How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean most often known for its rum and beaches. This U.S. territory is also home to the largest telescope in the world. There is a wide variety of vehicles on the island as well, including military, aviation and agricultural equipment, which must be maintained and repaired by trained diesel mechanics. Becoming a diesel mechanic also provides a good starting point to further train to work on other large equipment, such as marine and aviation vehicles as well.
Choosing to become a diesel mechanic involves hard work and being prepared for a physically demanding job. Excellent communication, problem-solving abilities and attention to detail are skills that would be used on a daily basis. This is a career that involves everything from changing tires and brakes to completely overhauling diesel engines and, above all, having adequate training to do it.
Requirements for Becoming a Diesel Mechanic in Puerto Rico
Education beyond a high school diploma or GED is required in order to become a diesel mechanic in Puerto Rico. Schools in several parts of Puerto Rico offer programs that teach the skills required to assess, evaluate, repair and maintain diesel vehicles. Programs can vary in length, as most schools offer specialized programs beyond their standard curriculum. There is typically financial aid available.
This is a career that requires outstanding fine motor skills, visual acuity and the ability to work in potentially uncomfortable positions for a majority of the day. A career as a diesel mechanic could be ideal for someone who is motivated and enjoys working with their hands.
Training Options for Diesel Mechanics in Puerto Rico
In order to be considered for the best jobs available as a diesel mechanic in Puerto Rico, formal education with hands-on training is a necessity. Training in refrigeration, air conditioning and electrical systems require additional courses once the initial program is finished. Aviation and marine programs exist for those interested in diesel mechanic work in those industries as well. Some programs available in Puerto Rico are:
- AutoMeca Technical College. Located in Bayamón, a 40-credit program in Diesel Technology and Advanced Systems is offered, which covers the engine, fuel injection, transmission, suspension, brakes and hydraulics. Additional programs are offered to study refrigeration and air conditioning, or electrical and electric systems as well as marine engines.
- Mech-Tech College. Located in Caguas, this is a 60-credit/1200-hour program in Diesel Technology and Advanced Systems. This program covers the engine, fuel injection, transmission, suspension, brakes and hydraulics. Additional programs are offered to study refrigeration and air conditioning, or electrical and electric systems, as well as marine and racing programs.
Certification of Diesel Mechanics in Puerto Rico
In Puerto Rico, a state license from the Board of Automotive Technicians and Mechanics is required in order to enter the workforce as a diesel mechanic. In addition to passing the exam, there is a $60 application fee as well as additional documentation and requirements.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations in Puerto Rico for Diesel Mechanics
Within the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the diesel service technician and mechanic field is expected to grow by a rate of approximately 5 percent, which is steady but moderate growth. In Puerto Rico, CareerOneStop expects growth within this field of only 1.7 percent during the ten years between 2016 and 2026. This means that the job market may be very competitive.
In May 2018, the median annual salary for diesel mechanics in Puerto Rico was $22,550. This means that half of all those who held this position earned more and half earned less. The hourly mean rate of pay during 2018 was $10.84. Those rates are slightly higher in Ponce and within the San Juan Metro area. It is also important to note that Puerto Rico has austerity measures presently in place that affect pensions, sick leave and vacation pay.
Working as a Diesel Mechanic in Puerto Rico
Choosing a career as a diesel mechanic means choosing a varied list of duties. It’s not likely that two days, or even two weeks, will be the same. Some days might be slower and include fluid and tire changes, while others involve repairing a hydraulic system or an engine. Welding and being able to lift heavy parts are often expected.
Work can be found with a large company seeking to maintain its fleet, with a family-owned business or a company of a size somewhere in between. PR Supplies Group, DSV Global Transport and CIC Construction Group are all large corporations on the island that could benefit from the services of a diesel mechanic. With additional training on marine or aviation engines, the number of opportunities could greatly increase.