Skagit Valley College

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Diesel Power Technology  

The Diesel Power Technology program at Skagit Valley College provides students with classroom instruction and real-world experience servicing, maintaining, and repairing today’s diesel powered trucks and heavy equipment. Students develop job critical computer skills, mechanical skills, and technical skills throughout the program.

In the classroom, students receive in-depth lectures on diesel electrical theory and learn the basics of the diesel engine system, including the design, function, and principles of operation of the modern diesel engine. Students develop career-relevant computer skills, while they strengthen their comprehension in mathematics, technical writing, and diesel power terminology through written assignments and academic research. Lectures and class discussions include topics such as gear ratios, the U.S. Standard and Metric measuring systems, how to effectively manage a repair shop, communicating with the customer, and more.

In the laboratory, students gain practical hands-on training, carefully guided by their instructors, as they learn how to troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair all parts of the diesel engine system. Students also acquire valuable hands-on experience in oxy-fuel processes and shielded metal arc welding for mechanics. Using shop manuals, hand tools, impact wrenches, electronic diagnostic equipment, gauges, volt meters, and circuit diagrams, students disassemble, inspect, diagnose, repair, and reassemble diesel engines and their integrated system components.

Each student will strengthen their mechanical aptitude and develop important analytical, technical, and problem solving skills. Students will also be expected to practice shop safety and effective time management as they complete each task assigned to them by their instructors with proficiency and speed. Work ethics, professionalism, and maintaining a positive workplace attitude will also be stressed throughout the Diesel Power Technology program at the Skagit Valley College.

The Diesel Power Technology A.A.S. Degree

The Diesel Power Technology A.A.S. Degree program consists of the following career-specific courses:

  • Diesel Electrical Theory
  • Diesel Drivetrains I
  • Diesel Drivetrains II
  • Diesel Drivetrains III
  • Diesel Cooperative Education
  • Diesel Applied Electrical
  • Diesel Engines I
  • Diesel Engines II
  • Diesel Engines III
  • Oxy-Fuel Processes for Mechanics
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding for Mechanics

Students are also required to take College Success Skills I, Employer/Employee Roles & Perspectives, Professional Technical Applied Math, Learn Comm/Gen Ed, Professional Communication (D), Professional and Technical Communication, First Aid/Safety/CPR, and Job Search in order to fulfill the 109 credit requirements of the Associate in Technical Arts 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.

The Diesel Power Technology Certificate

The Diesel Power Technology Certificate program is comprised of the following industry-relevant classes:

  • Diesel Electrical Theory
  • Diesel Drivetrains I
  • Diesel Drivetrains II
  • Diesel Drivetrains III
  • Diesel Cooperative Education
  • Diesel Applied Electrical
  • Diesel Engines I
  • Diesel Engines II
  • Diesel Engines III

Students must also take Professional and Technical Communication and First Aid/Safety/CPR in order to meet the 86 credit hour requirements of the Associate in Technical Arts Degree program. Students are required to complete each class and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate.

Job Opportunities 

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.

Graduates of the Diesel Power Technology program at Skagit Valley College can be confident that they possess the academic education and hands-on training needed to secure an entry-level job as a qualified diesel mechanic in the medium and heavy-duty truck and heavy equipment service and repair industry. Employment opportunities include working for commercial trucking companies, construction companies, farms, ranches, agricultural equipment dealerships, logging companies, mining companies, oil and natural gas extraction companies, railroads, marine transportation companies, and independent service garages.

The Associate in Technical Arts Degree and Undergraduate Certificate

Skagit Valley College offers a two-year Associate in Technical Arts Degree in Diesel Power Technology. Skagit Valley College also offers a 68-week Undergraduate Certificate in Diesel Power Technology. Both programs are Pell Grant eligible. 

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