How to Become a Diesel Mechanic in West Virginia
As a diesel mechanic in West Virginia you will have the opportunity to work for public school districts, transportation and bus companies, trucking companies and other companies that own fleets of trucks. Diesel mechanics have specialized skills and are qualified to inspect, maintain and repair diesel vehicles and equipment. It takes just a year or two of training to learn these skills and to be ready to start an entry-level position.
Requirements for Diesel Mechanics in West Virginia
You don’t need to hold any particular license, degree or certificate to work as a diesel mechanic in West Virginia. While the state doesn’t set any requirements, most employers do. Companies hiring diesel mechanics want to see they have had appropriate training and have at least finished high school or earned a GED.
There are two ways to get the training necessary to become a qualified diesel mechanic: complete an appropriate post-secondary program or complete an apprenticeship with a master mechanic. Some employers may also require that you become certified. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the most widely-recognized certifying agency for mechanics.
West Virginia Diesel Mechanic Training Programs
If you cannot find a mechanic to apprentice with or just prefer to earn academic credentials, West Virginia has a couple of options:
- New River Community and Technical College, Ghent. New River has four West Virginia campuses, but the new diesel technology programs are offered at the Raleigh County Campus in Ghent. Classes are at the Advanced Technology Center, where you can earn a Certificate of Applied Science in Diesel Service Technology in just 30 credit hours, or about one year. Or, you may choose the associate’s degree program, which includes 60 hours and two years. The degree option prepares students for ASE certification.
- Bridge Valley Community and Technical College, South Charleston and Montgomery. Bridge Valley also offers an associate’s degree in diesel technology, which takes two years to complete full time. An associate’s degree, as opposed to a shorter certificate program, will give you more career opportunities later, such as in management or sales of diesel equipment.
Are National Certifications Needed?
National certification is not necessary to work as a diesel mechanic, but it is recommended. As you begin your job search, you may find that many employers look for ASE certification or that you are working toward it. ASE offers the following certifications relevant to diesel mechanics: transit bus, electronic diesel engines, school bus, medium-heavy duty truck and truck equipment. To achieve certification you must pass a test on the topic.
Salary and Job Outlook for Diesel Mechanics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), diesel mechanics in all states earn $47,350 per year, or $22.76 per hour, on average. The rates are lower in West Virginia at $39,440 per year and $18.96 per hour, but keep in mind that the cost of living here is significantly lower than the national average. Top earning diesel mechanics in the state earn close to $60,000 per year.
Also important to future career considerations is job growth. Across the country the growth in diesel jobs is five percent. In West Virginia, the number of jobs for diesel mechanics is expected to grow at a rate of 6.3 percent through 2028, which translates to a couple hundred additional positions for qualified mechanics.
Working as a Diesel Mechanic in West Virginia
With education and training you are ready to start working as a diesel mechanic in West Virginia. Any company or public organization with buses, trucks or heavy diesel equipment needs trained diesel mechanics on staff. Here are some examples of recent listings in the state for diesel mechanics: Hill International Trucks in Wheeling, Waste Management in Charleston, Leslie Equipment Dealer, John Deere Dealer in Fairmont and PepsiCo in Huntington.