Curricula for automotive and diesel repair programs are designed to help meet the constant demand for technicians to service, repair, and overhaul a wide variety of automotive, construction, industrial, farm, transportation, and trucking industry vehicles. If you’re considering such a program, you may be wondering what exactly it will teach you.
Below are some common requirements that are likely to appear in most automotive and diesel repair programs.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that automotive and diesel repair technician jobs will grow six to nine percent between now and 2026. According to 2018 data, the median income for an automotive service technician is $19.57 an hour, while a diesel technician earns slightly more at $22.76 an hour.
A large part of the training for these jobs comes on-the-job. However, there are more high quality post-secondary automotive and diesel repair programs becoming available. Qualified and certified automotive and diesel repair technicians have been in high demand for a long time, and that’s still true today. It is a stable profession with excellent pay and a good future outlook.
In days past, most “mechanics” were taught their trade on-the-job by someone who learned it the same way. That may work for learning just the basic skills for automobile and diesel engine repair, but with the advent of advanced technology being integrated into today’s vehicles, technicians must also become proficient in automotive electronics and computerization.
A person can be hired right out of high school and begin the on-the-job training process, or they can attend a college, trade, or vocational school and receive formal training and certification. Those with certifications will almost always be first in line for the better-paying jobs.
What does the program teach?
A trade school or institution that offers training for automotive and diesel repair technicians will usually base their program around the ASE Automotive Certification requirements. Graduates are taught how to test, diagnose, and repair the performance of brakes, steering, suspension, electrical and electronic systems, and light and heavy-duty chassis. There will also be training for preventive maintenance and high-performance engines.
There are five categories of ASE Automotive Certification and seven areas of Medium and Heavy Truck Certifications for diesel applications. Areas of training include brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, steering, and suspension. Special training is also required for diesel engines (specifically and preventive maintenance).
For automotive certification, students learn the following:
- Engine performance and diagnostics, inspection, and repair and interpreting factory service information
- Electrical system repair
- Maintenance, testing, and repair of HVAC systems and subsystems
- Diagnosis and repair of today’s modern automobiles
- Repair of the automatic transmission, power steering, and suspension
- Repair of braking systems
- Ignition system repair
For heavy-duty diesel certification, students learn all of the above, plus the following:
- Repair of advanced hydraulics
- Diagnosis and repair of today’s modern heavy-duty trucks and buses
- Heavy-duty diesel emissions technology
- Drive train repair
- Heavy-duty diesel preventive maintenance and inspection
For light-duty diesel certification, students are taught all of the requirements for automotive and heavy-duty diesel repair and maintenance. They also learn how to diagnose and repair high-pressure diesel fuel systems and EPA mandated emissions systems.
Most institutions which offer automotive and diesel repair certifications also offer collision repair training, which has four main areas required for ASE Automotive Certification. They are electrical and mechanical repair, non-structural analysis and repair, painting and refinishing, and structural analysis and repair.
This training prepares students to successfully pass the ASE automotive and diesel engine repair test. It also prepares them to meet the requirements of the fast-changing automotive and heavy-duty truck and diesel repair service job market. Some work experience is also required to become ASE certified.
Graduates are positioned to enter an excellent, stable, and well-paying job. They can expect to find jobs in places such as auto dealerships, auto parts dealers, specialty repair shops, public transportation departments, service stations, truck stops, semi-truck dealers, and agriculture equipment dealers.