Madison Area Technical College

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Diesel Equipment Technology  

The curriculum of the Diesel Equipment Technology Associate Degree program at Madison Area Technical College is designed to meet the needs of today’s rapidly changing diesel industry. New advances in diesel technology, including electronically controlled systems, computers, and on-board diagnostics, has created a need for skilled diesel technicians that have acquired hands-on training in the most updated technologies and current industry techniques.

Students can rest assured knowing they are receiving the best diesel training money can buy since the Diesel Equipment Technology program at Madison Area Technical College is not only master certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) as a medium/heavy truck program, the college itself is certified as a “TECH SMART” school by the Association of Diesel Specialists (ADS). The Association of Diesel Specialists also provides student scholarships and program support.

The Classroom

In the classroom, students receive in-depth lectures on diesel theory and learn the fundamentals of the diesel engine system, including heavy duty truck systems, medium/heavy duty truck engines, and computerized management systems. Through class discussions, detailed textbooks, and written assignments, students strengthen their mathematical computation and English comprehension, while developing critical thinking and reasoning skills. Areas of study include U.S. Standard and Metric measuring systems, gear ratios, diesel shop management, communicating with the customer, and more.

The Diesel Equipment Technology Associate Degree*

The Diesel Equipment Technology Associate Degree program is made up of the following career-specific classes:

  • Preventive Maintenance Inspections
  • Fundamental Diesel Electrical/Electronics Systems
  • Electrical/Electronics Systems Diagnostics
  • Metal Repair Techniques
  • Mobile Hydraulics
  • Heavy Duty Drivetrains
  • Brake and Suspension Systems
  • Diesel Equipment Lab Experience 1
  • Occupational Experience (432 hrs.)
  • Cab Climate Control/Refrigeration Systems
  • Diesel Engine Technology
  • Diesel Engine Repair
  • Technical Reporting
  • Diesel Fuel Systems
  • Diesel Engine Diagnostics
  • Diesel Shop Management
  • Diagnostic Strategies
  • Electronic Control Systems

Students are also required to take College Student Success, College Math, Written Communication, Contemporary American Society, Technical Reporting, Survey of Physics, Economics, and Psychology of Human Relations in order to fulfill the 70 credit hour requirements of the Associate of Applied Science Degree program. Certain Associate Degree or higher post-secondary courses specific to the curriculum may substitute for courses upon approval of the program director and Center dean. Students are placed in English or mathematics courses based on their scores on the COMPASS or ASSET test or on completion of the appropriate prerequisites. Students must finish every class and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade, to be eligible to graduate.

The Diesel Equipment and Heavy Equipment Technician Technical Diploma*

The Diesel Equipment and Heavy Equipment Technician Technical Diploma program is made up of the following career-relevant courses:

  • Introduction to Diesel Technology
  • Heavy Duty Drivetrains
  • Brake and Suspension Systems
  • Metal Repair Techniques
  • Customer Relations
  • Preventive Maintenance Inspections
  • Fundamental Diesel Electrical/Electronics Systems
  • Electrical/Electronics Systems Diagnostics
  • Diesel Shop Management
  • Diesel Fuel Systems
  • Diesel Engine Diagnostics
  • Diagnostic Strategies
  • Electronic Control Systems
  • Mobile Hydraulics
  • Cab Climate Control/Refrigeration Systems
  • Diesel Engine Technology
  • Diesel Engine Repair

Students are also required to take College Student Success, Vocational Math 1, Excel-Beginning, Word-Beginning, and Science 1 in order to fulfill the 54 credit hour requirements of the Technical Diploma program. Certain Associate Degree or higher post-secondary courses specific to the curriculum may substitute for courses upon approval of the program director and Center dean. Students are placed in English or mathematics courses based on their scores on the COMPASS or ASSET test or on completion of the appropriate prerequisites. Students are required to complete each class and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate.

The Training Facility

Inside the job-simulated training facility, students learn industry standard techniques certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the Association of Diesel Specialists (ADS). Students observe live demonstrations before obtaining instructor guided hands-on training, as they learn how to inspect, troubleshoot, and repair diesel engines, brake systems, suspension systems, electrical systems, electronic control systems, mobile hydraulic systems, fuel systems, heavy duty drivetrains, drivelines, transmissions, wheel alignment systems, refrigeration systems, and cab climate control systems.

Students also acquire valuable hands-on experience in metal repair techniques as well as proper preventive maintenance inspection procedures.  Using shop manuals, sophisticated diagnostic equipment, gauges, wiring diagrams, pneumatic wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, and other hand tools, students disassemble, inspect, diagnose, repair, and reassemble various diesel engines and their integrated system components, gaining practical hands-on experience in diesel engine rebuild and tune-up.

Each student will strengthen their mechanical aptitude while developing important analytical, technical, and problem solving skills, as they learn how to work both independently and as a team. 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 Equipment Technology program at Madison Area Technical College. Thanks to Top Tech, an ongoing partnership between Madison Area Technical College and local industry employers, companies are able to sponsor students as paid interns, giving students the opportunity to acquire valuable real-world job experience before they graduate from college.

Potential Careers

Graduates of the Diesel Equipment Technology program at Madison Area Technical College can be confident that they have the knowledge and skills needed to secure an entry-level position as a diesel equipment technician, electronic systems diagnostic specialist, engineering assistant, field service representative, assistant service manager, or fleet maintenance manager.

Occupational opportunities include working at bus companies, commercial trucking companies, construction companies, logging companies, mining companies, oil and natural gas extraction companies, farms, ranches, shipyards, train yards, and independent repair shops, to name a few.

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 Wisconsin was $42,710 yearly and $20.54 hourly, just 5% lower than the national average.

The Associate of Applied Science Degree and Technical Diploma

Madison Area Technical College offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in Diesel Equipment Technology. Madison Area Technical College also offers an 84-week Technical Diploma in Diesel Equipment Technology with a Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technician concentration. Both programs are Pell Grant eligible. *Program is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).

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