses, but there are other types of diesel-powered vehicles and machinery as well. There are also diesel-powered watercraft, tractors, military vehicles and carnival rides, to name a few. This means that a diesel mechanic could potentially find a job most anywhere once adequately trained.
Diesel mechanics need to be proficient at working with their hands. Someone who enjoys being challenged with a variety of tasks on a daily basis could be well suited to this career. It also requires stamina and excellent interpersonal skills.
Requirements for a Diesel Mechanic in Hawaii
Hawaii does not require a state license or certification to become a diesel mechanic, but a formal training program is considered essential. There are two community colleges in Hawaii that offer programs that teach students to assess, evaluate, maintain and repair diesel vehicles. Program length depends whether you choose the certificate program or the associate’s degree program.
Becoming a diesel mechanic requires hard work. This is a career that involves math skills, being comfortable using hand tools and being able to lift significant weights. It is important to have solid communication skills and to be able to solve problems.
Education Opportunities for Diesel Mechanics in Hawaii
The best diesel mechanic jobs available in Hawaii require completing an education program with hands-on training. Students learn tasks such as welding, fluid changes and tire changes as well as the ins and outs of all systems and parts of diesel vehicles. Diesel mechanic programs available in Hawaii include:
- Hawaii Community College. Located in Hilo,Hawaii Community College offers both a certificate and an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Diesel Mechanics. This school also offers an opportunity for a paid internship with Hawthorne Caterpillar while learning.
- Honolulu Community College. There are opportunities to earn either a certificate or AAS in Diesel Mechanics Technology. The approximate cost of hand tools needed for this program is $2,500.
Certification of Diesel Mechanics in Hawaii
While Hawaii does not require a state license to become a diesel mechanic, certification from National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is often listed as a preferred qualification among employers. Having ASE certification gives an edge to applicants, as shops hiring them will know their skills have been tested. A diesel mechanic who passes multiple tests for ASE certifications will have the opportunity to earn ASE Master Status.
Job Opportunities and Salary Outlook for Diesel Mechanics in Hawaii
Within the state of Hawaii, CareerOneStop expects growth for this field will be approximately 12.3 percent during the ten years from 2016 to 2026, which is higher than the average rate of growth throughout the country. Across the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the diesel service technician and mechanic field is expected to grow by a rate of approximately 5 percent, which is steady but measured growth.
According to the BLS, the hourly mean rate of pay for diesel mechanics in Hawaii in 2018 was $28.09, and the mean annual salary as of May 2018 was $58,440. This means that half of all the people who worked as diesel mechanics earned more and half earned less. Salaries will vary a bit in different areas of the state and depending on the industry in which the job is found.
Working as a Diesel Mechanic in Hawaii
Diesel mechanics need to be able to use nearly all of their senses to identify issues and fix them. It is important to be able to hear where a sound is coming from and to see tiny electronic components. The smells of chemicals and from welding will often be in the air as well. The shop can be hot, and mechanics need to be able to work in some uncomfortable positions throughout their workday.
Choosing to become a diesel mechanic means that no two work weeks will ever be the same. Being that Hawaii is a group of islands, it would be possible to work on a boat engine one day, a tractor’s exhaust system the next and a big rig’s refrigeration system the day after that.