If you’re choosing a state in which to start your career as a diesel mechanic, Georgia is one of the best options on the map. Many of the Peach State’s largest metro areas provide a variety of employment opportunities for diesel mechanics, and even smaller communities offer some of the nation’s most competitive pay in this field.
This page will walk you through the basics of launching your career as a diesel mechanic in Georgia, whether you aim to work your way up through the ranks or enter a higher-ranking position with the backing of an ASE certification. Whatever your approach, you’ll find enough information here to get you started.
You’ll have to put in some hours in order to earn a diesel mechanic job in Georgia. The process involves a series of steps, since diesel mechanics in Georgia are typically promoted from within the ranks at a mechanic shop or service department. Here are the basic steps you’ll be following:
- A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate will help qualify you for higher-paying diesel mechanic jobs. If you’re still in high school, take classes like auto shop, which will start to teach you the hands-on skills you’ll use when servicing diesel engines.
- Enroll in a vocational program or 2-year college program that’ll enable you to earn your certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) – for example, a program like the Diesel Equipment Technology Program offered by Atlanta Technical College, or the Heavy Diesel Service Program offered by West Georgia Technical College.
- Get a Georgia Commercial Driver License (CDL), which will qualify you to operate large vehicles with diesel engines.
- Apply for jobs with Georgia shipping companies like Collins Trucking and Southern Freight (SFI), and with other organizations that maintain large fleets of commercial vehicles (see the "Top Employers " section below).
- Pass a drug test, which is required by the vast majority of Georgia employers in the diesel mechanic field.
It’s a time-consuming process, but at the end of it you’ll be qualified to work on just about any diesel engine, in one of the country’s top states for diesel mechanic employment.
Different types of Georgia employers offer job openings for diesel mechanics, and they range all the way from the vehicle manufacturers down to small farms. Here are some types of places where jobs are often available:
Vehicle & engine manufacturers
Quite a few of the top diesel mechanic jobs in Georgia come from companies that manufacture diesel engines and the vehicles that depend on them. Companies like Caterpillar, Mack Trucks, and John Deere, for example, are often on the lookout for diesel mechanics to conduct inspections of new vehicles, and to maintain in-service vehicles so the company can honor its warranties. You can find many job openings from these agencies by running a search for terms like "diesel mechanic" and "diesel technician" on large job websites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com.
Transport & shipping companies
Georgia is served by a variety of transportation companies – some of which work for private consumers; others of which transport bulk goods for corporations and governments. Companies like DHL, FedEx and U-Haul, for example, need experienced diesel mechanics to maintain their fleet vehicles in between runs, and to perform emergency service on vehicles that break down on the road. While it’s possible to find many of these jobs on sites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com, it’s also worth checking out the employment sections of these companies’ official websites, just to make sure you don’t miss any openings.
Local farms & businesses
Many of the diesel vehicles in service in Georgia don’t work for major companies, but for small local stores, warehouses and farms. These diesel trucks and tractors need up-to-date maintenance too, which creates work opportunities for diesel mechanics willing to scout out the situation in their local area. To fully support yourself performing diesel maintenance for local businesses and farms, you may have to work part-time for a variety of employers; or you can try to find a business whose fleet is large enough that you’ll have work to do every day. You’re not as likely to find jobs like this on employment websites – but try scanning the local paper’s want ads and the local Craigslist jobs section; or just stop by a local business and ask if anyone’s looking for an ASE-certified diesel mechanic.
While it’s possible to get your diesel mechanic certification from a wide variety of colleges and trade schools throughout the U.S., it may be simpler to focus on schools in Georgia if that’s the state where you’re planning to work. In reviews of diesel mechanic programs in Georgia, certain schools’ names tend to be highly recommended. Here are quick profiles of each of them.
