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Comparing Careers: Diesel Truck Mechanic vs. Automotive Mechanic

Those who are passionate about the automotive industry and pursuing an automotive career can enjoy some incredible benefits. One of the advantages of a career in automotive technology and repair is the wide range of job options available. Prospective employees with the right credentials and qualifications can forge their career paths based on their skills and what they enjoy doing.

NYADI The College of Transportation Technology, based in Jamaica, NY, offers students a variety of academic programs designed to equip students with foundational knowledge and hands-on experience in several areas of automotive service. Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key differences between diesel mechanics and automotive mechanics.

The Duties of a Diesel Mechanic and Auto Mechanic

The duties of an auto mechanic and a diesel mechanic are similar. Both professions require employees to use specialized equipment to:

  • Accurately locate the source of vehicle malfunctions
  • Test critical vehicle components to ensure they function properly
  • Perform advanced care methods and services
  • Carry out other shared responsibilities

Where the professions differ is what either technician will be working on. Certified auto mechanics are typically tasked with fixing personal vehicles of all sorts, including vans, SUVs, sedans, and more. Generally, the repair services an auto mechanic provides are very straightforward but still necessitate a highly technical approach.

Certified diesel mechanics often find themselves working with heavy-duty equipment and vehicles, such as big rigs, buses, and excavating equipment. Because diesel engines are very different from standard engines found in everyday road vehicles, diesel mechanics need specialized education

Education Requirements

Because certified auto mechanics and certified diesel mechanics share many of the same duties, they possess many of the same skills. However, each profession requires specialized training and education. Given their complexity and how differently they operate compared to standard engines, mechanics who work on diesel must have specialized training to gain a thorough knowledge of how diesel engines work. An auto mechanic’s education is geared more toward standard vehicle components. Many auto mechanics even choose to specialize in a certain area, such as electrical systems or brakes, to carve a niche and mark themselves as a unique candidate.

Work Environment

The work environment for diesel and auto mechanics differs slightly because of the specifics of the professions. As they’re often required to service fleets or perform maintenance on industrial or construction equipment that operates with diesel fuel, diesel technicians may find themselves in much more extensive work environments compared to auto mechanics. For both roles, repair technicians can work at a privately owned service center or choose to work at dealerships.

Earning Potential and Demand

Both automotive mechanics and diesel mechanics are compensated handsomely for their services. However, because of the higher complexity of the profession, diesel mechanics tend to take home more money. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual salary for diesel engine specialists was $54,360 in May 2022. The median annual salary for auto mechanics was $46,970. It’s important to keep in mind that the salary for both roles often depends on various factors, including experience, credentials, the employer, and the cost of living in the area.

Another factor that dictates salary is demand. As the need for qualified and reliable vehicle mechanics continues to rise, the demand for certified automotive mechanics and certified diesel mechanics continues to trend upward as well.

Career Opportunities

The roles of auto mechanic and diesel mechanic offer individuals many of the same career opportunities. Employees in both roles can use the skills and knowledge that they acquired during training and on the job, applying them to several other roles within the automotive field. The career path of an automotive technician and a diesel technician is up to them to create.

Begin Your Journey at NYADI

People who wish to break into the automotive industry as either an auto mechanic or a diesel mechanic can receive the necessary training and education at NYADI The College of Transportation Technology. Located in Jamaica, NY, we offer an Automotive and Diesel Technology A.O.S. Degree program and an Automotive Technology A.O.S. Degree program, both of which prepare students to take the ASE Automotive Certification. To help students make themselves more attractive to prospective employees, we also offer an Automotive Service Technology Certificate program and a Truck and Diesel Service Technology Certificate program.

For more information about the programs available at NYADI The College of Transportation Technology and how you can enroll, contact an admissions representative today.