How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Michigan
A growing career in Michigan and in other states is diesel service and mechanics. As a service technician or mechanic for diesel engines and trucks, you’ll be working hands-on with heavy equipment, evaluating vehicles and parts, making repairs, maintaining or replacing parts, and following checklists to ensure everything has been done correctly.
What You Need to Work as a Diesel Mechanic in Michigan
To be a diesel mechanic in Michigan you must be certified through the state. There are two pathways you can take to become certified:
- Complete high school or earn your GED, go to a post-secondary school to earn a degree or certificate in diesel mechanics and take the state’s test for certification.
- Complete high school or earn your GED, get a trainee license from the state and spend two years training with a certified mechanic. Then, you can take the state test for certification. The trainee license lasts for only two years and cannot be renewed.
Certification and testing are conducted through the Michigan Department of State. The Secretary of State website offers online registration for testing. To be a diesel mechanic, you will take the test for diesel engine repair.
Diesel Mechanic Training Programs in Michigan
There are several programs available in Michigan for learning to become a diesel mechanic. Choose a program that is accredited and that includes hands-on work. Two of the options are:
- Baker College, Owosso. Baker College offers a certificate and an associate degree program in diesel service technology through its Auto/Diesel Institute of Michigan. They are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). The certificate program takes less time to complete, but both prepare you to take and pass several ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) exams for certification. By completing the degree program, you will be prepared to become an ASE master certified technician.
- Kirtland Community College, Roscommon, Grayling, Gaylord. This northern Michigan community college offers a certificate program in automotive technology diesel service specialist. The program takes 12 months to complete and meets the certification requirements for the state.
Diesel Mechanic Certifications
The state of Michigan certifies mechanics through the Secretary of State. You can take the appropriate diesel engine exam at any time, but to be prepared to pass it you should have completed an academic program or an on-the-job training program first.
Most programs will also prepare you for ASE certification. Many employers will require that you hold this credential. The certifications ASE offers related to diesel mechanics include transit bus, electronic diesel engines, school bus, medium-heavy duty truck and truck equipment.
Salary and Job Outlook in Michigan
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that diesel mechanics across the U.S. earn an average of 447,350 per year and can expect job growth of five percent through 2028. This is steady job growth, which will provide good job security. Salaries for diesel mechanics can be as high as $72,180, depending on employer, location and certification levels.
In Michigan, job growth is expected to be higher than the national average, at 11 percent over the next several years. The average salaries in the state are competitive. On average, diesel mechanics in Michigan earn $45,930 per year and $22.08 per hour.
Working as a Diesel Mechanic in Michigan
In 2016, there were already 8,170 diesel mechanics employed in Michigan, and with strong growth there will be room for many more in coming years. You may be able to find work with transportation companies, such as bus lines, with local government and school districts, or in automotive repair shops or truck companies. You will find more job opportunities in and around Detroit and southeast Michigan and Grand Rapids on the west side of the state.