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The Diesel Technology program at Helena College is designed to prepare students to become entry-level technicians in various sectors of the diesel repair industry, including the agricultural equipment, industrial equipment, and heavy-duty diesel truck repair industries.
Through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience, students are provided with comprehensive training as they inspect, repair, and maintain diesel engines, fuel injection systems, manual and hydraulic drive trains, air systems, mobile hydraulic systems, brake systems, alignment and undercarriages, HVAC, transport refrigeration systems, electrical systems, and diesel electronic systems using a variety of hand tools, shop manuals, digital diagnostic equipment, and specialized instruments.
Students also learn welding fundamentals for diesel mechanics as well as proper shop safety protocol. Working both independently and in groups, students develop strong communication, leadership, and analytical skills that are vital to succeed in today’s rapidly changing diesel industry.
The Diesel Technology Curriculum
The Diesel Technology program at Helena College is made up of the following classes:
- Shop Safety
- Diesel Electrical and Electronics l
- Diesel Electrical and Electronics ll
- Welding Fundamentals for Auto Tech/Diesel
- Diesel Engine Repair
- Manual Drive Trains
- Hydraulic Drive Trains
- Diesel Engine Performance
- Diesel Maintenance Practices
- Brakes and Undercarriage
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Applied Lab Experience
Students will also be required to take Technical Mathematics, Introduction to Technical Writing, and Human Relations to fulfill the minimum 72 credit requirements of the Associate of Applied Science Degree program.
Each student is required to prove his or her skill level in Math, Reading, and Writing through the following placement:
- READ070 or higher
- WRIT121 or higher
- M111T or higher
In order to graduate, students must complete each class and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade.
Diesel Mechanic Jobs
Students who successfully complete the Diesel Technology program at Helena College will be equipped with the skills, education, and training needed to gain entry-level employment in the diesel technology field. Prospective employers include agriculture and truck dealerships, truck fleets, independent truck repair shops, heavy-duty construction companies, oil exploration companies, farms, ranches, mining companies, and logging companies.
As the diesel industry continues to grow rapidly, job opportunities for qualified diesel mechanics is expected to increase 11% by the year 2020, as fast as average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual wage for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists working in the United States in 2014 was $45,160, while the mean salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists employed in the state of Montana was $38,770 yearly and $18.64 hourly, 14% lower than the national average.
The Two-Year Associate of Applied Science Degree
Helena College offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in Diesel Technology. This program is Pell Grant eligible.