Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School

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Diesel Technology  

The Diesel Technology program at the Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School is designed to assist each student in developing safe and effective work habits, positive work ethics, and basic technical and mechanical skills that will enable them to achieve a successful career in the mechanical trades. Students receive training in all areas of diesel engine construction, operation, troubleshooting, and repair, as well as the service and repair of over-the-road trucks, trailers, transportation equipment, and heavy machinery used in the trucking, construction, and agricultural industries.

In the classroom, students develop skills in reading, written communication, computation, and critical thinking. Through in-depth lectures, class participation, and written assignment, students gain a basic understanding of diesel theory, as well as the construction, function, and the principles of operation of the diesel engine system. Diesel engine sub-systems are also covered in the classroom, including electrical systems, turbo chargers, engine speed governors, and lubrication systems, and more. Technical subjects, such as gear ratios, cubic inch displacement, electrical circuitry, alignment angles, and the U.S. standard and metric measuring systems, are just a small part of the curriculum of the Diesel Technology program at the Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School.

In the shop, students acquire valuable job-relevant experience, learning hands-on, how to properly diagnose, repair, and maintain heavy duty diesel trucks and diesel-powered equipment. Students develop analytical, technical, and mechanical skills as they are carefully guided by their instructors, training in all areas of the diesel engine system, including diesel engines, diesel electrical systems, diesel electronic systems, transmissions, drivelines, rear axles, clutches, fuel delivery systems, batteries, starters, alternators, hydraulic systems, steering systems, suspension systems, alignment systems, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Oxyacetylene, AC/DC and MIG welding operations are also taught. Students who qualify will also be eligible to take the Pennsylvania Vehicle State Safety Inspection Program for mechanics and EPA. Type 609 air conditioning certification is offered as well.

By disassembling, inspecting, diagnosing, repairing, and reassembling various diesel engines and their intricate system components, using advanced diagnostic equipment, service manuals, wiring schematics, electronic test meters, precision measuring tools, power tools, and hand tools, students gain a basic hands-on understanding of diesel engine and heavy equipment service and repair procedures, and acquire an attention for detail. Working both independently, and in teams, students learn the importance of interpersonal communication and effective time management, completing each assignment given to them by their instructors with accuracy and speed.

Required Skills and Attributes

Individuals who are interested in enrolling in the Diesel Technology program should possess the following skills and attributes:

  • Accurate math calculation skills with fractions, decimals, percents and metrics.
  • Reading comprehension at 10th grade or higher.
  • Good eye to hand coordination.
  • Good physical stamina and coordination.
  • Good manipulative skills.
  • The ability to follow directions carefully and maintain precise accuracy standards.
  • The ability to work both indoors and outdoors and in small tight spaces.

Students will be required to complete each class and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate from the program.

What to Expect After Graduation

Students who successfully complete the Diesel Technology program at the Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School will be equipped with the technical skills, comprehensive education, and specialized training needed to qualify as entry-level industrial machinery mechanics, industrial truck and tractor mechanics, transportation vehicle, equipment, and system inspectors, heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers.

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 Pennsylvania was $42,770 yearly and $20.56 hourly, just 6% lower than the national average.

The Certificate of Vocational Studies

The Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School offers a two-year Certificate of Vocational Studies in Diesel Technology. This program is available to high school students only. 

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