Diesel Mechanic Schools in Arkansas
As you begin to look for diesel mechanic schools, you should consider the variety of schools in Arkansas. There are nine educational institutions that offer diesel mechanic classes, and they are evenly dispersed throughout the state. There are four universities, two community colleges, two technical institutes, and one college. The average acceptance rate for an Arkansas college is 54%, so you want to make sure that you have a very strong application when preparing for school. Schools are spread out amongst city areas, rural areas, and suburban areas, allowing you to choose where you want to live and study. You can expect to pay an average tuition cost of $2,700 per semester in Arkansas. However, that is easily offset by student loans and scholarships, which many Arkansas students receive.
Comparing Diesel Mechanic Schools in Arkansas
You may earn an Associate's degree in diesel technology at select Arkansas institutions, but the majority of schools offer a technical certificate to students. A technical certificate takes full-time students two years to complete, and it includes courses in Suspension and Steering, Electrical Systems, Diesel Systems, Diesel Fundamentals, and Electrical Systems. You may want to seek out a college that offers hands-on practice. For example, several of the diesel technology courses at Pulaski Technical College have a significant lab portion.
Arkansas students have unique scholarships available to them, which you may be able to win! The Ozark Regional Mustang Club Scholarship is awarded in varying amounts to Arkansas students studying automotive or diesel technology.
Working as an Arkansas Diesel Mechanic
If you decide to work as a diesel mechanic in Arkansas, you do not have to worry about getting licensed or certified before you begin working. However, it may be easier for you to get a job with formal education in diesel technology. After two years spent working as a diesel mechanic, you may be eligible to take ASE certification tests. ASE certification is a nationally accepted standard for auto and diesel mechanics. For just $31 per test in addition to a $36 registration fee, you can become certified in a variety of specialty fields.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide job growth for diesel mechanics is increasing at about 15%. This is expected to result in about 35,000 new diesel mechanic jobs in the country by 2020 (BLS, 2012).
In Arkansas, job growth for diesel mechanics is increasing about as fast as the rest of the country (O*Net, 2010). There are expected to be 110 new diesel mechanic job openings per year between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010).
When you begin working as a diesel mechanic in Arkansas, you may be able to earn a very competitive salary. According to O*Net, the median salary for diesel mechanics in Arkansas is $33,900 per year. The listed range of salaries starts at $22,500 and goes up to $48,900 per year (O*Net, 2012). You may start at the lower end of the salary range when you start out as a diesel mechanic, while certification and experience can help you earn on the higher end of the scale.
Working in Arkansas lets you choose from a variety of work places and environments. You may work at a leasing center, an auto dealer, a mechanic's shop, or a variety of other work places. Some of the largest diesel mechanic employers in Arkansas include Rush Truck Centers, Nelson Leasing, Penske in Little Rock, Ryder Logistics and Transportation in Fort Smith, and the Taylor Group Inc. in West Memphis.
After earning your degree or certificate in diesel technology, you may start out in an entry-level diesel mechanic job. If you earn ASE certification or earn a significant amount of experience, you may be able to get a more specialized diesel mechanic job.
If you want to become a diesel mechanic, Arkansas is a great state to study and work in. With a variety of educational and career choices, it has something for everyone. One of the biggest benefits of living in Arkansas is the cost of living. According to Sterling's Best Places, the cost of living in Arkansas is about 14% lower than the national average. This means that it can be a great place for someone with an entry-level career to start their life.
There are plenty of places to choose from in Arkansas. There are big cities, like Little Rock and Fort Smith. However, most of Arkansas is made up of small towns and villages. Even the cities in Arkansas have a safe, small-town feel.