Wilkes Community College

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Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology  

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology program at Wilkes Community College provides students with the education and training needed to service, troubleshoot, and repair medium and heavy duty vehicles and related equipment.

Through classroom lectures and assignments, students learn about the purpose, design features, and principles of operation of medium and heavy duty vehicles and equipment and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.

In the laboratory, students observe instructor-led demonstrations and receive hands-on training on how to properly inspect equipment, diagnose and repair problems, and perform proper preventive maintenance on diesel engines, electronic engines, diesel equipment, diesel electronic systems, electrical systems, power trains, medium and heavy duty brake systems, air brake systems, suspension and steering systems, and transportation climate control systems. Students also learn PC skills for documenting service records and recording data as well as basic welding for diesel mechanics. 

By disassembling, inspecting, diagnosing, repairing, and reassembling various diesel engines and their integrated system components, with sophisticated computerized diagnostic machines, wiring diagrams, technical manuals, and hand tools, students acquire the technical knowledge and specialized skills needed to succeed in the diesel and heavy equipment repair field. 

Each student will also learn about the value of teamwork and effective time management while developing strong communication skills, as they work alone and in groups to complete the assignments given to them by their instructors proficiently and accurately. Adherence to OSHA standards, shop safety, ethics, and professionalism are also stressed throughout the program.

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology A.A.S. Degree

The curriculum of the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology A.A.S. Degree program contains the following courses:

  • Diesel Engines
  • Intro to Transport Technology
  • Basic Transport Electricity
  • PC Skills for Transportation
  • Basic Welding for Transportation
  • Diesel Electronics Systems
  • Power Trains
  • Intro to Sustainable Transportation
  • Transportation Climate Control
  • Transportation Climate Control Lab
  • Electronic Engines
  • Medium/Heavy Duty Brake Systems
  • Suspension and Steering
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Preventive Maintenance Lab
  • Medium/Heavy Duty Tune-up
  • Air Brakes
  • Advanced Equipment Repair

In order to fulfill the 70 credit hour requirements of the Associate of Applied Science Degree program, students are also required to take Success and Study Skills, either Freshman Composition or Writing and Inquiry, either Mathematical Measurement or Algebra/Trigonometry I or Quantitative Literacy, either Professional Research & Report Writing or Technical Report Writing, either Survey of Economics or Interpersonal Psychology or Introduction to Sociology, and either Technology & Society or Critical Thinking. Students must successfully complete each class and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate.

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Diploma

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Diploma program is comprised of the following classes:

  • Success and Study Skills
  • Diesel Electronics Systems
  • Diesel Engines
  • Power Trains
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Intro to Transport Technology
  • Basic Transport Electricity
  • Intro to Sustainable Transportation
  • Transportation Climate Control
  • Transportation Climate Control Lab
  • PC Skills for Transportation
  • Basic Welding for Transportation

Students must also take Success and Study Skills, either Freshman Composition or Writing and Inquiry, and either Mathematical Measurement or Algebra/Trigonometry I or Quantitative Literacy in order to fulfill the 43 credit requirements of the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Diploma program. In order to graduate, students are required to complete every class and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade.

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Engine Systems Certificate

The Engine Systems Certificate program is made up of the following courses:

  • Diesel Engines
  • Intro to Transport Tech
  • Basic Transport Electricity

Students must finish each course and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate.

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Vehicle Maintenance Certificate

The curriculum of the Vehicle Maintenance Certificate program contains the following classes:

  • Power Trains
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Preventive Maintenance Lab
  • Medium/Heavy Duty Tune-up
  • Air Brakes

In order to graduate, students must finish each class and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0, the equivalent of a “C” grade.

What to Expect After College 

Students who successfully complete the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology program at Wilkes Community College will be equipped with the skills, education, and training needed to gain employment as a qualified diesel mechanic in the diesel truck and heavy equipment repair industry. Graduates can expect to secure an entry-level position at diesel truck dealerships, heavy equipment dealerships, fleet shops, and independent service garages. 

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 North Carolina was $42,510 yearly and $20.44 hourly, just 5% lower than the national average.

The Associate of Applied Science Degree, Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Diploma, and Undergraduate Certificate

Wilkes Community College offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology as well as a one-year Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Diploma. Wilkes Community College also offers two 4-month Undergraduate Certificates in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology with an emphasis in Engine Systems and Vehicle Maintenance. The two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree program and the one-year Engine Systems Diploma program are both Pell Grant eligible. 

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