Are Diesel Mechanics a Dying Breed?

Sep 28, 2009

Many of the nation’s diesel engine mechanics are baby boomers who are now approaching retirement.  Once that happens, there is likely to be a severe shortage of mechanics in the near future, according to Transport Topics.


In 2004, the Department of Labor released a report estimating that by 2014, mechanic shops would need to hire 205,000 more mechanics to fill new positions that would be open up when workers left or retired.


A representative for the National Institute for Auto Service Excellence said that only 10% of graduating technicians every year are diesel and truck-certified. “That means a significant shortfall,” said the Institute’s vice president of communications Tony Molla.


Dick Fazzio, a service manager for Mountain West Truck Center, said that good diesel mechanics are becoming “dinosaurs.”  He said that many graduates are choosing to become computer or game technicians and “don’t want to get dirty.”


In addition to simply ageing to retirement, many technician graduates end up leaving the industry for other jobs. George Arrants, business development manager at Cengage Learning Inc. in Florence, Ky. said “They wash out or decide to take another trade.” He added that a result of the auto and diesel technician shortage will be higher cost of repairs.  “The only thing education can’t teach is experience,” Arrants said.


Photo courtesy of Kerri 2009 under the Creative Commons License.