If you want to work in the trucking industry but don’t want to drive, a career as a diesel mechanic may be a good fit for you. The skills of a diesel mechanic are in high-demand, and the pay rivals or tops what drivers earn.
Best of all, mechanics don’t have to be on the road for weeks at a time.
If you’re considering a career in this field, you may be wondering how much you’ll earn and the job outlook in the near future.
Diesel Mechanic Jobs Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in the diesel service technicians and mechanics field will grow 9% between 2016 and 2026. That’s about as fast as average. The field is expected to have 25,800 jobs in this same period.
While advanced education isn’t required to enter this field, BLS notes that mechanics who complete postsecondary training in diesel engine repair will earn higher salaries and have more job opportunities.
Diesel mechanics should expect to continue learning throughout their career, especially as new technologies, tools, and techniques are being introduced. Continued education and training can lead to more advanced positions and higher salaries.
Some experienced mechanics may receive specialized training from vendors and manufacturers courtesy of their employers, which allows them to advance their skills without any personal investment.
Starting vs. Average Pay
In 2017, the median annual wage for diesel mechanics was $46,360, according to BLS. The median wage is the amount earned by half of the workers in the field. Half earn more, and half earn less.
The lowest 10% earned less than $30,400, while the top 10% earned more than $69,000.
Those in the lowest percentile are probably just getting started in the field.
Many diesel mechanics also earn commission in addition to their base salary, so their salaries may be significantly higher in some cases. Those who earn commission typically work for truck fleet dealers and repair shops.
But what about the average salary? Here’s what different salary sites have to say:
According to Payscale.com, the average diesel mechanic earns a yearly salary of $45,149, or $19.75 per hour.
They may also earn:
- $1,028 in bonuses, on average
- $1,030 in profit sharing, on average
- $4,913 in commissions, on average
Payscale also lists the ranges for diesel mechanic salaries, which will give you a better idea of how much you can earn if you excel in this career.
- Base Salary: $27,261-$73,740
- Bonuses: $206-$5,105
- Profit Sharing: $122-$6,183
- Commission: $103-23,270
According to Salary.com, diesel mechanics earn between $45,769 and $58,392. Average base salary, according to the website, is $53,178, and $53,580 is the average total compensation.
According to Glassdoor.com, diesel mechanics earn an average base pay of $45,060 per year. This figure is based on 1,937 reported salaries.
Additional cash compensation can bring up the mechanic’s salary by:
- $1,619 on average
- A range of $272-$11,010
Glassdoor also provides some salary information based on the company:
- S. Army: $38,000/year
- S. Marine Corps: $25,000/year
- Waste Management: $23/hour
- Ryder System: $19/hour
- Penske Truck Leasing: $24/hour
- Penske Corporation: $46,500/year
- Knight Transportation: $17/hour
- S. Navy: $40,000/year
- Union Pacific: $30/hour
- BNSF Railway: $30/hour
- Walmart: $20-$32/hour
As you can see, the reported salaries are similar at these companies.
Pay Based on Industries
Just like with any other career, some industries pay more and offer more security/benefits than others.
For diesel mechanics, working for the government offers the best opportunity for a high earning potential.
Other high-paying industries include:
- Motor parts and vehicle wholesale
- Truck transportation
- Repair and maintenance
Of course, the highest earning potential will come from opening your own shop. But this will require additional training and experience.
Regardless of which industry you work in, you can expect to work full-time. It’s not uncommon for diesel mechanics to work nights, weekends and overtime. Depending on which sector you work in, there may be periods where you have more work than you can handle and periods where work is scarce.
Working as a diesel mechanic can be a rewarding career, especially if you enjoy problem-solving. This career path offers an attractive salary and benefits as well as the opportunity to earn commission and bonuses. And while you may work many hours, you won’t have to spend extensive amounts of time out on the road.