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Diesel mechanics do far more than “fix engines.”

Since they are the ones responsible for inspecting, repairing, and/or overhauling the engines on buses, 18-wheelers, and agricultural equipment, you could say diesel mechanics are the ones that help keep our economy running.

If you’ve always loved working with your hands and figuring out how things operate, then a career as a diesel technician may be a perfect fit for you.

Okay, but with so many people recognizing the career benefits of becoming a diesel technician, how can you ensure you are the absolute best candidate for the job? By becoming certified as a Diesel Tech.

But not any old certification will do. You must get the very best training.

Below, we’ve created a list of our best schools for diesel tech.  Read more about what we look for and our methodology below…but without further ado:

Here’s the list of Best Schools and Classes:

Top Pick

Key Highlights

  • 100% Online
  • Lowest Price
  • Accredited University
  • Hands-On Externship Included
  • Fastest Completion
  • Free Laptop
Check Out Preppy's Diesel Tech Program

If your ultimate goal is to have a career as a certified diesel tech, you won’t likely find a more appealing training program than the one offered through Preppy.

Preppy is a one-of-a-kind educational platform that has recently partnered with acclaimed Auburn University to offer students top-notch certification training.

When we say this program is unlike any other, we really mean it.

To start, the diesel tech training can be completed in as little as 4 to 6 months. Most programs take anywhere from 9 months to two years to complete.

Not only is this the fastest program we’ve come across, but it is also the most affordable one. We were shocked to see that in some cases, this exceptional course costs 5 to 10 times less than other diesel tech programs on the market.

Despite being so affordable, Preppy still offers students a monthly payment plan. The goal is to truly make education affordable for everyone!

Something else you will appreciate is the fact that Preppy’s course is offered 100% online. This makes it so easy for busy, working adults with family responsibilities to get an education.

So many certification courses we’ve come across require some or all of the learning to take place in a classroom setting. That’s just not feasible for most adult students.

Now you may be wondering how you can learn diesel tech online. Well, Preppy includes an externship that allows students to get that necessary hands-on training once they have completed the online training.

Something else we want to highlight about Preppy is who it’s partnered with. So many certification programs available these days are from un-accredited institutions.

When you get your certification training through Preppy, your instruction will be provided through Auburn University, a world-class institution known for offering exceptional programs.

Talk about having something on your resume that will stand out and help set you apart from other job applicants!

Preppy also supplies all textbooks and learning materials, which means you will never have to worry about hidden tuition costs. Heck, Preppy even gives students a FREE LAPTOP. This is simply unheard of in the industry.

You may have noticed we are biased when it comes to Preppy. We won’t even try to deny it…we are. We have been in the industry a very long time and have seen so many inadequate certification programs. We are incredibly happy to finally have a program that ticks all the boxes.

If you are looking for a diesel tech training program to prepare you for some of the major certification exams…

… then check out Preppy:

Check Out Preppy’s Diesel Technician Program >>

Universal Technical Institute

JWut89LA at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Key Highlights

  • Thorough Curriculum
  • Student Support
  • Accredited
  • No Online Classes
  • Higher-Priced Tuition
  • Longer Time to Completion

Universal Technical Institute is for-profit system of colleges that has been providing technical training for automotive, diesel, and welding technology for 55 years.

UTI is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

UTI offers students foundational courses that will build their knowledge base. You will learn how to diagnose, repair, and replace parts within a diesel engine.

We like the fact that the curriculum is very thorough and that the school is accredited.

Having said that, we do have some concerns. For starters, there are no online classes and students are expected to spend considerable time in a classroom.

UTI has only 13 campuses around the country, so if moving to another state or city for your education poses a problem, this program may not be a good fit.

The cost is also on the higher end and time to completion is almost twice as long as other options on this list.

Lincoln Tech

Key Highlights

  • Thorough Curriculum
  • Student Support
  • Textbooks Included
  • No Online Classes
  • Higher Tuition Fees
  • Not Accredited University

Lincoln Tech is a for-profit institution that has been in the business of career training for 75 years.

They offer students a robust program that instructs on how to perform complete disassembly and assembly on engines, tune-ups, and wheel alignments, as well as how to locate and diagnose the components of truck brake systems and more.

The program is comprehensive and we like that students are fully prepared to take the certification exam upon completion. We also appreciate that all learning materials are included.

There are some things we don’t like: Classes are unfortunately not online. When classes are held in person, we feel it makes it more difficult for busy adults to attend, and thus in some cases longer to complete.

So given the limited number of locations, you’ll need to be close by if you’re willing to do a campus-based program. Also, Lincoln Tech is not an accredited university.


Key Highlights

  • Thorough Curriculum
  • Accredited School
  • Textbooks Included
  • Very High Tuition
  • No Online Classes
  • Longer Time to Completion

WyoTech was founded in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1966. They provide concentrated training programs that prepare students to enter the growing automotive and diesel industry.

WyoTech offers a diesel mechanics program that allows students to get familiar with performing tune-ups on all major diesel engine brands.

Students will also learn how to adjust and run light-duty and heavy-duty engines, and build and repair engines.

We like that the curriculum is very thorough and all textbooks and learning materials are included. They are also nationally accredited.

However, the cost of the program is very high at roughly $30,000. That’s about 10x as much as others on this list.

They don’t appear to offer a monthly payment plan option, so students may need to explore financial aid options or student loans.  Classes are not online but only in-person at their location, and it takes 9 months to complete the course.

