Diesel Mechanics' Job Outlook For 2023 and Beyond
Diesel mechanic job outlook
If it has four wheels and a diesel engine, odds are a diesel mechanic is responsible for keeping it running. On the surface, there isn’t much that separates auto and diesel mechanics. The biggest difference is that diesel mechanics are likely to have a broader range of skills since they work on various types of vehicles. They may work with cars and trucks, but diesel mechanics also maintain busses, emergency vehicles, municipal vehicles, cranes and other heavy equipment.
To learn why jobseekers should consider diesel mechanic jobs, we spoke with Account Executive, Jordan Domine. Domine has over six years of experience in helping mechanics and other skilled trades professionals find their next job. He provides some insights on why diesel mechanics are in demand and how to become one.
Where are diesel mechanics most needed?
Diesel mechanics are needed in many industries including manufacturing, facilities maintenance, construction and aviation. Diesel mechanics have a very broad set of skills, which makes them valuable to most employers.
“The majority of the work that they're doing is preventative maintenance work. Repairing wheels, extending or repairing trailers and maintaining anything with a diesel engine. There’s a lot of diagnostic and troubleshooting skills involved in determining whether an engine needs to be replaced or if just a specific part needs repair,” says Domine.
What skills do you need to be a diesel mechanic?
Domine has helped many diesel mechanics find work. He says most diesel mechanics have the following hard or measurable skills:
Hard skills needed to be a diesel mechanic:
- Preventative Maintenance
- Hydraulic repair
- Electrical repair
- Mechanical experience
- Engine work/Engine rebuild
Along with the hard skills needed to be a diesel mechanic, Domine believes the following soft or interpersonal skills can also help diesel mechanics succeed.
Soft skills needed to be a diesel mechanic:
“Diesel mechanics need to be able to work in a team. The collaboration or teamwork aspect can be hard to find with mechanics, but it’s becoming more important. The industry is changing and now they need to be comfortable working with a team of three or up to 30 people. If one person is throwing the vibe off, employers are going to find someone else. A newer mechanic may be a little more entry level but if they have a good attitude, they may have the advantage over someone who has the hard skills but lacks the ability to collaborate,” says Domine.
Is becoming a diesel mechanic hard?
Becoming a diesel mechanic doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t always require a certification or education beyond a high school diploma. The demand for the role is creating new trade school programs to help develop more mechanics.
Having some basic mechanical, hydraulic or electrical skills and a willingness to learn can be enough to get your foot in the door.
“A lot of companies will take someone who's been a hobby mechanic and has repaired their car or motorcycle. Employers are interested in people who have a positive attitude and who is willing to trust their ability to learn as they gain experience. Lack of specific diesel mechanic experience may mean you make a little less than your counterparts, but once you’re acclimated and prove that you can do what they do — you could be eligible for raises,” says Domine.
If you’re already working in the skilled trades, then you can consider transferring your skills to a diesel mechanic role. Auto mechanics and aviation mechanics often transfer to diesel mechanic positions. The ability to advance their careers to roles like field service technician, parts supervisor or service supervisor can be part of their long-term goals.
Domine notes that welders can also find interesting opportunities working as a diesel mechanic.
“One thing I've seen is welders usually have success as a diesel mechanic. They are familiar with hands-on work and if they get bored with welding in a specific industry, my clients often are willing to hire them for their welding abilities and train them on the mechanical skills,” says Domine.
Is becoming a diesel mechanic worth it?
Being a diesel mechanic can be a very rewarding job. However, there are a few aspects that job seekers should be aware of.
Many employers often offer overtime, but some workers might find there’s too much to do which can be stressful. Also, being a diesel mechanic is a labor-intensive job and you’re going to get dirty.
Jobseekers should also be aware that many employers currently require workers to provide their own tools. However, Domine reports he’s starting to see more companies provide tool stipends or reimbursements as the competition for talent intensifies.
Are diesel mechanics in high demand?
Diesel mechanics are employed in various industries, but much of the demand for diesel mechanics is tied to the growth of the trucking services industry. A major reason for the increase in trucking demand for diesel mechanics is due to consumers spending more on internet retail. These trucks need to be repaired and maintained, which stabilizes the demand for diesel mechanics.
Domine highlights another reason the demand for diesel mechanics is likely to remain high.
“Many diesel mechanics are currently approaching retirement. Employers are going to need to transfer their knowledge to a less experienced workforce to ensure they have the skills needed to maintain their equipment. These companies are going to have to be open to training and looking for candidates with previous mechanical experience or interests. They’ll need to be more open to finding people who fit into their culture and are willing to learn the details of the job once hired,” says Domine.
Is being a diesel mechanic a good career for the future?
The outlook and demand for diesel mechanics is largely positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for their skills to increase by four percent through 2031.
Interested in becoming a diesel mechanic?
If you’re interested in becoming a diesel mechanic, Domine has some advice before you start your search for the right job.
“You must be willing to get in and be focused on gaining experience. You're not going to make as much as someone who's been there for 10 years. But if you're showing promise in about five years you might have the skills to become a master diesel mechanic and stand to make substantially more than when you started. And when you consider the overtime available and rising demand, the future does look bright for diesel mechanics,” says Domine.
Now that you know more about being a diesel mechanic, explore the latest opportunities on our job board.