Utah State University

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Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics program at Utah State University is designed to prepare students for a career as a diesel and heavy equipment mechanic servicing and repairing both on-highway and off-highway trucks and heavy equipment.

Through lectures and study materials, students are taught such topics as diesel theory and the operation of the sub-systems used in diesel powered trucks and heavy equipment. Students develop critical thinking and reasoning skills, as well as proficient academic comprehension in prose, mathematics, and communications, through written assignments and class projects.

Inside the state-of-the-art training facility is where students get their hands dirty, acquiring valuable hands-on experience as they learn how to inspect, troubleshoot, and repair diesel engines, brakes, hydraulic systems, power trains, chassis, steering systems, suspension systems, mobile electrical systems, mobile electronic systems, and mobile air conditioning systems. Students will also gain hands-on experience in basic shielded metal arc welding, engine machining, and diesel engine overhaul.

By disassembling, inspecting, diagnosing, repairing, and reassembling the diesel engine and its intricate auxiliary systems, using up-to-date digital diagnostic equipment, precision measuring instruments, voltage test meters, wiring diagrams, service manuals, pneumatic wrenches, pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers, students acquire first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience in diesel engine overhaul.

Students will also learn the importance of time management and teamwork, as they work together to successfully complete each and every task assigned to them by their instructors in an efficient, accurate, and timely manner. Each student will learn the importance of shop safety and using the proper procedures for handling and disposing of hazardous waste according to OSHA protocol. Ethics, integrity, and workplace professionalism will also be stressed throughout the two-year program.

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics Course Outline

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics program consists of the following career-relevant courses:

  • Introduction to Transportation Technology I
  • Diesel Engine Overhaul Theory
  • Diesel Engine Overhaul Lab
  • Fluid Power Theory
  • Fluid Power Lab
  • Mobile Electrical and Electronics Theory
  • Mobile Electrical and Electronics Lab
  • Advanced Diesel Engine Theory
  • Advanced Diesel Engine Lab
  • Heavy Duty Chassis and Power Train Theory
  • Heavy Duty Chassis and Power Train Lab
  • Mobile Air Conditioning Theory
  • Mobile Air Conditioning Lab
  • Engine Machining Theory
  • Engine Machining Lab
  • Beginning Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Students are also required to take Introduction to Writing: Academic Prose, Trade Mathematics, and one of the following courses: Office procedures and Human Relations, Small Business Management, Organizational Behavior, Parenting and Child Guidance, Interpersonal Communication, or Small Group Communication, as well as six credit hours outside the major, in order to meet the minimum 70 credit hour requirements of the Associate of Applied Science Degree program. Students are required to finish each course and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate.

Employment Opportunities

Students who successfully complete the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics program at Utah State University will be well-equipped and highly qualified to secure entry-level employment as a diesel engine mechanic, engine machinist, on-highway tractor trailer technician, heavy equipment technician, automatic transmission technician, drive train technician, alignment, steering, and suspension technician, electrical systems technician, or as a sales and service representative, parts specialist, or diesel service and repair instructor. Some graduates may even become self-employed or start their own service and repair business.

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 Utah was $44,100 yearly and $21.20 hourly, just 2% lower than the national average. Utah wages for diesel mechanics range from $13.85 per hour to $30.96 per hour, with $21.20 per hour being the median wage.

The Two-Year Associate of Applied Science Degree

Utah State University offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Mechanics. This program is Pell Grant eligible. 

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