How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in Texas
For job security and a steady, good salary, it’s hard to beat working as a diesel mechanic in Texas. The number of jobs for qualified truck mechanics is growing rapidly, much faster than in other parts of the country. If you like to fix things, are interested in learning a trade and are ready to start training now, consider a career as a mechanic.
What Do I Need to Work as a Diesel Mechanic?
Texas does not have any requirements for education, training or licensing for diesel mechanics, but you will need to train and learn to be able to do this job. The first thing you should do is finish high school or get a GED if you did not complete school.
Next, you can either find a mechanic who will train you as you work, or enroll in an academic program. Training on the job has the benefit of giving you a salary while you learn, but it can be difficult to find a mechanic prepared to do this. On the other hand, an academic program for diesel mechanics will give you all the skills you need to start working in about a year or less.
Academic Programs for Diesel Technology in Texas
There are several programs in Texas that will train you to become a diesel mechanic:
- South Texas Vocational Technical Institute, San Antonio. The San Antonio campus of this vocational school offers a program in diesel heavy truck. You’ll learn hands-on about all of the systems in diesel vehicles and train to inspect, service, diagnose and repair buses and trucks.
- Amarillo College, Amarillo. Amarillo has several programs in diesel technology. Choose between a basic and advanced certificate and an associate’s degree, the latter of which will take two years to complete. The program includes hands-on work experience in a brand new campus lab with cutting edge tools and technologies.
- Houston Community College, Houston. If you’re in the Houston area, this program in heavy vehicle and truck repair will prepare you for a diesel mechanic career. You’ll earn a certificate in a year or less and learn all about heavy vehicle brakes, transmission, service, engine repair and more.
Certifications for Diesel Mechanics
In Texas, you do not have to hold licenses or certifications to work in this career. However, it’s a good idea to achieve relevant certifications through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). ASE is the leading certifying agency, and endorsements in transit bus, school bus, medium-heavy duty truck and other diesel-related subjects will help you find work and prove to employers that you have the necessary skills.
Texas Diesel Mechanic Salary and Outlook
The national average annual salary for diesel mechanics is $47,350, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The average hourly rate is $22.76. These are great rates, but in Texas, salaries are even higher. The mean salary for a diesel mechanic there in May of 2018 was $48,450. The highest earners in the state made nearly $70,000 per year.
Growth is slow but steady for diesel mechanic jobs in the U.S. Nationwide, according to the BLS, the growth rate is five percent. But in Texas growth is rapid, with the number of jobs increasing at a rate of 20 percent between 2018 and 2028. There is huge demand in the state for qualified diesel mechanics.
Finding Work as a Diesel Mechanic in Texas
Texas is a big state with a lot of industries that rely on trucks and buses. You should be able to find a job easily once you have trained to become a diesel mechanic. Start your search with transportation companies, trucking companies, truck and bus manufacturers, truck dealerships, and repair shops that specialize in diesel. There are large areas of Texas with a sparse population, so you are more likely to find good jobs in the dense population centers of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Arlington and Corpus Christi.