How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in South Dakota
Have you ever considered a job as a diesel mechanic? Do you think you would enjoy working on engines in a fast-paced environment? If you are good with machinery and automotive repairs, it might be a good career choice for you.
Diesel engines have the power to run heavy-duty equipment and are used in a wide variety of industries, such as farming, construction and transportation, all of which depend on these engines to get the job done. Diesel mechanics have the knowledge and expertise to maintain, diagnose, troubleshoot and repair diesel engines and related systems. As a mechanic, you can expect to work with high-tech equipment such as pneumatic tools, welding equipment and diagnostic software. Diesel mechanics should also expect to spend long hours on their feet, to interact regularly with clients and possibly work evenings, weekends or even night shifts.
Requirements for Diesel Mechanics in South Dakota
South Dakota does not have an oversight board or state licensing requirement for diesel mechanics, but those who wish to pursue training as a mechanic must first posses a high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates should then seek specialized training, either on-the-job or through a reputable educational program. Those looking for more career opportunities may also wish to seek additional certifications once training is completed.
South Dakota Training Programs
There are two educational programs available in South Dakota for those wishing to seek formal diesel mechanic training:
- Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls offers both an Associate of Applied Science in Diesel Technology and an Associate of Applied Science in Diesel Technology: Agriculture/Construction. The school reports that graduates of both programs are highly sought after by leading employers in the area.
- Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in Watertown offers a Diesel Technology program with possible options in Diesel Truck and Ag, Diesel THINK BIG Caterpillar or Diesel Case New Holland. Graduates of the program may also choose an option in Light Duty Diesel Technology. Students will learn from certified mechanics, completing hands-on training in LATI’s new diesel facility.
Many mechanics choose to seek additional certifications as a way to open up more career opportunities, earn higher salaries and instill a sense of trust in potential clients. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a trusted organization and an industry standard for certification of automotive professionals. ASE requires all candidates to have worked in their respective fields for a minimum number of hours as well as be able to pass a written examination.
Job Growth Expectations and Salaries
In 2018, theBureau of Labor Statistics reported an average annual salary of $43,500 and an average hourly wage of $20.91 in South Dakota for diesel mechanics, which is a bit lower than the national average for this field. The highest paying industries nationwide for diesel mechanics include natural gas distribution, metal ore mining, electric power generation, transmission and distribution, couriers and express delivery services and the federal postal service.
Potential for growth in South Dakota, in contrast to salary, is higher than the national average and appears promising. According to Career One Stop, 10.8 percent growth is predicted between the years 2016 and 2026, while the national predicted growth rate for this field is 9.3 percent for all states.
Opportunities in South Dakota
Due to the prevalence of diesel engines in many industries, job opportunities for diesel mechanics promise to remain plentiful. Mechanics in South Dakota should find work available in both the private and public sectors. Many even choose to open their own businesses. A few potential employers in the state include Waste Connections, Inc., United Rentals, Titan Machinery, Interstate Companies, Inc., Cummins, Inc., Love’s Travel Shops and Country Stores and C & B Operations, LLC.