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Diesel Mechanic Salary Leads the Automotive Industry for Earnings: How Much Could You Make?

By Publisher
| Last Updated August 11, 2022

If you're already thinking about a career in motor vehicle repair but aren't sure yet what area you want to work in, this is worth your attention: the median diesel mechanic salary* and job outlook outpaces other careers in the vehicle servicing industry. For those who prioritize good pay and job security, diesel technology could be a promising future career field.

Learning diesel technology at a trade school can be the simplest way for an aspiring mechanic to learn specialized skills for the automotive field, with options for working on passenger vehicles, buses, trucks, heavy machinery, and more. And if you master those skills, you can start to find your place in a sector that pays well and offers a promising job outlook.

*Salary details within this article come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook May 2021 data.


How much do diesel mechanics make per year and per hour?

 There's a short answer and a longer answer to this question. So, let's look at both:

Short answer: The primary job category for diesel service technicians and mechanics reported a median annual wage of $48,690 ($23.41/hr), according to May 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent was paid less than $35,730 ($17.18/hr), and the highest 10 percent was paid more than $76,150 ($36.61/hr). However, this data doesn't cover other specialties within the diesel technology field.

And now the longer answer: The median diesel technician salary can vary significantly depending on where you live, what specialty and industry you work in, and your experience level.

To get a better idea of how much you might be able to make as a diesel mechanic, ask yourself the following:

What type of vehicle do I want to specialize in?

What industry do I want to work in?

Following are the top 4 industries in which diesel service technicians work, along with their median wages.

  • Local government, excluding education and hospitals: $60,670 annually ($29.17/hr)
  • Wholesale trade: $55,940 annually ($26.89/hr)
  • Automotive repair and maintenance: $47,630 annually ($22.90/hr)
  • Truck transportation: $47,120 annually ($22.65/hr)

Where in the U.S. do I plan on working?

  • A diesel mechanic's salary can vary quite a bit depending on the state they work in. Washington, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Connecticut all reported median pay of over $60,000 per year ($28.85/hr).
  • In Washington, even the lowest 10% of earners make up to $44,190 per year ($21.25/hr).
  • The top 10% of yearly diesel mechanic pay started at nearly $100k in a few states:
    • Massachusetts: $97,140 per year ($46.70/hr)
    • Washington: $96,290 per year ($46.29/hr)
    • Connecticut: $93,300 per year ($44.86/hr)
  • Here you can find diesel mechanic salary data for your state:
State Median Salary Median Hourly 10th Percentile 90th Percentile
Alabama46,42022.3230,28060,800
Alaska60,27028.9846,39079,730
Arizona48,48023.3136,76066,450
Arkansas42,70020.5329,53060,150
California60,55029.1137,65080,980
Colorado59,77028.7338,25078,260
Connecticut60,27028.9737,50093,300
Delaware48,39023.2735,72066,960
Florida48,34023.2436,75075,750
Georgia47,31022.7529,83062,720
Hawaii60,55029.1138,21076,910
Idaho47,20022.6935,83063,620
Illinois58,15027.9630,26077,710
Indiana47,40022.7936,79061,970
Iowa48,05023.1037,01064,020
Kansas47,87023.0136,29074,520
Kentucky47,12022.6631,72063,120
Louisiana48,21023.1833,47072,840
Maine47,16022.6736,81062,390
Maryland59,19028.4637,50076,540
Massachusetts60,55029.1138,27097,140
Michigan47,85023.0135,81062,850
Minnesota59,25028.4938,42077,230
Mississippi46,42022.3229,23062,600
Missouri47,12022.6632,58062,000
Montana47,41022.7922,68062,530
Nebraska47,12022.6631,51062,800
Nevada59,13028.4337,65076,220
New Hampshire54,14026.0337,43075,050
New Jersey59,77028.7339,27077,590
New Mexico47,31022.7530,43076,220
New York59,77028.7437,65080,280
North Carolina47,60022.8935,43063,010
North Dakota59,77028.7344,88075,050
Ohio47,84023.0033,91063,690
Oklahoma47,12022.6629,86062,000
Oregon48,72023.4237,07065,180
Pennsylvania48,19023.1732,61068,290
Rhode Island59,77028.7340,84075,940
South Carolina40,22019.3418,01061,830
South Dakota47,99023.0737,65061,810
Tennessee47,31022.7531,97066,310
Texas47,85023.0130,26075,000
Utah49,24023.6836,75075,940
Vermont47,40022.7937,12062,730
Virginia48,63023.3836,70073,000
Washington60,78029.2244,19096,290