By: Harvey Davis, Director of Auto/Diesel Programs at Universal Technical Institute, Houston campus
With a growing emphasis on leading edge technology, a diesel education offers individuals seeking a rewarding career a strong and obtainable opportunity to learn the diagnostic and maintenance skills that employers demand.
Technical schools offering diesel programs provide motivated individuals a strong foundation to pursue technical opportunities in dealerships, general and specialty repair shops, trucking, marine, mining, construction, logging, farming as well as city, county, state and federal government agencies.
A diesel education is unique in that the skills acquired can be applied to trucks, tankers, heavy equipment and other diesel-powered equipment. That’s because the basic components of a diesel engine are common regardless of whether it’s a big rig driving down the road or an oil rig pumping oil at sea.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that opportunities should be very good for people who complete formal training in diesel mechanics while applicants without formal training will face competition for jobs. Students can expedite their entrance into these occupations by enrolling in two-year vocational-technical programs.
With challenges such as rising oil prices and stringent EPA standards coupled with computerized diesel maintenance diagnostics, diesel expertise is increasingly important to a wide range of employers. Finding the right diesel training program is the first step toward a career as a diesel technician.
What To Look For
Begin your search by focusing on technical schools that balance diesel hands-on training with classroom instruction. Check for curriculums that cover everything from preventive maintenance and business skills to computer controls and high-tech electronics.
It is also very important to find a technical school that maintains close relationships with major diesel manufacturers and employers. This not only strengthens the student experience and enhances the training, but also increases employment opportunities after graduation.
Most technical education programs last between six months and two years, however diesel programs are generally around 12 to 14 months.
Tuition varies by program, but fortunately there are many plans designed to provide support for technical education, including federal financial aid to students who qualify, student loans, scholarships and grants.
Many schools offer services to assist in securing housing and part-time jobs. To ensure a school is right for you, most offer campus tours and an opportunity to visit with staff and observe students in the learning environment.
No all technical schools are created equal. The U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov) maintains a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies.
Included in its list is the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an organization that assesses and accredits technical schools. For a school to receive accreditation, it must meet stringent standards and qualifications. These accredited technical schools should be the first to consider as you seek training.
With diesel technicians in high demand — both on land and sea now is a great time to get on track and set a course for diesel training.
Harvey Davis is the director of auto/diesel programs, at Universal Technical Institute’s Houston Campus. Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (NYSE: UTI), the leading provider of technical education training for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians, offers undergraduate degree, diploma and certificate programs at 10 campuses across the United States, and manufacturer-specific training programs that are sponsored by the manufacturer or dealer at dedicated training centers. Through its campus-based school system, Universal Technical Institute, Inc. offers specialized technical education programs through several well-known brands, including Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) and NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech). For more information, visit www.uti.edu.