Western Technical College

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Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician  

The curriculum of the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program at Western Technical College covers the service and repair of heavy-duty trucks, buses, marine vessels, diesel locomotives, bulldozers, earth movers, cranes, farm tractors, combines, and stationary diesel engines such as the ones used in generators, compressors, and pumps.

Students receive in-depth lectures in the classroom on topics such as diesel theory and the basics of the diesel engine system, including the design, function, and principles of operation of the modern diesel engine. Students also develop career-relevant computer skills, while they advance their mathematical computation, English comprehension, and diesel trade terminology through written assignments and academic research. Textbooks and class discussions cover topics such as the U.S. Standard and Metric measuring systems, gear ratios, shop management, customer service, alternative fuels, and more.

Inside the state-of-the-art training facility is where students acquire valuable hands-on training, watching live demonstrations and receiving instructor guidance as they learn how to inspect, diagnose, and repair diesel engines, truck brake systems, diesel electrical systems, diesel electronic systems, diesel truck chassis systems, diesel truck powertrains, heavy equipment powertrains, hydraulic systems, hydrostatic systems, and diesel heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Students will also gain hands-on experience in welding, heavy equipment fabrication and proper procedures for performing diesel truck preventive maintenance, as well as heavy equipment preventive maintenance and inspection.

Students will learn on the most up-to-date computerized diagnostic equipment, as they diagnose and repair the computerized auxiliary systems found on today’s diesel engines. Service manuals, wiring schematics, precision measuring instruments, machine tools, power tools, and hand tools will all be used throughout the program as students learn how to repair and rebuild diesel engines and their integrated system components by disassembling, inspecting, testing, repairing, and reassembling various diesel engines.

Students will learn the value of teamwork and time management as they work both independently, and in groups, to successfully complete every task assigned to them by their instructors in a proficient and timely manner. Shop safety, professionalism, and ethics will also be stressed throughout the 21-month Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program at Western Technical College.

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Curriculum

The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program consists of the following career-specific classes:

  • Diesel Truck Brake Systems
  • Diesel Truck Preventive Maintenance
  • Diesel Truck Powertrains
  • Diesel Truck Chassis Systems
  • Diesel Online Service Utilization
  • Diesel Safety and Industry Practices
  • Diesel Heavy Truck and Forklift Familiarization
  • Welding-Transportation
  • Diesel Basic Engines
  • Diesel Electricity Fundamentals
  • Diesel Electricity Troubleshooting
  • Diesel Engine Rebuilding
  • Diesel Advanced Engines
  • Diesel HVAC
  • Alternative Fuels
  • Diesel Advanced Electricity
  • Welding – Heavy Equipment Fabrication
  • Diesel Heavy Equipment Powertrains
  • Diesel Hydraulic/Hydrostatic Systems
  • Diesel Heavy Equipment Inspection and Preventive Maintenance
  • Diesel Heavy Equipment Live Repair

Students must also take Applied Communication Skills and Applied Math-Transportation in order to fulfill the minimum 55 credit hour requirements of the Technical Diploma program. Students are required to complete every class and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a “C” grade, in order to graduate.

Admission Requirements

Individuals who are interested in applying for admission into the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program at Western Technical College will be required to either submit applicable post-secondary credits or pay the $20 assessment fee (fee subject to change without notice) and take the assessment exam.

In order to qualify for enrollment into the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program, an individual must meet the following minimum assessment exam scores:

Assessment Area                                  ACT          ASSET          COMPASS

English                                                     16                41                     56
Reading                                                    16                39                     75
Math/Numerical/Pre-Algebra                  18                39                     38

Any individual who has already taken the COMPASS, ASSET, or ACT assessment exams within the last five years can request that their scores be submitted to Western Technical College.

From Graduation to Occupation 

Graduates of the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program at Western Technical College will be equipped with the specialized knowledge and job-specific training needed to secure entry-level employment in the diesel and heavy equipment technician career field. Job opportunities include working as a fleet mechanic, diesel mechanic, heavy equipment technician, general repair mechanic, forklift mechanic, or heavy duty diesel service repair technician for commercial trucking companies, construction companies, farms, ranches, agricultural equipment dealerships, logging companies, mining companies, oil and natural gas extraction companies, railroads, oceanic freight companies, and independent repair shops. Some graduates may advance to managerial and supervisor positions with more work experience and/or education or even build their own business. 

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 Two-Year Technical Diploma

Western Technical College offers a 21-month Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Technical Diploma. This program is Pell Grant eligible. 

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