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Diesel Mechanic & Technician Salaries

August 25, 2023

Diesel technician working on a tractor

Diesel engines power some of the biggest and coolest machines and vehicles in the world. If you’ve found yourself utterly fascinated by the mechanics behind things like trains, construction equipment, cargo ships, and trucks, you should consider a career as a diesel mechanic or technician.

You’re probably asking yourself, “How much do diesel mechanics make?” and that is a great question! The short answer is “that depends,” and the longer answer is that it depends on what kind of machines you’re working on, which industry you work in, who you work for, and, most importantly, what kind of education and experience you have.

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Industries That Rely on Diesel & Diesel Mechanics

If you think diesel is relegated to the ranks of the trucking industry, that’s a misconception. Trucking is a huge diesel industry, yes, but there are others:

  • Transportation and Logistics: Okay, okay, we know you knew it. Diesel mechanics play a crucial role in maintaining and repairing the vast fleets of trucks, buses, and other heavy vehicles used for transporting goods and passengers. These diesel mechanics ensure that the vehicles are in optimal condition to meet safety and regulatory standards, as well as to keep goods and people moving efficiently.
  • Construction and Heavy Equipment: The construction industry relies heavily on diesel-powered heavy equipment, such as bulldozers, excavators, cranes, and loaders. Diesel mechanics in this sector are responsible for maintaining and repairing these machines, ensuring they are functioning properly to support construction projects.
  • Agriculture and Farming: Diesel engines power many agricultural machines, including tractors, combines, and irrigation systems. Diesel mechanics in this field work to keep these machines operational during planting, harvesting, and other critical agricultural activities.
  • Mining and Extraction: Mining operations often use large diesel-powered vehicles and equipment, such as haul trucks, loaders, and drills. Diesel mechanics in the mining industry are responsible for ensuring that these machines are well-maintained to support efficient and safe mineral extraction.
  • Power Generation and Utilities: Diesel engines are commonly used as backup generators in power plants and other utility facilities. Diesel mechanics in this sector maintain and repair these engines to ensure they can provide reliable power during emergencies or when the primary power source is unavailable.

So are diesel mechanics super important? Um, yeah. Also, the industries that rely on knowledgeable diesel mechanics are wide-ranging and needed all over the world.

You want to live in Europe? Guess what? They have all the same industries in Europe.

You want to live in Alaska? Oh wow, there is no end to the need for trained diesel mechanics and technicians in Alaska.

You want to stay where you are? Perfect! But speaking of all these places, which states are the highest paying for diesel mechanics?

Top 5 States to Work In As a Diesel Mechanic

The top five states to work for where you can get the best diesel mechanic salary, based on industry demand, top employers and cost of living are:

  1. Alaska
  2. Washington
  3. Connecticut
  4. Nevada
  5. Rhode Island

These states represent places where, per capita, there are ample jobs, high demand, and better wages. The average low end of pay in these states is $59,440 and the average high end of the pay scale in these states is $79,200. Not bad! 

Diesel Mechanic Average Salary By State

Other states also pay well, and some pay above the national average. Of course, you have to think of the cost of living in these states, some states may pay high but it might cost more to live there.

The following list shows simple averages, but gives a valuable high-level look at average salaries by state. It also conveniently answers the question, “how much does a diesel mechanic make an hour?
See, we’ve got you covered! Here is the full breakdown of the average pay rates in all 50 states from Zip Recruiter:

StateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
New York$58,441$4,870$1,123$28.10
Rhode Island$57,919$4,826$1,113$27.85
South Dakota$57,701$4,808$1,109$27.74
North Dakota$57,658$4,804$1,108$27.72
New Jersey$52,607$4,383$1,011$25.29
South Carolina$50,485$4,207$970$24.27
New Hampshire$48,740$4,061$937$23.43
New Mexico$47,830$3,985$919$23.00
North Carolina$46,096$3,841$886$22.16
West Virginia$42,135$3,511$810$20.26

How to Get the Best Diesel Mechanic Salary

As you can see, the pay scale isn’t too shabby, and the work is both rewarding and important. Scoring a job that pays well and provides the right amount of interest and challenge isn’t rocket science (close… that’s the next industry over), but you do need to know a few things.

Here are some things you can do and skills to have that employers are looking for in a diesel mechanic or technician:

Education and Training:

  • Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Complete a formal education program in diesel technology or a related field from a vocational school, community college, or technical institute.
  • Consider obtaining relevant certifications, such as those offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) from a school like WyoTech.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Develop strong mechanical and technical skills, including proficiency in diagnosing and repairing diesel engines and related systems.
  • Gain experience working with a variety of tools and equipment commonly used in diesel mechanics.
  • Acquire knowledge of electrical and electronic systems in diesel vehicles and equipment.


  • Seek internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions to gain hands-on experience and build your practical skills.
  • Showcase any previous experience working with heavy machinery, vehicles, or engines.

Problem-Solving and Analytical Skills:

  • Demonstrate your ability to diagnose complex mechanical issues and develop effective repair solutions.
  • Highlight instances where you’ve successfully troubleshot and resolved challenging problems.

Attention to Detail:

  • Emphasize your commitment to precision and accuracy in diagnosing and repairing diesel systems.

Safety Focus:

  • Highlight your understanding of safety protocols and practices when working with heavy machinery and hazardous materials.


  • Showcase your ability to communicate technical information clearly and effectively, both in writing and verbally, when interacting with colleagues and clients.


  • Illustrate your flexibility in working with various makes and models of diesel vehicles and equipment.

Customer Service:

  • If applicable, share examples of positive interactions with customers, demonstrating your ability to provide excellent service and address client concerns.

Networking and Job Search:

  • Build connections within the industry by attending trade shows, workshops, and industry events.
  • Utilize online job boards, professional networking platforms, and company websites to search for job opportunities.

Resume and Interview:

  • Craft a well-organized resume that highlights your relevant skills, education, certifications, and work experience.
  • Prepare for interviews by researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and showcasing your enthusiasm for the diesel mechanic role.

Of all of these things, getting a diploma from a diesel mechanics school like WyoTech, is probably the most important. That is because you get formal training and hands-on experience at the same time. 

Want to Become a Diesel Mechanic?

Now that you know the average diesel technician salary and diesel mechanic salary, what are you waiting for? These are great careers and provide a valuable service to literally everyone.

We can’t get around, we can’t get our goods, construct roads and buildings, or grow our crops without great diesel mechanics who keep everything running smoothly. If you would like to learn more about how easy, fast, and affordable it is to get a diploma in diesel mechanics, contact WyoTech today–we would love to talk!

Good luck in your pursuit of a great job as a diesel mechanic!