California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

   Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists in California

May also be called: Diesel Mechanics; Farm Equipment Engine Mechanics; Fleet Mechanics; Medium and Heavy Truck Mechanics; Tractor Trailer Mechanics

What Would I Do?

Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists repair and maintain the engines that power transportation and other equipment. Mechanics may focus on certain parts of an engine, while others work on various systems of a truck, bus, or heavy equipment. Some Mechanics may specialize in alternative fuel vehicle maintenance and repair.

Green Economy(1)
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists will play an important role in the emerging green economy. They will assist in reducing the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions while increasing fuel efficiency.

Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists normally work in well-lit and ventilated shops that can be drafty, greasy, and noisy. Most work a 40-hour week. Some work outdoors and may travel to repair vehicles on the road.

Will This Job Fit Me?

This job may appeal to those who enjoy practical, hands-on problems and solutions, in addition to working with tools and machinery.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists who are employed on commission receive earnings that vary with the amount of work completed.

The median wage in 2016 for Bus and Truck Mechanics in California is $52,206 annually, or $25.10 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Common benefits for Mechanics include vacation and sick leave, medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, as well as retirement packages. Mechanics may receive additional benefits from membership in unions.

What is the Job Outlook?

Over the long run, Mechanics will be required as additional trucks are needed to keep pace with the increasing volume of freight shipped nationwide. In addition, the use of vehicles powered by alternative fuels is expected to increase in buses, trucks, and passenger vehicles because they are more efficient and environmentally friendly.(1) However, like many occupations, employment may be sensitive to the fluctuations in the economy.

(1)This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This solution is copyrighted by the institution that created it. Internal use by an organization and/or personal use by an individual for non-commercial purposes is permissible. All other uses require the prior authorization of the copyright owner.

How Do I Qualify?

Employers generally prefer to hire workers with a high school diploma or the equivalent with some experience or who have completed a formal training program in diesel mechanics, medium and heavy vehicle and truck mechanics, automotive mechanics, or alternative fuel technologies. Mechanics need a California commercial driver license to test-drive trucks or buses on public roads. Many employers also require applicants to pass a physical exam, drug test, and background check.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Employers frequently advertise job opportunities on the Internet and in newspapers as well. Unions may offer job search assistance though their Web sites or hiring halls. Graduates of formal training programs may also obtain job leads from the school placement office.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Bus and Truck Mechanics