J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

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Diesel Mechanics  

The Diesel Mechanics curriculum at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of diesel equipment repair, while providing guided instruction in hydraulic systems, diesel engine overhaul, engine tune-up, electrical circuits, power train maintenance, fuel injection, and welding.

Through in-depth lectures and detailed study materials, students receive a basic understanding of diesel equipment technology principles, while developing important verbal and written communication skills, mathematical skills, and problem-solving skills through class participation and homework assignments. 

In the training facility, students receive practical hands-on training, as they learn how to properly inspect, diagnose, and repair, diesel engines, power trains, chassis, suspension systems, diesel truck electrical systems, hydraulic systems, pneumatic systems, diesel fuel systems, air brake systems, and mobile air conditioning systems. Students will also gain valuable on-the-job experience thanks to the college’s cooperative education program, partnering with local employers in the diesel repair industry.

By disassembling, inspecting, diagnosing, repairing, and reassembling various diesel engines and their integrated auxiliary systems, using computerized diagnostic machines, shop manuals, circuit schematics, power tools, hand tools, and precision measuring instruments, students learn the entire process of reconditioning the diesel engine. 

Students also learn about the value of teamwork and effective time management, as they work alone and in teams to complete each and every task assigned to them by their instructors with proficiency and speed. Shop safety, ethics, and professionalism are also stressed throughout the program. 

The Diesel Mechanics Course Outline

The Diesel Mechanics program is made up of the following career-relevant courses:

  • Diesel Power Trains, Chassis and Suspension
  • Fundamentals of Welding
  • Diesel Truck Electrical Systems
  • Mobile Hydraulics and Pneumatics
  • Transportation Air Conditioning
  • Diesel Engine Reconditioning
  • Diesel Fuel Systems and Tune-up
  • Air Brake Systems

Students are also required to take College Success Skills, College Composition I or Communication Processes, Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts, and one Cooperative Education or Approved Elective in order to fulfill the graduation requirements of the Undergraduate Certificate program. To be eligible to graduate, students must finish each class and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade.

Occupational Outlook 

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 Virginia was $43,200 yearly and $20.77 hourly, just 4% lower than the national average (BLS 2017, [https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/diesel-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm]).

Thanks to an ever increasing demand for qualified diesel mechanics, graduates of the Diesel Mechanics program at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College will be well on their way to a successful and fulfilling career in the diesel equipment repair field. Graduates can expect to secure an entry-level position at diesel truck dealerships, heavy equipment dealerships, fleet shops, and independent service garages. 

The One-Year Undergraduate Certificate

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College offers a one-year Undergraduate Certificate in Diesel Mechanics. This program is Pell Grant eligible. 

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