Number of Students Graduating Diesel Tech Programs Drops – CCJ | CarTailz

According to annual surveys by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), a shortage of diesel technicians has been one of the top 10 problems facing auto transporters for the past two years, but this is far from a truck-specific problem.

The supply of incoming technicians from post-secondary automotive education programs in the U.S. declined 11.8% (to 28,866) in 2021, adding to the current and projected shortage of skilled workers needed to maintain the nation’s automotive fleet, according to the TechForce Foundation are needed Transportation Engineer Supply and Demand Report 2022. Supply of program graduates/graduates decreased by 2.6% and 0.4% respectively in the diesel and collision repair segments, but has declined by a total of 17% over the last five years.

Post-secondary programs are an important pipeline for diesel trading. According to that 2022 State of the diesel technicians report, a poll-based report created by CCJ Parent company Randall Reilly and sponsored by Shell Lubricant Solutions, approximately 42% of current technicians completed a trade/trade program in diesel engine repair, while 44% entered the field with a high school diploma and began an apprenticeship.

[Click here to download your free copy of the 2022 State of Diesel Technicians report, produced by Randall Reilly and sponsored by Shell Lubricant Solutions]

The deteriorating picture of technician supply – with total completions falling from 48,208 in 2020 to 44,052 in 2021 – overshadows a strong year-on-year recovery in technician employment in the automotive (+4.2%) and diesel (+6.5%) repair segments ). However, overall employment of collision repair technicians fell 0.7 percent, continuing a six-year decline.

TechForce estimates that demand for incoming automotive/diesel/collision repair technicians – for new jobs, replacements for job separations and vacancies from previous years – will reach 232,000 in 2022 and well over 900,000 overall by 2026.

Among the job fields of diesel, automotive and collision technician, diesel is in the better position as demand and supply are increasing. However, the influx of interest in the diesel engineer field appears to be at the expense of everyone else, said Craig Settle, who authored the report.

“In recent years there has been a rumor that you can make more money as a technician in the diesel/truck industry than in the car industry. So is that correct? The answer is yes,” he said, “and the difference is most evident when you start out as a new entrant. (Money) is the appeal of the diesel sector to enter career.”

Starting wages in 2021 for an automotive technician will average about $14 an hour, Settle said, while starting wages for a diesel technician will average $17 an hour.

“When you first enter the workforce, $3 an hour is very important. That $3-an-hour difference between the two industry segments is sustained by the lowest-paid segment of workers at 25%, which means it holds true for at least the first two to three-year careers,” he said. “The entry-level wage at pretty much every company is now $15 an hour, with no training, and those jobs are still unfilled in many cases. No prior experience required; McDonald’s, Burger King, Lowe’s, and the list goes on and on.”

When it comes to the average annual income between the two careers, automotive technicians average $48,000 while diesel technicians average $53,000.

“I think that’s why we’re seeing more interest in diesel careers than autos,” Settle said, “and I think that message resonated even more in 2020-2021.”

Collision completions have declined year-on-year since 2013, when completions stood at 7,469. They fell to 4,487 in 2021 – a 40% drop.

However, the demand-to-supply ratio for collision technicians, which Settle has put at 7.9 to 1 – “a sobering number,” he said – is somewhat mitigated by the fact that more workers with no post-secondary education are traditionally entering the accident industry than is in the automotive and diesel industries. What cannot be mitigated is the falling demand for their services.

“…over the last few years we’ve heard how the increasing implementation of more advanced safety systems will lead to fewer accidents,” he said. “It’s possible that we’ll see the positive effect of that.”

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