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How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Minnesota

Diesel mechanics are trained professionals who work on trucks, buses and machinery, repairing, maintaining and inspecting parts and engines to keep them running smoothly. To become a diesel mechanic in Minnesota requires some training, but this is a career you can get into relatively quickly. You can also expect to enjoy job security as the industry grows and good salaries.

Minnesota Diesel Mechanic Pathways

There are no specific requirements for becoming a diesel mechanic in Minnesota, although to do the job you need appropriate training. There are two paths you can take to getting into the industry after either graduating from high school or earning a GED:

  • Work with a master mechanic as an apprentice. A willing mechanic can train you over the course of a couple of years. You will make a minimum income while working and learning.
  • Enroll in and complete a post-secondary program for diesel mechanics. These typically take a year or less, in some cases two, and prepare you to begin working as a mechanic immediately after graduation.

Post-Secondary Programs for Diesel Mechanics in Minnesota

If you choose the second pathway, you’ll need to select a school and a program. Minnesota has several options, and these are just a few of them:

  • Dakota County Technical College, Rosemount. Dakota offers more than one option. You can earn a two-year associate’s degree in heavy duty truck technology, a diploma in the same topic or a certificate in truck fleet maintenance. These programs include 72, 64 and 29 credits of coursework, respectively.
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Canby. Minnesota West’s diesel mechanic diploma program includes 32 credits of coursework in both trucks and agricultural equipment. Programming focuses on all aspects of repair and maintenance but also teaches students to work in sales and manage service departments.
  • Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park. In the Twin Cities area, students can choose from three programs at Hennepin. These include a diploma in medium/heavy truck drivetrain transmission, a diploma in medium/heavy truck maintenance technician and an associate’s degree in medium/heavy truck technology. The latter provides the most comprehensive education for becoming a diesel mechanic. In addition to coursework, you’ll also complete an internship.

National Diesel Mechanic Certifications

Although Minnesota doesn’t require that you hold a specific license or certification to work as a diesel mechanic, many employers will only hire certified individuals. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, ASE, offers the most widely-recognized certifications. To qualify, you only need to pass the ASE exams. For diesel mechanics, ASE offers exams in transit bus, electronic diesel engines, school bus, medium-heavy duty truck and truck equipment.

Job Outlook and Salaries for Diesel Mechanics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in diesel are increasing at a rate of five percent across all states. In Minnesota growth is faster. The number of jobs available is increasing at a rate of 9.9 percent from now through 2028, adding more than 600 jobs in that time.

Salaries in this field, as reported by the BLS, are about $47,350 on average per year across the U.S. Diesel mechanics in Minnesota do better, earning an average of $51,480 per year. The top mechanics in the state, who have more experience or more specialized certifications, earn up to $71,000 and even more annually.

Starting a Career as a Diesel Mechanic in Minnesota

There are more than 6,000 truck and bus mechanics currently working in Minnesota. They work for trucking companies, truck and bus manufacturers, dealerships and service locations, transit systems and school districts. Check with these types of employers to find your first job. With good growth in the industry, landing that first position shouldn’t be difficult, but start in larger population centers for better opportunities, including Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Rochester, Duluth and St. Cloud.