Starting Pay For Diesel Techs (And A Look At 5 Opportunities)

So, before you set your course and start working towards being an awesome diesel tech, you might be asking, “What does an entry-level diesel mechanic make?” Fair question. Nothing wrong with having a good idea of whether or not you will need to eat roman for the first few years of wrenching.

What is the starting pay for a diesel mechanic?

The average starting pay for a diesel mechanic is 18.54 per hour. These wages vary from 15.00 to 24.13 per hour. Factors such as company and location will play a role in where you will land.

Benefits are also important to consider. Let’s look at 5 well-known companies, some other opportunities, and how they compare

Different Jobs and different expectations

There are a lot of opportunities out there. It is important to understand which ones you would enjoy the most and pursue those. A lot of companies have a “mechanic trainee” position but, you will also see different job titles with varying job duties. Some companies may want to start you as a trailer mechanic to learn the basics. Some may have you as a lube tech for the first year. It really depends on the company and their needs. Let’s take a look at these 5 companies/opportunities and how they have set up the process.

5 companies/opportunities to start your diesel mechanic career (in no particular order)

1. Florida Detroit Diesel-Allison – Diesel Technician – Truck Shop Apprentice

We see here at Florida Detroit that they call the new guy an apprentice. I like this destination. This usually comes with a clear path to being a regular mechanic. They most likely have steps to be completed or time to be served before you progress to the class of diesel technician. Each review would also include a pay increase.


  • High School Diploma or General Education Degree (GED) required. No prior experience necessary.
  • The trait of being dependable and trustworthy.
  • Ability to utilize the available time to organize and complete work within given deadlines.
  • Ability to communicate in writing clearly and concisely.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with others using the spoken word.

I really like the ability to communicate using the spoken word. ???? Sorry guys no texting or writing down your questions. Overall, this seems like a pretty low barrier for entry. You are going to need your high school diploma or GED no matter where you go.


Responsible for learning how to perform preventative maintenance and simple repairs in a shop environment on customer’s equipment including trucks, buses, engines, engine components, and subassemblies as instructed by senior level Truck Service Shop Technicians and Group Leaders


  • Learn basic parts, processes, and maintenance techniques as instructed by more senior level Shop Technicians.
  • Work with more senior level Shop Technicians to understand how to accurately troubleshoot and diagnose routine problems with customer’s equipment.
  • Retrieve parts and other supplies for more senior level Shop Technicians.
  • Learn how to complete all work orders and time sheets in a legible, accurate, and timely manner.
  • Provide assistance to more senior level Shop Technicians on larger jobs.

Overall, This seems like a great opportunity for someone starting out. The pay is competitive and the benefits are decent. This job would be a great fit for someone wanting to train and learn with techs who are experienced in the latest stuff and move at a fast pace.

PAY 14 - 17 an Hour

Check it out Here

2. Cat or Ring Power in Florida – Service Apprentice Technician

Not all Cat dealers are created equal. If you are in the main part of Florida then Ring power is it. CAT is another apprenticeship opportunity. These can be quite competitive. That should not discourage you from going for it. Just think of some things that make you stand out for others. If you can’t think of anything be the nicest guy they interview.


Learn to diagnose, repair, recondition, and adjust equipment as required and complete all paperwork on the troubled equipment to which the individual is assigned. To attend and participate in all classes assigned during the training period, complete any outside work assigned by the instructor, and pass all tests on the subjects covered with a minimum score of 70 percent. Attend training sessions as required. Work in a neat, orderly, and safe manner, constantly seeking improved methods and the safety of others. Maintain a positive attitude and role model for the other employees to follow. Maintain a minimum set of tools required for job performance. Care and maintain company machines/equipment and ensure co-workers are doing the same. Maintain personal company service literature, and maintain a high awareness of technical changes in the industry. Test, diagnose, and adjust failures of equipment. Repair or replace defective parts on machinery/equipment. Disassemble components and properly clean parts. Inspect components to ensure maximum parts are being reused to control repair costs. Prepare all parts requisitions, time cards, or service reports, as requested by the supervisor. Ensure they are legible and accurate with sufficient detail for service accounting needs. Work under the guidance of a qualified shop or field service technician in the disassembly, repair, re-assembly, and test of components. Qualifications


