Diesel Mechanic Schools in Alaska
There are four schools in Alaska that offer education to prospective diesel mechanics, including one technology institute and three universities. The average acceptance rate is 57%, which means that you may want to brush up your CV and essay writing skills before applying. All three universities in Alaska have substantial financial aid available. A benefit of attending school in Alaska is the small classroom size—the average classroom has only 14 students! Average tuition in Alaska is $6,323, making a diesel mechanic education affordable for most students.
When you decide to go to diesel mechanic school in Alaska, you have several options to choose from. You can choose to earn a certificate in diesel technology, an Associate's degree in Power Technology with an emphasis in Diesel, or an Occupational Endorsement. Certificates take between two and three semesters, while most Occupational Endorsements take two semesters to complete. An Associate's degree in Power Technology with an emphasis in Diesel is the most lengthy program, spanning approximately two years.
Each school has a different way of approaching diesel technology and different benefits for students. For example, University of Alaska Anchorage reports that 100% of automotive technology graduates have found work in their fields. University of Alaska Southeast has the biggest variety, with Associate's degrees and Occupational Endorsements for students.
Despite the wide variety in program types, they tend to have many of the same classes. Classes at this level include General Shop Operations, Tire Repair, Undercarriage, Exhaust Systems, and Gas Welding.
There are no statewide licensing requirements for diesel mechanics in Alaska. Many employers state in their job listings that they prefer to hire applicants with formal education, ASE certification, and/or experience. Some also prefer diesel mechanics that have a commercial driver's license.
After working in the field for two years, you can choose to earn ASE certification in multiple areas. Employees may choose to take one of the T series tests, covering Medium-Heavy Truck Certification. This can prepare you for higher-level, higher-paying jobs.
The job outlook for diesel mechanics is growing faster than expected. O*Net reports an expected 770 diesel mechanic jobs in 2020; however, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were already more diesel mechanic jobs than that in 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that they expect diesel mechanic jobs to grow at a rate of 15% between 2010 and 2020 (BLS, 2010). This is expected to result in an estimated 35,000 new diesel mechanic jobs in the country by 2020 (BLS, 2010).
Salaries for diesel mechanics vary widely depending on experience, certification, and employer. O*Net reports that the median salary for diesel mechanics in Alaska is $55,100 per year, considerably higher than the national average of $42,300. The range of salaries listed goes from $38,000 per year to $76,000 per year (O*Net, 2012).
If you earn ASE certification or get a significant amount of experience in the field, you may be able to earn at the higher end of the pay scale. Salaries also depend on where you work, including if you work in a large city or rural area.
There are many diesel mechanic employers in Alaska, and they come from a variety of fields. Large employers include leasing centers, trucking companies, and auto repair centers. Some of the main diesel mechanic employers in Alaska include MV Transportation, Rush Truck Centers, Nelson Leasing, and ManTech International.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2012, there were approximately 840 people working as diesel engine specialists in Alaska. Diesel mechanics with extensive experience and certification may run their own mechanic shop or take on a more specialized job title. Common job titles for diesel mechanics include diesel technician, diesel mechanic, and diesel specialist.
Depending on where you choose to work, your diesel mechanic experience can be very different from another mechanic's. You may have to work on call hours to take care of emergency repairs, or you may be able to work standard 9 to 5 hours.
The large, remote state of Alaska is a wonderful state for diesel mechanics that love the wilderness. With large cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Sitka, there are plenty of big city living opportunities for those who are interested. However, there are also lots of smaller towns and villages for people who like life to move a little slower.
The cost of living in Alaska is considerably higher than the national average, according to Sperling's Best Places, particularly in the areas of food and utilities. However, they make up for this with the wide amount of diesel mechanic employers. The oil industry in Alaska has created a need for skilled, educated diesel mechanics that can work on transport trucks.