How long does it take to become a diesel technician? Q&A with UTI

By The Schneider Guy Aug 31, 2020
We interviewed Ian Hardie at Universal Technical Institute to learn how long it takes to become a diesel technician for someone who gets a college degree.

In a nutshell, there are two ways to answer the question, ‘How long does it take to become a diesel technician?’

If you choose not to get a college degree, you can start working as a diesel technician as soon as you find a job in the field after graduating high school.

If you do choose to get a college degree, it will take however long the program you enroll in takes to complete.

We turned to Ian Hardie, Senior Director of Employment Services at Schneider’s partner school, Universal Technical Institute’s Lisle campus, to learn more about UTI’s Diesel and Industrial Technology program.

How long does it take to become a diesel technician if you choose to go to college?

UTI’s core Diesel and Industrial Technology program is 45 weeks and consists of 15 distinct three-week courses.

As students near the end of their core program they can apply to take a Manufacturer Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) program, such as our Finish First Freightliner, Cummins or Peterbilt programs, which take an additional 12 weeks to complete.

Do diesel technician students complete an internship or work experience while in college or after graduating?

At UTI, we have a robust local employment program, which aims to place students into part-time employment in the industry while attending school.

Due to the current high demand for trained diesel technicians, some of our key employer partners have seen the benefits of hiring our students while they are still in school.

Is there a difference between earning a certificate vs. earning an associate degree in diesel technology?

For UTI’s core Diesel and Industrial Technology program, receiving a certificate or an associate degree in diesel technology is identical.

However, it is up to individual state’s education and licensing authorities on how they wish to credit the program. Some award an associate degree and some a diploma.

Most employers are just looking for some form of post-secondary industry or brand-specific technical training in their entry-level technicians.

Why should someone spend the time and money getting a degree to become a diesel technician?

There are numerous benefits to getting a degree, diploma or certification from a technical school for those interested in becoming diesel technicians:

  • Technical schools offer concentrated and highly specialized training programs without the need for an individual to also take general education courses. At UTI, for example, students can complete the Diesel program and start their careers in less than a year.
  • Because technical schools are focused on providing this specialized training, the curriculum, training aids, culture and training environment give students a distinct edge for the work they will encounter during their careers.
  • Many of the manufacturers partner with technical schools to offer specialized training on their specific trucks and equipment. This is more important than ever, as trucks are more complex, and have their own unique systems and diagnostic software/equipment.
  • Manufacturers and employers work closely and maintain strong relationships with UTI’s employment teams. Students are provided direct access to available industry jobs, which lead to strong graduate employment outcomes and are a win for both graduates and employers. 

Are you an aspiring diesel technician?

Schneider is hiring knowledgeable, professional technicians to our team. Learn more about Schneider’s partner schools, including UTI, and how you can contact our recruiting team for more information.

Resources for diesel technician students


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Schneider Guy loves the “Big Orange.” He’s passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He’s been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he’s excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through “A Slice of Orange."

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