Western Dakota Tech
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The Transportation Technology program offered at Western Dakota Tech prepares individuals for a career in the diesel service technology field with a focus on heavy duty truck service and repair.
In the classroom, students learn diesel theory, as well as the fundamentals, basic design, and function of the diesel engine system, through class lecture, group discussions, and written assignments. Each student will develop important analytical skills in mathematics and strengthen their communication skills through written assignments.
In the laboratory, students obtain instructor-guided hands-on training, as they learn how to safely and properly troubleshoot, service, and repair, diesel engines, hydraulic systems, electrical systems, diesel electronic systems, suspension systems, steering systems, heavy truck drive trains, heavy truck chassis, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Students also learn, hands-on, how to properly perform diesel engine overhauls and engine tune-ups, as they disassemble, inspect, diagnose, repair, and reassemble various diesel engines and their integrated equipment systems, using laptops equipped with diagnostic software, gauges, wiring diagrams, electronic meters, service manuals, hand tools, and power tools.
Proper techniques for preventative maintenance and inspection are also discussed and practiced. Students also have the option of participating in an internship that will help prepare them for employment before they graduate.
As they work both independently, and in teams, to complete every task assigned to them by their instructors, students learn the importance of teamwork as well as how to effectively manage their time. Each student will be expected to practice shop safety as they learn how to properly handle and dispose of hazardous materials according to OSHA guidelines. Ethics, integrity, professionalism, and a positive work attitude are also stressed throughout the Transportation Technology program at Western Dakota Tech.
The Transportation Technology Areas of Study
The curriculum of the Transportation Technology Heavy Duty Diesel program contains the following career-relevant courses:
- Vehicle Electricity & Electronics
- Vehicle Electricity & Electronics Lab
- Welding and Equipment
- Preventative Maintenance
- Under-Truck Diagnosis
- Heavy Duty Drivetrains
- Under-Truck Diagnosis Lab
- Engine Construction & Operation
- Engine Performance
- Engine Performance Lab
- Diesel Engines
- HVAC-Heavy Duty
- Internship (optional)
Students are also required to take Microcomputer Software Applications I, Introduction to Sociology, Technical Writing I, Technical Communications, Human Relations in the Workplace in order to fulfill the 72 credit requirements of the Associate in Applied Science Degree program. Students must finish every class and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate.
What to Expect After College
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 South Dakota was $40,740 yearly and $19.59 hourly, just 10% lower than the national average.
Graduates of the Transportation Technology program at Western Dakota Tech can be confident that they possess the education and training necessary to secure an entry-level position as a qualified diesel mechanic in the heavy-duty truck and heavy equipment service and repair industry.
The Associate in Applied Science Degree
Western Dakota Tech offers an 18-month Associate in Applied Science Degree in Transportation Technology with an emphasis in Heavy Duty Diesel. This program is Pell Grant eligible.