Diesel mechanics repair and maintain diesel engines. Diesel engines are standard for 18-wheelers, trains, buses and boats. Most construction and farm equipment also use a diesel engine. Training to become a diesel mechanic in Missouri takes anywhere from six months to two years. Students can receive a certificate through technical training schools or an associates degree through community college.
Diesel mechanics in Missouri have the option of applying for certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Applicants are required to have a minimum of two years field experience and successfully complete the ASE exam.
Diesel engines are considerably more fuel efficient then standard unleaded engines. As a result, the engines are primarily comprised of complicated electronic components that make engine service and maintenance more complex. Continued on-the-job training is necessary to keep up with the current technologies and diesel mechanics in Missouri may be required to retrofit diesel engines for compliance with state emissions standards. Computerized engine analyzers, lathes, pneumatic wrenches and welding equipment are all tools a diesel mechanic will be expected to know how to operate.
A normal work week for a diesel mechanic in Missouri is Monday through Friday. Most diesel mechanics work an average of forty hours a week. However some mechanics, especially those employed by Missouri railroads, and those who work for trucking companies and Missouri transit lines, may be required to work longer hours, nights and weekends.
A 2010 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the average annual salary for a diesel mechanic is $40,710. They also predict the demand for diesel mechanics will grow to 11% by 2016. The result is expected to create more than 32,000 new diesel mechanic jobs. The state of Missouri is currently ranked in the top 15 for states employing diesel mechanics, with an average starting salary of $38,700 a year.
Missouri experiences the four seasons. Summers are usually hot and dry, while fall brings cooler temperatures and the chance for rain. Winters are typically accompanied by heavy snow fall. Spring brings warmer temperatures and signals the start of the rainy season. Demand for diesel mechanics in Missouri usually grows during the winter months when roads need clearing, and during the spring planting season when farmers need their equipment serviced.