How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Mississippi
Have you ever considered becoming a diesel mechanic? Diesel engines are the power behind vehicles such as large trucks and buses as well as commercial boats and heavy equipment. If you enjoy seeing how things work, solving problems and repairing anything that isn’t working correctly, this could be the career path you’re looking for.
The duties of a diesel mechanic include troubleshooting, evaluating, maintaining and repairing different types of diesel engines. Drivers of large vehicles and owners of heavy equipment throughout Mississippi rely on the skills of diesel mechanics to keep their vehicles and equipment in good working order.
Mississippi Requirements for Becoming a Diesel Mechanic
Most employers require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent in order to become a diesel mechanic in Mississippi. A growing number of employers are beginning to prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary education in the field of diesel technology because of the increasing complexity of these engines. Programs are offered in community colleges and vocational schools and usually consist of a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training.
Learning to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Mississippi
When you obtain formal training as a diesel mechanic, you’ll acquire the skills needed to service and repair all types of diesel engines. Examples of places where you can obtain training in diesel mechanics or technology in Mississippi include:
- Hinds Community College. Located in Raymond, MS, Hinds is the largest community college in the state of Mississippi. Its Digital Equipment Technology program lasts 14 months and prepares students to maintain and repair a variety of diesel equipment including commercial trucks, agricultural trailers and construction equipment. Start dates are available five times a year.
- East Mississippi Community College. This college offers a technical certificate in diesel mechanics, which can be completed in two semesters. It prepares students to diagnose and repair diesel engines and provides training in the use of computer diagnostics. This program is offered on their Golden Triangle campus in Mayhew, MS.
Licensing and Certification of Diesel Mechanics in Mississippi
The state of Mississippi does not require formal licensing or certification to work as a diesel mechanic. You may choose to obtain national certification through National Institute for Automotive Services Excellence (ASE), a nonprofit organization that has worked to improve the quality of vehicle servicing by testing and certifying professionals throughout the automotive industry, including diesel mechanics.
While this certification is completely optional, passing a certification exam offers tangible proof of your technical knowledge in diesel mechanics. This can help to make you more marketable to potential employers and may also increase your earnings potential.
Job Outlook and Salary Range for Mississippi Diesel Mechanics
Across the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field of diesel mechanics will grow at a rate of about 5 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is about the same rate as all occupations. In the state of Mississippi, growth is expected to be slightly better, anticipated to be about 8 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to Career OneStop.
In 2018, the median annual salary for diesel mechanics in the state of Mississippi was $37,440. Approximately half the people in this field made more than this salary and half earned less. The same year, the average hourly pay, also called the mean, was $18.61.
What it’s Like to Work as a Diesel Mechanic in Mississippi
The ability to troubleshoot, diagnose and resolve problems with diesel engines can be very rewarding. Your work will include everything from routine maintenance and minor repairs to major overhauls. It might be fairly noisy in your repair shop, but most are well ventilated. You’ll use power tools, machine tools and a variety of hand tools. At times the equipment you handle may be greasy.
Repair shops are often open long hours, and some may offer 24-hour emergency service. This means you’re likely to work days, nights and weekends, and you may even be on call when you’re not at work. Your skills will be greatly appreciated by drivers who rely on their diesel vehicles, and opportunities in this field are available all over the state of Mississippi, especially in large cities such as Jackson and Gulfport.