How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in New Jersey
If you like to work with your hands and can’t imagine a career sitting at a desk all day, consider becoming a mechanic. Diesel mechanics are always in demand in New Jersey and other states, to maintain and repair trucks, buses and diesel engines. This is a growing industry and a career choice that offers job security and a great income.
Requirements to Be a Diesel Mechanic in New Jersey
New Jersey does not have any official requirements you need to meet in order to work as a diesel mechanic. However, most employers will require that you have training or even certification through an appropriate agency.
To become a mechanic you should have finished high school or earned a GED. Then, you have two options: find a mechanic willing to train you on the job, or complete a post-secondary degree or certificate in diesel technology.
Training Programs in New Jersey
New Jersey has some good programs if you opt to complete an academic degree or certificate. Two of them are:
- Lincoln Tech, South Plainfield. Lincoln Tech’s programs include classroom learning and hands-on practice in a real-life setting. You’ll build skills working with real tools and on fun projects. The three programs offered are in diesel and truck mechanics, diesel and truck technology, and diesel and truck technology with transport refrigeration. All are approved by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation and take about a year or less to complete.
- Universal Technical Institute, Bloomfield. Also approved by ASE, UTI’s diesel technology program includes plenty of hands-on training. Examples of some of the courses are diesel engine service and repair, diesel truck manual transmission, and diesel truck brake systems and chassis.
Certifications for Diesel Mechanics
You don’t have to be certified or licensed in New Jersey to work as a diesel mechanic, but it is recommended. Employers may require that you have certifications or are working toward those endorsements. Most training programs will prepare you to pass the exams needed for certification.
The most widely-accepted and recognized certifications for mechanics are those offered by ASE. The certifications relevant for working in diesel include transit bus, school bus, medium-heavy duty truck, truck equipment and electronic diesel engines. To gain certification you only need to pass the relevant exam.
Diesel Mechanic Salaries and Job Outlook
Careers for diesel mechanics are growing across the country at a rate of five percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In New Jersey, that growth is even stronger at 8.2 percent. By 2028, there should be nearly 1,000 more jobs for diesel mechanics in the state.
The BLS reports that diesel mechanics nationwide have a median salary of $22.76 per hour and $47,350 per year. Mechanics in New Jersey earn more. The average diesel mechanic salary in the state in May 2018 was $55,500 per year and $26.68 per hour.
Beginning a Diesel Mechanic Career in New Jersey
The industry for diesel mechanics is strong, and starting your career in New Jersey you should be able to find a job easily and enjoy good job security. Target truck dealerships, transit systems, local school districts or trucking and transportation companies in your job search. You should be able to find work throughout the state, but some of the bigger population centers, such as Newark and Jersey City, will have more opportunities.