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Diesel Mechanic vs. Electrician: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A diesel mechanic and an electrician are both skilled tradespeople who work with machines. Though their jobs are similar in some ways, there are several key differences between these two positions. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between diesel mechanics and electricians, and we provide information on what you can expect from each profession.

What is a Diesel Mechanic?

Diesel Mechanics repair and maintain diesel-powered vehicles, such as cars, trucks, buses, trains and construction equipment. They diagnose mechanical problems using a variety of tools, including computers, and then make the necessary repairs. Diesel Mechanics often replace worn parts, such as gaskets, hoses and belts. They may also need to weld or fabricate parts to repair a vehicle. They may work in a variety of settings, such as dealerships, repair shops, transportation companies or construction firms.

What is an Electrician?

Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems and components in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They use a variety of hand and power tools to strip, splice and connect wires and to install light fixtures, outlets, switchboards and other electrical equipment. Electricians also read and interpret blueprints and technical diagrams to determine the best way to complete a project. They often work with other tradespeople, such as plumbers and carpenters, to complete projects. Electricians must be able to work safely and follow all applicable safety regulations.

Diesel Mechanic vs. Electrician

Here are the main differences between a diesel mechanic and an electrician.

Job Duties

Diesel mechanics and electricians share some of their job duties, such as reading wiring diagrams, testing components and diagnosing issues. However, diesel mechanics focus more on the mechanical aspects of operating a vehicle while electricians focus more on the electrical systems. For example, when repairing or maintaining a truck, a diesel mechanic might change the oil, check the transmission or adjust the brakes. An electrician might install lighting, fix wiring problems or install battery charging stations.

Job Requirements

Diesel mechanics typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the field. However, many employers prefer candidates who have completed a diesel mechanic training program at a vocational school, community college or technical school. These programs usually last one to two years and cover topics like engine repair, brakes and electrical systems. Some diesel mechanics also pursue certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Electricians must complete an electrician apprenticeship program, which typically lasts four years. During their apprenticeship, electricians learn how to read blueprints, install wiring and troubleshoot electrical problems. Electricians must also pass an exam administered by the state they plan to work in to earn their journeyman license. Some electricians also choose to become certified through the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Work Environment

Diesel mechanics work in a variety of environments, including construction sites and factories. They may also work on vehicles that travel long distances or operate in remote locations. Electricians typically work in residential settings, such as homes and apartments. However, they may occasionally work in commercial buildings, like office complexes and shopping malls.


Both diesel mechanics and electricians need to have excellent problem-solving skills. This is because they are both responsible for diagnosing issues and then finding the best solution to fix the problem. For diesel mechanics, they often need to be able to identify problems with engines and then figure out the best way to repair or replace the engine parts. Electricians also need to be able to identify problems, but their focus is on electrical systems. They need to be able to find the root cause of an issue and then determine the best way to fix it.

Both diesel mechanics and electricians need to have strong technical skills. This is because they both need to be able to understand complex systems and then use their knowledge to fix problems. Diesel mechanics need to be able to understand how engines work and then use this knowledge to diagnose and repair issues. Electricians need to be able to understand electrical systems and then use this knowledge to find and fix problems.

Diesel mechanics and electricians also both need to have good physical strength and dexterity. This is because they both need to be able to lift heavy objects and use tools to fix problems.


The average salary for a diesel mechanic is $56,392 per year, while the average salary for an electrician is $58,096 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of work you’re doing, your location and your experience level.


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