How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in New Mexico
The job of a diesel mechanic is to inspect, repair and maintain vehicles with diesel engines. These include buses and medium-to-heavy trucks. Transit systems, schools, trucking companies and even waste management companies in New Mexico need more qualified diesel mechanics. With just a little training you could enjoy a stable career as a mechanic with a great income.
Diesel Mechanic Requirements in New Mexico
Like many other states, New Mexico has no official requirements for becoming a diesel mechanic. You do not have to be licensed through the state or go through any particular education or training program. Employers, however, generally hire mechanics who have been trained, have completed a post-secondary academic program in diesel technology, or those who are prepared to train on the job for a couple of years. Additionally, many employers require their mechanics be certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
New Mexico Post-Secondary Programs for Diesel Mechanics
If you choose to complete an academic training program to become a diesel mechanic, you have a couple of good options in New Mexico:
- Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque. Central gives you two choices: a certificate program in diesel equipment technology and a two-year associate’s degree program in transportation technology with a concentration in diesel equipment technology. Both programs include hands-on practice and will prepare you to work as a diesel mechanic. The degree option may give you more choices for career advancement in the future.
- San Juan College, Farmington. If you’re closer to Farmington, you may choose to complete the associate degree program at San Juan College. The degree is in diesel technology and includes 87 to 89 credits of coursework. You’ll learn in the classroom and in the lab working with real tools, engines and vehicles.
Diesel Mechanic National Certifications
You do not have to get certified to work as a diesel mechanic, but ASE certification shows employers that you have the right skills and knowledge to do the job. These certifications can help you land jobs and advance to higher positions. ASE offers exams in truck equipment, medium-heavy duty truck, transit bus, school bus and electronic diesel engines. Most training programs will prepare you to pass these tests and achieve certification in the topics you choose.
New Mexico Diesel Mechanic Salary and Job Outlook
Growth in jobs for diesel mechanics is strong in New Mexico. Between 2018 and 2028, the number of jobs is expected to grow by nearly nine percent. This is faster than the national job growth in the industry of just five percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS reports a mean annual salary for diesel mechanics of $47,350 across the U.S. In New Mexico that salary is a little lower. The average is $43,520 per year and $20.92 per hour. However, keep in mind that the cost of living in New Mexico is lower than in many other states.
Starting a Career as a Diesel Mechanic in New Mexico
There are about 1,680 diesel mechanics working in New Mexico, but there is growth and room for many more. Your first job may be with a trucking company, a local school district, a truck dealership or a public transportation system. Look into any company that works with buses, trucks or heavy equipment and expect to find more job opportunities in and around Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell and Farmington.
Some of the employers currently listing jobs for diesel mechanics in the state include Waste Management in Farmington and Albuquerque, Pilot Travel Centers in Albuquerque, the City of Farmington, Coronado Wrecking and salvage in Albuquerque, and many others. You won’t have a hard time finding your first job and launching a long and steady career in this industry.