Diesel mechanic apprenticeships are educational and training experiences, although they can sometimes be entry-level positions. Apprenticeships allow beginning mechanics to learn from journey-level mechanics how to inspect, repair, and maintain diesel engines.
Apprenticeships mean different things to different companies. In some cases, apprentices are truly beginners. Over the course of three or four years, they train and learn new skills by assisting experienced mechanics. They start by doing simple engine repairs and helping mechanics move heavy objects. As their skills progress, they are given more difficult tasks.
Some companies hire diesel mechanic apprentices as entry-level workers. These workers usually have an associates degree in diesel mechanics, along with a year’s experience in the field. They are able to handle complicated work from the first day of hire.
Diesel mechanic apprenticeships are hard to come by. Most companies that hire apprentices go through technical schools that offer job placement services. Manufacturers and dealerships are the most likely employers to have apprenticeship programs. Local shops sometimes post job openings for helpers. Networking with other people in the field is important, as contacts can often give workers a heads-up when apprenticeship opportunities arise.
Workers who plan to maintain a diesel truck fleet will need a special driver’s license to test-drive the trucks and move them from place to place. The type of license required — CDL-A (class A) or CDL-B (class B) — depends on the type of trucks in the fleet.
Corporate Apprentice Programs
Large companies, like Union Pacific and Schneider National, offer apprenticeships that provide classroom training as well as hands-on experience. The instructors are master mechanics with the company or manufacturer.
Some diesel mechanics start their careers through a trade school and some start as a mechanics helper. Either way, a diesel mechanic apprenticeship is a good way to gain experience and learn the skills necessary for a successful career. The job requires workers to be in good physical shape, as it usually requires mechanics to crawl on or under equipment and machinery. Most companies that hire diesel mechanic apprentices require them to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma. And like most other employees, they are generally required to pass drug testing and criminal background checks.
Diesel mechanics are highly skilled laborers who typically earn good salaries and benefits. The United States Department of Labor expects job opportunities to be very good for diesel mechanics with formal training. Many states have diesel mechanic schools, both on-campus and online. A simple browser search on the Internet will produce a number of results for accredited mechanic schools in each state. Visit Mechanic Schools online for more information.