Diesel Technology

Student working on diesel rig

Diesel Technology - AAS-T

If you’d like a high-paying career upon graduating from BTC, then you should consider Diesel. You’ll be prepared to work right away as a diesel technician, repairing and maintaining heavy trucks, buses, and road equipment like bulldozers and graders. Other positions you’d qualify for are diesel engine specialist, truck technician, marine technician, and construction and industrial machinery repair technician. You’ll learn how to use leading-edge diesel technology, and work hands-on in an actual shop. Employers who hire graduates from the Diesel program include diesel automotive and trucking companies, rental companies, marine dealers, highway contractors, and farm and heavy equipment companies.

The average placement rate for Diesel graduates is 82%, and typical starting wages for this field are around $16-17 per hour, with an earning potential of approximately $27-28 per hour.* BTC’s Diesel program is certified by ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) as a Medium/Heavy Duty Truck Training Program. This assures that the curriculum follows the stringent standards identified by NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation). This program’s entry points are usually fall and winter quarters. General education and program-specific classes are offered days, evenings, and online; check our website for this program’s specific class times.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

68% BTC graduate placement rate1

$42,161 starting annual wage2
$52,704 average annual wage2
$66,481 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2017-18 and 2019-20. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program typically admits students once a year, in Fall quarter.

Additional Requirements:

Prior to enrolling in program classes, students are required to submit the following documentation to the Admissions & Advising Office:

  1. Copy of your valid Driver's License (with no restrictions due to driving offenses);

  2. Current complete 3-year driving record from Washington State DOL. This copy of your driving record will be kept on file for advising purposes only.

Important Program Notes:
  1. You are required to maintain a valid driver's license as long as you are enrolled in this program;

  2. Many employers and internship providers in this field will only hire applicants who have a clean driving record;

  3. Driving records (abstracts) can be obtained for a fee. It is the responsibility of the applicant to pay for and order their driving records. You may obtain a copy of your current "Abstract of Driving Record" at your local Department of Licensing or by accessing the Washington State Department of Licensing;

  4. A renewed copy of your valid driver's license (with no restrictions due to driving offenses) may again be required at the start of your second year in the program;

  5. All General Education courses must be completed prior to the beginning of the 2nd year.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at admissions@btc.edu for assistance with academic planning.

Program Application/Forms: Core Program Entry Packet

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 137

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • Quarter 1

  • TRANS 101Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1015 CR
  • TRANS 102Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1025 CR
  • TRANS 103Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1035 CR
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 CR
  • MATH& 107Math in Society5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • DET 129Shop Simulation15 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • DET 116Electrical/Electronics II6 CR
  • DET 201Hydraulics9 CR
  • DET 208Preventive Maintenance6 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • DET 139Field-Based Experience I12 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • DET 104Hydraulic Brakes2 CR
  • DET 106Electrical/Electronics I6 CR
  • DET 202Diesel Engines13 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • DET 239Field-Based Experience II12 CR
  • Quarter 7

  • DET 126Electrical/Electronics III6 CR
  • DET 203Drive Train5 CR
  • DET 204Air Brakes5 CR
  • DET 205Suspension/Steering5 CR
  • Electives

  • Electives24 CR
  • DET 139Field-Based Experience I12 CR
  • DET 239Field-Based Experience II12 CR
  • Note: These Field-Based Experience courses, listed under "Electives", are already reflected in the quarterly breakdown above.
  • DET 240Current Diesel Industry Topics I7 CR
  • DET 242Current Diesel Industry Topics II8 CR
  • Electives with Instructor Permission: These 24-Elective Credits may include up to 15-credits of approved college level classes determined by your faculty advisor.15 CR

Program Outcomes

After successfully completing this program, students will be able to:

  • Comply with personal and environmental safety practices specific to the diesel industry.
  • Evaluate and apply technical information and testing procedures from a variety of sources to troubleshoot diesel equipment.
  • Maintain, diagnose, and repair the following systems: engine, electrical, hydraulic, drive train, brakes, and steering/suspension.
  • Communicate and document work performed using trade specific language and digital images.
  • Act responsibly and ethically as an employee by being punctual, adhering to company policies and interacting positively and appropriately with co-workers, supervisors and customers.
  • Apply research techniques to identify emerging heavy equipment technologies.

Employment Outlook

About 78% of BTC Diesel students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual income in this field is $53,532, with an earning potential of about $67,179 per year.*

Driving citations will restrict or prevent student participation in some lab activities, internships and employment in the diesel repair industry.

Program graduates work as diesel technicians, repairing and maintaining the diesel engines that power transportation equipment, such as heavy trucks and buses. Some diesel technicians also work on bulldozers, cranes, road graders, farm tractors, and combines. A small number also repair boats or service a variety of diesel-powered electric generators, compressors, and pumps used in oil well drilling and irrigation systems.

Employers include diesel dealerships, diesel repair companies, diesel trucking companies, diesel marine dealers, farm equipment companies, and highway contractors. Potential positions include diesel engine specialist, truck technician, bus technician, construction and industrial machinery repair person, marine technician, ASE certified specialist, engine overhaul mechanic and service manager.

Faculty & Support

Marshall Link brings a strong background in the transportation industry with specializations in over-the-road trucks, engines and the electrical/electronics systems found in the complex world of multiplexed equipment. Marshall spent almost 11 years with Freightliner Northwest in Mount Vernon, WA where he stayed at the forefront of technological advances with factory specific training. He also holds alternative fuel certifications such as LP, Compressed Natural Gas, and Liquid Natural Gas. Prior to joining Bellingham Technical College, Marshall participated in numerous training classes and gained a behind the scenes view of how industry is currently producing trucks and engines. Marshall also was part of the Daimler Elite Support movement within the Freightliner/Wester Star truck networks that focused on Six Sigma/Lean principles. He is excited to share his industry expertise with the Diesel Technology students as he prepares them for a career in an ever advancing and growing industry.

  • Degrees and Credentials

    AAS, Diesel Technology, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State