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Diesel Technology

Job Outlook

Significant Points

  • A career as a diesel service technician or mechanic can offer relatively high wages and the challenge of skilled repair work.
  • Opportunities are expected to be very good for persons who complete formal training programs.
  • National certification is the recognized standard of achievement for diesel service technicians and mechanics.


Median hourly earnings of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, including incentive pay, were $17.20 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.73 and $21.13 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.19, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.67 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in May 2004 were as follows:

Local government, excluding schools $20.18
Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers 17.97
Automotive repair and maintenance 16.65
General freight trucking 16.33
Elementary and secondary schools 15.73

Because many experienced technicians employed by truck fleet dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Beginners usually earn from 50 to 75 percent of the rate of skilled workers and receive increases as they become more skilled.

The majority of service technicians work a standard 40-hour week, although some work longer hours, particularly if they are self-employed. A growing number of shops have expanded their hours, either to perform repairs and routine service in a more timely fashion or as a convenience to customers. Those technicians employed by truck and bus firms providing service around the clock may work evenings, nights, and weekends, usually at a higher rate of pay than those working traditional hours.

Many diesel service technicians and mechanics are members of labor unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Amalgamated Transit Union; the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the Transport Workers Union of America; the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association; and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Diesel Service Technicians and , on the Internet at

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