How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Louisiana
If you are looking for a job with a steady growth rate and security in Louisiana, working as a diesel mechanic is a great choice. Diesel mechanics work on boats, buses, trucks and other vehicles that run on diesel engines. They will evaluate the vehicle and parts to determine and diagnose any problems, make repairs and perform routine maintenance to ensure everything is working correctly. Training for this career can usually be done on the job, but you may also wish to complete a post-secondary training program to improve your chances of getting hired.
What You Need to Work as a Diesel Mechanic in Louisiana
No license or specific education or training is required to work as a diesel mechanic in Louisiana. There are particular skills you will need to learn to work as a mechanic, but this is a career where the training can be done on the job after you’re hired.
Most employers in the state are going to want to hire someone who has either completed high school or has a GED. A valid driver’s license may be required by most, and some employers look to hire employees who have a CDL. You don’t have to complete an educational program at a post-secondary institution. However, if you do, you will be able to start working as an entry-level diesel mechanic and not have to undergo on-the-job training. Higher pay may be available for those who have a technical certificate or diploma in diesel technology, as well.
Training Programs for Diesel Mechanics in Louisiana
In Louisiana, there are a few programs available to learn the skills necessary for becoming a diesel mechanic. It is essential to choose a program that has been approved by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), especially if you are working toward certification. Two examples of programs available in Louisiana are:
- Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College. In this program, students receive both classroom instruction and hands-on shop experience. They learn how to handle and use a variety of hand and power tools safely and correctly. They also learn how to replace and repair parts, disassemble engines and work on other components of diesel vehicles. Available certificates and degrees for this program are a technical diploma, certificate of technical studies, and then certificates of technical competency in specialized areas of diesel mechanics. The programs are available on the Mansfield, Minden and Shreveport campuses.
- Northshore Technical Community College. At the Sullivan campus of Northshore Technical Community College in Bogalusa, students can earn either a Certificate of Technical Studies in Diesel Equipment Technology or a Technical Diploma in Diesel Powered Equipment. The technical certificate consists of 24 credit hours of basic diesel mechanics courses. The diploma consists of 50 credit hours, including the same courses required for the technical certificate plus more in-depth courses. The programs can be completed in one to two years, depending on which you choose.
Diesel Mechanic Certifications
Most educational programs will prepare you to take the certification exam given by the ASE. This is the preferred form of certification used by mechanics. The ASE offers five certifications that are related to the diesel mechanic field. These are: electronic diesel engines, school bus, medium-heavy duty trucks, transit bus and truck equipment.
Salary and Job Outlook in Louisiana
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2018, diesel mechanics were making an average of $22.92 hourly and $47,680 annually in the state of Louisiana. The mean average annual salary for this occupation across all states is $49,150. Diesel mechanics in Louisiana who have more experience and are certified can potentially make more than the state average, with some earning as much $65,090 per year.
Job growth is also positive in the state. Approximately 400 more job opening are expected to become available in this field in the Louisiana between 2016 and 2026, meaning the career is experiencing a growth rate of 11.7 percent in the state.
Working as a Diesel Mechanic in Louisiana
In 2016, there were approximately 3,300 diesel mechanics working in Louisiana, and that number is expected to continue to grow. As a diesel mechanic, you may work for transportation companies, for local government and school districts, with bus lines or in auto repair shops. Job opportunities should be available throughout the state, but you may find more work in cities like Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport.