How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Oklahoma
Diesel mechanics are trained and skilled professionals who specialize in working on buses, trucks, boats and other types of vehicles and machinery with diesel engines. They work in repair facilities, for trucking and transportation companies and even for school districts, inspecting, maintaining and repairing diesel vehicles and equipment. To work as a diesel mechanic in Oklahoma you’ll need to get some hands-on training.
Requirements for Diesel Mechanics in Oklahoma
Currently, Oklahoma does not have any specific requirements for diesel mechanics. There is no state licensing, no specific training needed or certifications. However, this is a skilled job, which means you will need to learn and train before you can actually do the work.
After graduating from high school or earning a GED, you can become a diesel mechanic by enrolling in and completing an academic program at a post-secondary school. These programs usually take two years or less. Alternatively, you can work with a master mechanic as an apprentice, learning as you work and earning a minimum salary.
Post-Secondary Programs in Oklahoma for Diesel Technology
It may not be easy to find a mechanic looking for an apprentice, but there are several schools in the state that will prepare you for this career:
- Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City. This is the only program in the state approved by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation. There are different majors to choose from in this program, including diesel preventative maintenance technician for just 300 hours of coursework, and diesel service technology with 1,120 hours. Other options include diesel engine technician and service and light repair technician.
- Oklahoma Technical College, Tulsa. The diesel technology program at Oklahoma Tech takes about eight months to complete if you can attend full time. It includes classroom learning and hands-on practice in the campus shop. The program also includes a basic tool kit to help you get your career started at graduation.
- Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City. Here you can earn an associate’s degree in diesel technology, a good option if you hope to advance your career within the industry beyond being a technician. Many employers prefer that managers and sales representatives hold a degree.
There are no requirements for certification through the state of Oklahoma, but employers of diesel mechanics generally prefer that they hold one or more national certifications. The most well-known certifying agency is ASE. To achieve certification in transit bus, electronic diesel engines, school bus, medium-heavy duty truck or truck equipment, you must pass the relevant exam set by ASE.
Diesel Mechanic Outlook for Jobs and Salaries
Diesel technician and mechanic jobs are increasing at an impressive rate in Oklahoma. Growth in positions is expected to be 8.6 percent between 2018 and 2028. This is better than average job growth for diesel mechanics, which is just five percent across all states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS also states that the average salary across the U.S. is $47,350 for diesel mechanics. The average for Oklahoma is a little less, at $44,340, but the cost of living here is less than in many other states. Diesel mechanics who earn the most in Oklahoma make an average of $64,180 annually.
Finding Work as a Diesel Mechanic in Oklahoma
With strong job growth in diesel, you should not struggle to find your first position. Most jobs will be available in and around the bigger cities of Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman. Check with public bus systems, school districts, shipping and transportation companies, truck dealerships and other companies with fleets of trucks or buses.
Some examples of employers in the state listing jobs for diesel mechanics are Rolfson Oil and Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City, Smith Diesel Repair in Muskogee, and Amerit Fleet Solutions and Ryder in Tulsa.