Tidewater Community College

Key Highlights

  • Thorough Curriculum
  • Student Support
  • Accredited University
  • No Online Classes
  • Higher Tuition
  • Longer Time to Completion

Tidewater Community College has been providing educational programs to students for 50 years. Founded in 1968, Tidewater is part of the greater Virginia Community College System and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tidewater Community College’s diesel technology program blends classroom theory, lab demonstrations, and real-life skill development to prepare students for a career as a technician in the diesel industry.

Their program seems quite solid and we appreciate that they offer students robust support. We also like that the school is accredited.

However, there are no online classes.

In addition, tuition is on the higher end with the course running roughly $8,000. While not the priciest on the list, it is still quite a bit more than others we’ve found. It also has a longer complete time.

Snow College

Key Highlights

  • Online Classes
  • Learning Materials Included
  • High Tuition
  • Longer Time to Completion
  • Thorough Curriculum
  • Financial Aid

Snow College, founded in 1888 and named after Lorenzo Snow, is a for-profit school and has been an educational destination in Central Utah, offering artistic, musical, and sporting centers with many career-focused skill training programs.

One of those is its Diesel Mechanics program, comprehensive and focusing on the assembly and disassembly of all kinds of engines, wheel alignments, the fundamentals and mechanisms of brake systems, and more.

With its on-campus classes, students acquire hands-on experience and are also trained for the Automotive Service Excellence exam helping them qualify as licensed diesel mechanics or technicians.

Once graduated, students become qualified to handle mining equipment, light, and heavy-duty truck engines, excavation machinery, construction machinery, off-highway machinery, trains, ships, cars, and so much more.

But there are a few downsides to this program as well.

The program can be a hassle for working people and busy adults, as the classes are held on-campus and since there are a limited no. of locations, it means that the program is not widely accessible.

The program can also take longer to complete, which might not be ideal if you are looking to start your career ASAP.

What Makes a Good School for Diesel Mechanics?

In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the median annual income for diesel mechanics reached $50,200, while the top 10% earned over $76,460.

If you’re considering a career as a diesel mechanic, selecting the right training program is really important to set a strong base in your career. You might be wondering what set apart the schools we chose.

It’s really quite simple.

These schools offered one or more (and the more, the better!) of the following:

An Online Curriculum

Online learning has become increasingly popular with students, particularly adult students, and for good reason: it allows them the flexibility to learn when and where is best for them.

If you currently have a job and perhaps even a young family to care for, it’s simply not feasible to move out of state to attend school. If we’re honest, it’s no longer really feasible to attend night classes at the local community college.

And thanks to online education, you no longer need to!

We recommend you select a diesel mechanic certification program that offers online learning so you can balance your school and life commitments.

Thorough Coursework

While online classes make learning far more convenient, it is equally important to look for a program that offers top-notch training. We selected schools that will fully prepare students for the major diesel mechanic certification exams offered through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Self-Paced Coursework

Beyond offering flexibility, online classes allow students to learn at their own pace. Think back to the last time you were in school. You didn’t learn at the same pace as the rest of your classmates, though you were all expected to learn at the same pace.

We prefer schools that offer online classes because they allow you to work your way through the course material at a pace that suits your unique learning style. Not every diesel mechanic training program offers online classes, but we feel it’s really key and strongly suggest you focus on the schools on this list that do offer online curriculums.

Textbooks are Included

If you haven’t been in school in a while, you may be absolutely shocked at the price of textbooks. They can cost a fortune! We did our best to look for schools that included textbooks and learning materials in the cost of the training.

An Immersive Learning Experience

No matter how old you are, learning should be fun! The more engaged you are, the better able you’ll be to retain new information. We have selected the schools we feel offer an immersive learning experience.

Solid Support

Whether you’re learning in-person or online, you want a program that offers students robust support. The schools we have selected all have a solid support system to ensure you get the help you need when you need it.


Getting certified as a diesel mechanic is definitely one of the best ways to stand out to employers. Another way to make a great first impression is by getting some hands-on experience before you hit the job market.

In our opinion, your best option is to look for schools that offer their classes online. This will keep costs very low and have you finish your training in as little as 3 to 6 months. Then, once your coursework is complete, you’ll be able to get into an externship to gain some valuable hands-on experience.

The Importance of Diesel Mechanic Training

The American Trucking Association recently released its latest ATA Freight Transportation Forecast, and the future definitely looks bright! Over the next 10 years, the industry is poised to experience tremendous growth as the economy and population both continue to grow.

How much growth are we talking about? The forecast pointed out that overall freight tonnage is expected to grow by 20.6 billion tons in 2030. That’s up 25% from 2019’s projection. Freight industry revenue is also expected to increase a whopping 53% to $1.6 billion. And that’s just the trucking industry. We haven’t even covered the growth of the transportation or agricultural industries.

Suffice it to say, that demand for diesel technicians will be increasing significantly over the next decade. In fact, according to the BLS, employment of these professionals is projected to grow by 3% from 2019 to 2029.

When you complete your training and become a certified diesel mechanic, you begin an exciting and lucrative career you can feel really good about.

Our Methodology

I’ve just covered a lot of information and think a recap is warranted!

In preparing this list, we gave preferences to a school that had to have one or more of the following (and obviously the more the better!):

  • Online programs
  • Accredited university vs non-accredited
  • Non-profit vs for-profit
  • Comprehensive preparation for certification exams
  • Self-paced learning
  • Textbooks and other learning materials included in the cost
  • Instructor-led
  • Student Support
  • Externships to gain valuable experience

If you’re interested in a rewarding career as a diesel technician, you could become certified and begin working in as little as 4-6 months by completing training through one of these fantastic schools!

What a great opportunity to work in an exciting industry!

About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.