How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Missouri
Diesel engines are efficient engines that power large commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks. They also power ships, yachts and equipment such as tractors, bulldozers, generators and pumps. People in many professions rely on the skills of diesel mechanics to keep these engines running smoothly and to repair them when necessary. If you like to figure out how things work and find a way to fix them when they’re not working right, consider becoming a diesel mechanic.
As a diesel mechanic in Missouri, you would inspect, troubleshoot and repair diesel engines of all types.
You’ll have many opportunities to apply your skills in settings such as repair shops, work sites and sometimes on the road.
Requirements for Becoming a Missouri Diesel Mechanic
Getting a high school diploma or equivalent is usually the first step toward becoming a diesel mechanic in Missouri. It’s not always a requirement to get more education after high school, but as diesel engines become more complex, an increasing number of employers actively seek applicants who prove their commitment to the field by mastering the skills taught in formal training programs.
Formal Diesel Mechanic Training in Missouri
Formal training programs in Missouri are offered in settings such as vocational schools and community colleges. In these programs, you can obtain a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training. This can help you to be well prepared for your career and may make you more valuable to potential employers. Some of the programs offered in Missouri include:
- Ranken Technical College. Obtain hands-on training in diesel technology in their 35,000-square-foot facility located on the Wentzville campus. This program is designed to meet national standards and to prepare graduates to be career ready.
- St. Louis Community College. Programs offered include an Associate in Applied Science degree in Digital Technology, a Certificate of Proficiency or a Certificate of Specialization. These programs focus on medium/heavy truck repair and prepare students to diagnose, service and repair diesel truck engines.
Certification and Licensing of Diesel Mechanics in Missouri
In Missouri, diesel mechanics aren’t required to obtain a license or certification. However, you may want to consider obtaining certification through a national organization such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence . This is completely optional, but obtaining proof that your abilities meet this nationally recognized standard may help to improve your earning potential.
Salary and Job Outlook for Missouri Diesel Mechanics
The diesel mechanic field is growing steadily. Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in this field will grow at a rate of about 5 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is about average for all occupations. In Missouri, employment of diesel service technicians and mechanics is predicted to grow at a rate of 9 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to Career OneStop, slightly better than the national average growth for this field.
The median annual salary for diesel mechanics in Missouri was $44,650 in 2018, which means that half of the people who worked as diesel mechanics made less than this salary and half earned more. The mean hourly pay (also called the average) the same year was $21.79.
Your Work as a Diesel Mechanic in Missouri
The ability to diagnose and solve problems with diesel engines can be a very rewarding career. As a diesel mechanic, you’ll perform a wide variety of tasks, from routine maintenance to major or minor repairs to complete overhauls. You’ll work with hand tools, machine tools and power tools, which may be greasy to handle, and your working environment may be noisy at times.
Your working hours may not always be predictable and may include weekends and evenings. Some repair shops offer emergency service around the clock, so you may have to be ready to provide service whenever it’s most needed. There’s a growing need for skilled diesel service technicians and mechanics in large cities such as Kansas City and St. Louis, and all over the state of Missouri.