Lower Columbia College

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Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology  

The Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology program at Lower Columbia College is designed to prepare individuals for careers in industries that use heavy-duty trucks, earth-movers, bulldozers, and other heavy machinery that utilizes the diesel engine and hydraulic systems.

Students will learn diesel theory in the classroom, while they gain valuable hands-on technical experience inspecting, testing, and servicing diesel engines, air brake systems, hydraulic brake systems, hydraulic systems, electrical systems, diesel electronic systems, heavy duty power trains, heavy duty chassis, and vehicle climate control systems. Students will also learn the essentials of mechanics and advanced shop practices.

Using shop manuals, hand tools, computerized diagnostic machines, wiring diagrams, and specialized instruments, students will disassemble, diagnose, repair, and reassemble diesel engines and their integrated system components. 

Students will also develop important interpersonal communication and teamwork skills, as well as analytical, technical, and mechanical skills with every task they are assigned to complete, both independently, and in groups. Integrity, shop safety, effective time management skills, and workplace professionalism are also stressed.

The Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology A.A.S. Degree

The Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology A.A.S. Degree program contains the following career-focused courses:

  • Essentials of Mechanics
  • Electrical Systems I
  • Electrical Systems II
  • Vehicle Climate Control
  • Hydraulic Brakes
  • Air Brake Systems
  • Heavy Duty Chassis Maintenance
  • Hydraulics I
  • Hydraulics II
  • Diesel Engine Rebuild
  • Heavy Duty Engine Performance
  • Heavy Duty Power Trains
  • Advanced Shop Practices

Students must also take Communications, Health, Quantitative Skills, Human Relations/Social Science, Natural Sciences, and Diversity in order to meet the minimum 120 credit hour requirements of the Associate of Applied Science Degree program. To be eligible to graduate, all students are required to successfully complete each course and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade.

The Heavy Equipment Preventative Maintenance Certificate of Proficiency

The Heavy Equipment Preventative Maintenance Certificate of Proficiency program is comprised of 45 credits worth of any of the following classes:

  • Essentials of Mechanics
  • Electrical Systems I
  • Electrical Systems II
  • Vehicle Climate Control
  • Hydraulic Brakes
  • Air Brake Systems
  • Heavy Duty Chassis Maintenance
  • Hydraulics I
  • Hydraulics II
  • Diesel Engine Rebuild
  • Heavy Duty Engine Performance
  • Heavy Duty Power Trains
  • Advanced Shop Practices

Students are required to take Industrial Communications, Health, Quantitative Skills, and Human Relations/Social Science in order to meet the 60 credit requirements of the Certificate of Proficiency program. In order to graduate, students must finish each class and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0, the equivalent of a “C” grade.

Diesel Mechanic Jobs 

Students who successfully complete the Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology program at Lower Columbia College can be confident that they possess the comprehensive education and specialized skill set necessary to secure an entry-level position as a qualified diesel mechanic in the medium and heavy-duty truck and heavy machinery service and repair industry. Occupational opportunities include, but are not limited to, working at truck and heavy equipment dealers, railroads, marine operations that use tugboats and fishing boats. Some individuals may choose to pursue work in industrial maintenance, auto, and recreational vehicle repair.

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 Washington was $53,570 yearly and $25.75 hourly, 19% higher than the national average.

The Associate of Applied Science Degree and Certificate of Proficiency

Lower Columbia College offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology. Lower Columbia College also offers a 44-week Certificate of Proficiency in Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology with a specialization in Heavy Equipment Preventative Maintenance. Both programs are Pell Grant eligible. 

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