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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone. I am new to the forum and looking for some advice. I would really like to become a diesel mechanic and work on heavy duty trucks as well as getting my ASE Master Certification when I have the experience to take the tests. My question is, does going to a NATEF (ASE) certified school for heavy duty trucks really matter or can I just go to any school that provides the training?

I ask because I am in southern california and the only NATEF certified school for heavy duty trucks is Universal Technical Institute and that is really expensive ($33,000 for the whole program :surprise: ). Where as there is a community college nearby that offers a Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Certificate of Achievement. That would cost me significantly less money (about $3,000 total). So does NATEF certification really matter?
 

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Ok so i will open up a can of worms,JRPrimetime,i would like to ask you a few questions, 1st how old are you? 2nd what type of mechanical background do you have? 3rd what is your attitude toward learning,4th what are your plans ? Do you just want to do engine work or would you like to be more rounded on complete truck repair (Brakes,tires,drivetrain ,electrical, ect.) I ask these because where i work, I have seen some people who have been thru the UTI school,some with good results ,some bad.I do not know the length of the course that you were looking at ,but i do not think that they can teach you everything in one or two semesters .Personally ,if you have a decent mechanical background,know how basic engines work,i would try to get a apprenticeship at a GOOD /Reputable shop and work with a Tru mechanic.You will learn ,it will cost you nothing,and you will get paid for learning.A few other things i will mention ,the cost of tools,be prepared for a major expense.also even if you go to a diesel school,most of the time when you start in a shop,you will not be turned loose on engine work right away,99.9 percent of the people who start at our shop ,start doing pm/services.and anyone who i believe is a exceptional mechanic ,always said the same things,that they started at the bottom and worked their way up. I do not want to steer you away from a trade school ,but i gave you some things to consider. By the way ,when I first started in this field,I worked with a engine man,my job was to hand him wrenches,clean parts,and do most of the crap jobs. I always felt that i had a good attitude,and the senior mechanics would show me tricks that they had learned from their experiences,these are things that can not be read in a book.This is just my opinion so i hope the other members do not beat me up on this. Bob
 

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Beat you up???? My friend, you are spot on. The only thing that the young man my have to take into account is getting a good grasp on the emissions aspect of vehicles since he is in Socialist Republic of California.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
1. I'm 24. 2. I have taken a beginning automotive course and found that I enjoyed working on vehicles. However that was 6 years ago and I haven't touched a car for maintenance since then (no tools). So mechanical background is pretty slim. 3. I am eager to learn. 4. I want to be well rounded and maybe later on focus on engines since I may want to transition from trucks to other fields that deal with heavy duty diesel engines. But for now I want to be a well rounded truck mechanic.

And sorry to sound like a broken record, but is it important to go to a NATEF certified school so I can get ASE certified?

I appreciate the feedback.
 

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Eager to learn,good attitude your 90 percent there. As for ASE certs ,i have never felt the need to take the test.others at my shop have ,some had master mechanic ASE certs in eng,driveline ect and i wouldn't let them work on my mower so i cannot say one way or the other to ase. To me a well rounded mechanic is worth his(or her) weight in gold. As i said in my previous response ,that we had a tech that graduated from UTi,and was excellent on Cummins ,but could not trace out a basic electrical circuit. also if you had him work on any other engine ,he was lost.(This tech did 9 months at UTi).The way i see things is if you enjoy working in that field,go for it. I would recommend that you focus heavy on use of a volt ohm meter,good computer skills and aftertreatment systems as electrical issues and aftertreatment faults are about 70 percent of our work flow. also when doing a job ,show some pride in your work ,never settle for good enough. We were just talking about this topic of getting some younger mechanics to come in and work with seasoned techs so we could show them things that we know. I am the youngest on my shift at 54, the others range up to 63,we are not getting any younger,and it seams like no one wants to do this anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would recommend that you focus heavy on use of a volt ohm meter,good computer skills and aftertreatment systems as electrical issues and aftertreatment faults are about 70 percent of our work flow.
Just curious as to what aftertreatment system faults are. I get the electrical part. Just not sure about the aftertreatment part. Also, have you had the experience of working for a fleet as an inhouse mechanic? That is what I am looking at doing when I finish my certification. Just looking for insight as to what it is like versus working for an independent shop or dealer. Thanks
 
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