  • Must possess a good mechanical aptitude and have some mechanical repair experience.
  • Must be able to comprehend, speak and write the English language.
  • Must possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills. High School education.
  • Specialized technical courses or equivalent years experience as a Technician preferred

What are these specialized technical courses? They are looking for some courses from a technical school. Basically some advancement towards diesel mechanics. This may vary by dealer. Click the link for more information

PAY: 14 - 17 an Hour

Check it out Here

3. Cummins TAP program – Technician Apprentice Program

While this may be the lowest paying of the options it is most likely the best depending on the quality of your area dealer. Cummins is a great company with a great reputation. They are offering to put you through their own school and pay you during it. I am pretty sure this comes with strings. If you decide to leave in a certain amount of time they will charge you for the school. They are making an investment and hope to get a return on it. If this is an option for you I would encourage it.


  • Strong personal values
  • A problem solver – curious about how it works
  • Passionate about working with your hands
  • Embraces new engine technology for power, fuel economy and diagnostics
  • Cares about co-workers, customer service and communications
  • Inclusive of diverse perspectives
  • Desires to develop their skill set and product knowledge through classroom, hands-on, and virtual training.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Applicants must meet minimum community college general education course requirement of 2.8 GPA high school (unweighted) or 22 ACT score.
  • GED with one year of college with minimum 2.8 GPA
  • OR Military Veteran
  • Ability to properly and safely use and maintain common hand tools and electrical testing equipment.
  • Familiar with Windows and Microsoft Office 365 and Outlook (email)

PAY: 10 - 13 an Hour

Check it out Here

4. Ryder – Technician trainee

So you are basically a lube guy in this spot. Not a bad way to start. It really helps when learning all the different components of a truck. (That is one the most important parts) I think this could be a decent opportunity if Ryder is in your area.


  • H.S. diploma/GED in General H.S. subjects
  • Zero to one (1) year mechanical experience working with, and maintaining, primarily diesel engines preferred
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Proficiency in English written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated customer service skills
  • Strong technical aptitude with ability to learn to use and maintain equipment and machinery preferred

Ability to:

  • Quickly troubleshoot and resolve problems preferred
  • Work independently and as a member of a team
  • Professionally represent Ryder and competently engage both Ryder employees and customers
  • Demonstrated time management and priority setting skills
  • Must have track record of performance and good attendance
  • Strong sense of personal accountability and a proven track record of achieving desired results
  • Competency in basic computer skills and in a Microsoft Office environment
  • Beginner level knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance preferred
  • Beginner level knowledge of shop management systems preferred
  • Valid Commercial Driver License (CDL) CLASS A Valid driver’s license (get within 180 Days)

Move heavy duty vehicles into or out of yard, wash bay, service shop, or delivered to the rental shop. Wash and detail vehicles manually or using automated equipment; fuel diesel, natural gas, and hybrid vehicles properly while adhering to all shop safety policies and procedures; record fuel activity and maintain proper fuel and DEF inventories and reconciliation; this includes using handheld devices to properly identify the customer and required services. Perform multi-point inspection on inbound units as required by company policies and procedures; this includes checking vehicle tire pressure and thread, fluid levels, lights, washing vehicle windows, changing tires, inspecting refrigeration units on trucks, and reporting service or driver issues to shop.

PAY: 12 - 14 an Hour

Check it out Here

5. Other great places to look

  • Your local government organizations (City, County, State)

These are great places to learn in a low-stress environment. Most of the time they are going to be asking for 2 years’ experience but, with the right attitude they might take a chance on you. Remember humility is so important in this stage of your career. You can do this but, you need other people to help.

  • Local shops

Sometimes you can convince a local shop to let you come in and shadow a mechanic or even do some work for free or really cheap. You could offer to grease or wash the vehicles. These opportunities can sometimes turn into jobs for the right person.

To sum up

So, even though there are so many different ways to break into the industry they are not all created equally. Make sure as you search you pick the one that is most suited to you and your specific situation. Being a diesel mechanic is a fun and rewarding career and totally worth all the trouble of getting into it. You can do this! Get out there and find your spot.

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