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Diesel Technology

Students working on a diesel rig

Diesel Technology - AAS

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 will 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.

To learn more about Bellingham Technical College programs you’re interested in, join us for a Virtual Program Info Session. Prior sign up is required. If you do not see an Info Session for the program you’re interested in, email for more information.

Employment Information

78% BTC graduate placement rate

$41,065 starting annual wage
$53,532 average annual wage
$67,179 potential annual wage
  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 75th percentile

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program admits students once a year, in the fall quarter.

Prior to registering for program classes, students are required to submit the following documentation to the Admissions 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;

  3. Signed Industry Expectations form indicating that you understand program admissions requirements and industry hiring standards.

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, 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 his/her 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) will 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 for assistance with academic planning.

Program Application/Forms: Core Program Entry Packet

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 132

  • Quarter 1

  • TRANS 101Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1015 CR
  • TRANS 102Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1025 CR
  • TRANS 103Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1035 CR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • DET 129Shop Simulation15 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 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

The need for diesel technicians is high. People who enter this field will find favorable opportunities, especially as the need to replace workers who retire increases over the next decade.

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. Other options include working on bulldozers, cranes, road graders, farm tractors, combines boat repair or service on 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

Photo of Marshall Link
Marshall Link

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.