Virginia Highlands Community College

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Diesel Mechanic  

Today’s diesel mechanics inspect, maintain, and repair the mechanical, electrical, electronic, and hydraulic components of heavy duty trucks and diesel powered equipment. The Diesel Mechanic program at Virginia Highlands Community College is designed to equip students with the technical knowledge and specialized skills necessary to properly diagnose, adjust, repair, and maintain diesel trucks and heavy equipment. 

In the classroom, students acquire academic proficiency in diesel theory and the fundamentals of the diesel engine system, while developing strong thinking, reasoning, and communication skills through in-depth lectures, class discussions, study materials, and written assignments.

In the shop, students obtain valuable hands-on experience through the inspection, testing, and repairing of diesel engines, air brake systems, diesel power trains, chassis, suspension systems, steering systems, diesel truck electrical systems, electronic systems, hydraulic systems, and transportation air conditioning systems found on today’s diesel trucks and heavy machinery. Students will also gain hands-on experience performing preventive maintenance inspections.

Through the disassembling, inspecting, diagnosing, repairing, and reassembling of various diesel engines and their integrated auxiliary systems, using computerized diagnostic machinery, precision measuring tools, hand tools, power tools, and machine tools, as well as service manuals and wiring diagrams, students will learn hands-on how to perform engine rebuilds and tune-ups..

Students will also be expected to utilize teamwork, shop safety, and effective time management, as they complete each task assigned to by their instructors with speed and proficiency, developing strong analytical and technical skills while strengthening their mechanical aptitude. Work ethics, professionalism, and maintaining a positive workplace attitude will also be stressed throughout the Diesel Mechanic program at Virginia Highlands Community College. 

The Diesel Mechanic Course Outline

The Diesel Mechanic program is made up of the following classes:

  • Introduction to Diesel Engine
  • Diesel Engines I
  • Diesel Engines II
  • Diesel Truck Electrical Systems
  • Diesel Power Trains, Chassis, and Suspension
  • Air Brake Systems
  • Transportation Air Conditioning

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

Career Outlook 

Students who successfully complete the Diesel Mechanic program at Virginia Highlands 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 Virginia was $43,200 yearly and $20.77 hourly, just 4% lower than the national average.

The Undergraduate Certificate

Virginia Highlands Community College offers a 9-month Diesel Mechanic Undergraduate Certificate. This program is Pell Grant eligible. 

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