How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Kansas
Diesel mechanics maintain, repair and troubleshoot problems related to diesel engines, which are used to propel machinery in a number of industries. If you enjoy problem-solving and are looking for an active, hands-on career, you may enjoy working as a diesel mechanic. Each day is different, and you can choose to work in the automotive, farming or construction industry, among others. In addition to their analytical skills and technical knowledge, diesel mechanics use welding equipment, computer diagnostics and other tools to complete their work. No two days are ever the same in this fast-paced field.
Beginning Work in Kansas
No licensing or certification is required for diesel mechanics working in Kansas, though you may choose to receive a certification from a professional organization to increase your odds of obtaining higher-paying jobs in the future. Most employers will require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED, and additional training can be acquired on the job or through programs at technical schools and community colleges.
Educational Programs to Consider
Several community colleges and technical schools in Kansas offer associate’s degrees and certificates in diesel technology. Here are a few to consider:
- Washburn Tech. Students at Washburn Tech earn certificates in diesel technology, gaining the skills to work on light and heavy wheeled, diesel-powered equipment. They can continue their studies with an associate’s degree or more advanced degree at Washburn University as well.
- NKC Technical College. NKC’s associate’s degree program covers engine overhaul, electrical systems, torque converters, power trains and equipment testing. Students can transfer to Fort Hays State University to complete degrees in technology leadership.
- Salina Tech. Salina Tech combines classroom instruction with hands-on training to teach the fundamentals of diesel technology. All instructors are Master ASE certified, and the program lasts for two years.
Diesel mechanics can obtain optional certification through professional organizations, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), to demonstrate their skill level to potential employers and clients. The ASE is a well-respected organization in the industry and provides exams and test prep materials in 50 topics. To be eligible for an exam, mechanics must have at least two years of work experience.
Career and Salary Prospects
Kansas-based diesel mechanics make an average annual salary of $44,170, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who work hourly make an average wage of $21.23 per hour.
Jobs for diesel mechanics in Kansas are expected to grow in the 10 years to 2026, with the Projections Managing Partnership estimating an increase of 4.7 percent. The projected national growth average, meanwhile, is 9.3 percent during the same period.
Working as a Diesel Mechanic in Kansas
Diesel mechanics work in a variety of industries, including the farming and automotive sectors. While many choose to work for repair shops, others enjoy success as independent contractors and entrepreneurs. Jobs are typically readily available in urban areas, such as Topeka, though farming communities will also require the skills of diesel mechanics.
As a diesel mechanic, you can expect somewhat irregular hours to account for needed repairs, with a range of challenges to solve each day. The career is ideal for those who enjoy working with their hands, analyzing problems and potential solutions and remaining active throughout their workday.