Diesel Mechanic Schools in Virginia
Diesel service mechanics are skilled automotive technicians trained to specialize in the maintenance, repair and servicing of engines that run on diesel fuel. They often work as part of a team in an auto repair shop environment, although some may work out of a private garage alone or travel to work sites and roadsides where buses, trucks or other diesel vehicles might be in need of their services. Common duties of a diesel mechanic include the following:
- Perform inspections according to a set of standard procedures
- Diagnose vehicle malfunctions, either by test-driving or by interpreting the results produced by computerized analysis equipment
- Dismantle, repair or replace and reassemble parts, systems and equipment in diesel vehicles
- Change oil
- Lubricate vital engine parts
- Align wheels
- Upgrade, adjust, calibrate or fine-tune vehicle systems
Some diesel service mechanics might be hired with little to no professional experience and trained on the job, but employers increasingly prefer applicants who have earned a high school diploma and completed some formal training at a diesel mechanic school. Fortunately, there are several diesel mechanic schools in Virginia that are effectively equipped to teach the knowledge and skills that mechanics use in the workplace.
Programs at diesel mechanic schools in Virginia can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete, and they usually consist of hands-on training supplemented by classroom instruction. Many diesel mechanic training programs are offered through community or junior colleges. Here is a list of example schools in the area with diesel programs that issue either a certificate of completion or an associate degree upon graduation:
- Northern Virginia Community College
- J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
- Southwest Virginia Community College
- Virginia Highlands Community College
- Advanced Technology Institute
- Tidewater Community College
- Southside Virginia Community College
Some diesel mechanic schools in Virginia have multiple campuses around the state. Programs differ in length and intensity, and enrollment requirements may vary from institution to institution. Prospective students should always check with an advisor or registrar before making plans to attend a particular program.
The general freight trucking field employs a larger percentage of working diesel mechanics than any other industry. Other industries high on the list include local governments, automotive repair and maintenance garages, specialized trucking and motor vehicle and auto parts wholesalers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of diesel mechanics and service technicians employed in 2010 worked for private companies, although about 18 percent belonged to a union and 11 percent worked for government. Helpful job skills for Virginia diesel mechanics include troubleshooting, listening skills, steady hands, upper body strength and familiarity with mechanical and electrical systems.
After some years on the job, diesel mechanics and technicians can earn a number of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications. These are optional yet valuable credentials which help demonstrate a mechanic's experience and skill to potential employers. Of the more than 40 exams on the ASE rolls, diesel mechanics can attempt a one-test Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification or become an ASE-Certified Master Technician by taking a full battery of tests in categories like these:
- Medium-Heavy Truck Certification
- School Bus Certification
- Transit Bus Certification
Mechanics and technicians who opt to earn ASE certifications must submit a work experience form before testing and must retest every five years in order to retain their credentials. Tests in the categories listed above consist of 40 to 55 questions each.
Diesel Powered Equipment • http://www.sw.edu/ • http://www.sw.edu/catalogs/certificates/minemachdiesel.htm • Southwest Virginia Community College
Diesel Mechanics Technology Career Studies Certificate • http://www.nvcc.edu/ • http://www.nvcc.edu/academics/programs/cat2012/programdetail.aspx?prog_id=600&subprog_id=6&level=2 • Northern Virginia Community College
Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics • Mar 01, 2012 • http://www.bls.gov/ • http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/diesel-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm#tab-4 • Bureau of Labor Statistics
Diesel Mechanics Technology • http://www.jsr.vccs.edu/ • http://www.jsr.vccs.edu/curriculum/programs/Diesel_Mechanics_TechnologyC.html • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Engineering and Industrial Technology, Diesel • http://www.tcc.edu/ • http://www.tcc.edu/academics/programs/ot/eit/Diesel.htm • Tidewater Community College
Diesel Technician Training • http://www.southside.edu/ • http://www.southside.edu/academics/programs/diesel/ • Southside Virginia Community College