If you’re looking for a program that’ll give you a solid background in every area of diesel technology, ATC is one school worth considering. In state-of-the-art classrooms, instructors with years of experience servicing diesel vehicles will explain the fundamentals not only of diesel engines, but also of drive trains, brakes, steering and suspension, electronics, computerized components, and many other systems involved in the functioning of modern diesel vehicles. You’ll also get to try out your new skills in ATC’s auto shop, which is stocked with he same diesel engines you’ll see in the field. By the time you graduate, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to take on your ASE exam, and step right into your first job as a certified diesel mechanic.
West Georgia Technical College – Heavy Diesel Service Program
(Greater Atlanta area)
West Georgia Tech places a heavy emphasis on problem-solving, because that’s what’s required of a diesel technician in the field. With that in mind, classes focus on diagnosing and repairing a wide variety of problems with diesel engines, drive train systems, electrical and electronics systems, and other components involved in the operation of diesel vehicles. As a student, you’ll also get some review of reading and math, because both will be necessary if you hope to properly understand and interpret updates to the technical manuals you’ll be using in the field. All this background will prepare you to pass your ASE exam, and to enter your new career on a solid footing.
Oconee Fall Line Technical College – Diesel Truck Maintenance Technician Program
(Greater Macon area)
The ASE-certified training program at OFTC focuses on giving you the knowledge you’ll need to pass the ASE exam, and start working as a diesel mechanic as quickly as possible. That means courses emphasize the practical side of things, and involve a lot of shop work on actual diesel engines – the same ones you’ll encounter in the field. This practical work is backed up by regular classroom sessions, where experienced diesel mechanics will walk you through the physics of engine operation, as well as the functioning of drive trains, brakes, steering and suspension, and other related systems. By the time you complete the program, you’ll be ready to take the ASE exam and get to work as a diesel mechanic.
Coastal Pines Technical College – Diesel Equipment Technology Program
(Alma; Baxley; Camden; Golden Isles; Hazlehurst; Jesup; Waycross)
Coastal Pines is part of a system of technical colleges throughout the state of Georgia, and several of that system’s campuses offer the diesel mechanic program. This programs is designed to prepare you for the ASE exam, and to help you start work as a diesel mechanic as soon as possible. After reviewing some basic English and math – which you’ll need in order to understand and apply updates to the technical manuals you’ll use in the field – your instructors will take you through the basics of diesel engines, drive trains, brakes, steering and suspension, and the computer systems used in diesel vehicles. You’ll finish the program with a solid grasp of all the areas you’ll need to know about when you take on real-world technical problems in the field.
As great as it is to have the support of other mechanics in your garage, there’s nothing quite as helpful as professional association. An association can help connect you with hundreds or even thousands of other diesel mechanics, as well as industry representatives, truckers, shop owners, and other people who can clue you in about job openings, new technology, and other ideas that’ll boost your career. Many associations also have special deals worked out with local and national businesses, which can land you discounts on parts and equipment, as well as on insurance, car rentals, and other services you’ll use in your work. So for all these reasons and more, take a look at the Georgia associations listed below, and consider joining at least one of them.
Joining the ASAGA will connect you with a wide variety of benefits – some official, some less obvious. In the obvious category, you’ll get exclusive invites to conferences and training sessions, where you can learn new skills that’ll help you in your work, and find out what’s happening in the automotive industry. In the less-obvious category, you’ll start to form relationships with people from all sectors of the automotive industry from other mechanics to shop owners to manufacturer’s representatives – and any of these people may know of a job opportunity for you, or a new technology you can use in your work, or a new technique that’ll make you more valuable than your competition. In other words, relationships like these add up to career success over the years, and an association like ASAGA is an ideal place to start building your professional network.
Membership in the GMTA is open to all trucking industry professionals in Georgia – and while you may not be qualified for a personal membership, you can still get some major benefits from connecting with members. Since the GMTA organizes regular conferences and training classes, as well as fun events like clay shoots, many members are well-connected in the industry, and can help you grow your own professional network. Expanding that network is the number-one key to finding out about new jobs, new technologies, and new legislation before your competitors do. GMTA members also get exclusive offers and discounts from businesses – including equipment manufacturers – which means they may also be able to clue you in about the best deals in the state. So if you find an opportunity to get connected to GMTA in any way, then take it.