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Top Jobs for Diesel Mechanics

You’re out of your training or apprenticeships and beginning a career in diesel maintenance and repair. You’ve got tremendous skills in high demand, and that should make getting a job pretty straightforward. But you don’t want just any job—you want a career that’s going to deliver the most return for you and your family.

In this line of work, there are a surprising number of ways to make a living, and it can be really difficult to narrow down what the best opportunities are. Then, you have to find a way to land a top job, and that means standing out from the crowd with a great resume and the certifications and experience the best employers want to see.

So where do you start? Glad you asked. We’re here to help in-demand diesel mechanics sort through the endless haystacks to find the golden needle that will set you up for life.

What Jobs Pay the Best?

If you’re looking to maximize the return on your investment for the years you spent honing your skills, we’ll help you identify some of the more lucrative careers for diesel mechanics within the industry. All of these jobs are a little different, and depending on your skills and the kind of environment you prefer, some may suit you better than others.

In general, higher salaries go to people working in industries that have huge, expensive pieces of machinery, expose workers to riskier or unpleasant conditions, require good work done reliably on strict deadlines, or are working with higher production and dollar stakes. Also, part of making more money might mean you are on call or have to work less desirable hours, so it’s worth considering the lifestyle you prefer and what trade-offs you’re willing to make.

Gas Plant Operator

These diesel mechanics earn some of the highest salaries out there, averaging $76,970 per year. You’ll earn it, though. Conditions are tough, and you’ll be working to repair and maintain enormous, expensive pieces of equipment in punishing conditions—often on an “as-fast-as-possible” basis.

A primary responsibility will be maintaining giant compressors that pressurize pipelines and processing equipment, but there are often a range of jobs to do. Also, the salary can go even higher in unpleasant, risky, and high-pressure jobs like oil rigs at sea, military contractors in dangerous places, etc.

Airport Mechanics

If you want to be one of the diesel mechanics working at an airport, you’re also going to be a high-level earner with a salary averaging $69,470. Timetables are huge in the air transportation sector, as schedules and equipment need to operate on tight schedules and even small delays can upset an enormous array of flights far beyond your location.

You’ll be maintaining and repairing trucks and cranes, diagnosing mechanical issues, and other miscellaneous duties as assigned beyond engine repair on tight turnaround schedules. Equivalent industries (railroad, marine, etc.) will offer similar salaries and daily work.

Marine Diesel Mechanics

Some of the most incredible opportunities in the world for diesel mechanics combine working on the open water with the coolest boats and vessels in the world. On top of that, it’s a sector that’s full of opportunities as existing talent is aging out of the industry or retiring. Boat and yacht dealerships, manufacturers, marinas, and boat yards are always looking for new up-and-coming talent. If the marine industry is on your radar there’s never been a better time to start exploring.

These positions in the marine industry can be both personally fulfilling and financially rewarding, and it’s very possible for qualified diesel technicians in adjacent industries to make a move into the profession. If you’ve been dreaming of a career on the water, contact a marine industry recruiter to find out how to take the next step.

Gas Pumping Station Operator

Diesel mechanics working at these installations are required to manage steam, gas, electric, and internal combustion compressors. You’ll be inspecting gauges to ensure the equipment is operating within parameters and maintaining the trucks and heavy vehicles oil and gas companies use every day on pipeline and pumping station sites.

Recent salary averages are around $67,130 per year. It’s not quite as high as some other hands-on jobs, but you’ll get to play with the really big toys.

Fleet Managers

In this job, you’ll be coordinating the repair and maintenance of whole fleets of heavy vehicles and overseeing teams of technicians and mechanics. As a management position, this is typically less hands-on, and salaries tend to average over $64,600. You’ll likely also need to demonstrate managerial skills on your resume as you’ll be coordinating a team.

Heavy-Duty Truck Mechanics and Diesel Service Technicians

These careers share similar responsibilities in that you’ll be working with individual pieces of equipment. Heavy-duty diesel mechanics service larger, more specialized equipment in the agricultural, construction, etc. industries and you can expect $53,777 on average per year.

Diesel service technicians tend to be restricted to large diesel vehicles in the transport industry, such as buses, RVs, and semis. The work is less specialized, so the pay is lower than a heavy-duty truck mechanic at around $48,960.

Location, Additional Benefits, and Company Culture

Pay is important, but it’s also just one aspect of compensation. There are factors to consider like health insurance, retirement packages, and living situation that can sweeten a deal that might not be your first choice. Best of all, these can often be negotiated with individual employers if you have the skills they’re looking for.

This is one of the biggest advantages of working with a dedicated industry recruiting partner—they can make sure that your resume ends up in the hands of employers who are already looking for someone just like you and will be willing to invest in bringing you on.

Get an Insider Edge

It’s an open secret that 70-80% of open positions are never advertised. They don’t need to be, as they’re filled through personal connections, professional networks, and internal promotions. Forbes calls this the “hidden job market”, and you need access to it if you want the best positions at the best companies.

V20 Recruiting has had a deep knowledge of the gears and belts of the diesel mechanics profession for many years. We know the players, they know us, and it’s why we’ve been connecting them with top applicants just like you for years now. They’ve come to rely on our expertise to fill key positions, and 62% of talent teams say they find better candidates through recruiters like us.

By taking the time to get to know you personally, helping you develop your skills, and equipping you with the insider information you need to land a top job, we make sure you’re in the mix and your resume is on the table when the decisions are being made. When the hidden job market calls, we know where, how, and who to connect you with.

Reach out to V20 Recruiting today and get your career firing on all cylinders. You can drop us a message, call us at 614-505-6012, or reach out directly to one of our amazing recruiters serving the diesel industry.