Mechanics Needed

Are you a gearhead? Engine and machine repair is a growing field with good pay. Consider putting your skills to work on diesel engines, industrial machinery, or aircraft engines.

Diesel engines

The need for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in Kentucky is expected to grow by 7.56 percent from 2018 to 2028, from 3,865 jobs to 4,157 jobs.

Median wage is $43,374. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, many diesel technicians, especially those employed by truck fleet dealers and repair shops, receive a commission in addition to their base salary.

Several colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System offer diesel technology courses. You can get a certificate as a mechanic or mechanic helper. You can also earn an associate degree as a diesel technician in several tracks, including agriculture, construction equipment, and medium and heavy trucks.

Note: Many diesel technicians are required to have a commercial driver’s license so that they may test-drive buses and large trucks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why should you invest in postsecondary education to be a mechanic? Here’s what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says:

Workers without postsecondary education often require more supervision and on-the-job instruction than others. These untrained workers will face stronger competition for jobs because training is an expensive and time-consuming process for employers.

Once you have some experience as a diesel technician, you might consider becoming a supervisor. Median salary for first-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers is $62,929.

The engines of production

Thousands of jobs are available for industrial machinery mechanics. They keep the conveyors and packaging equipment used in warehouses up and running. This occupation will see double-digit growth of 12.39 percent from 2018 to 2028, from 9,067 to 10,190 jobs.

Average wage is $53,892. You can get started with courses in industrial maintenance technology, offered in the KCTCS system.

Flying high

Aircraft mechanics and service technicians in Kentucky make a median wage of $62,489 a year. You don’t need a four-year degree, either. You can get your start by enrolling in an aviation maintenance technician program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. You can find these programs in the KCTCS system.

The number of jobs for aircraft mechanics and service technicians in Kentucky is expected to increase 8.14 percent from 2018 to 2028, from 3,046 to 3,294 jobs.

You don’t have to live near the big airports to find training. If you’re in Appalachia, you might check out a new program offered by Eastern Kentucky University. EKU is starting an 18-month training program for aviation maintenance technicians.

Classroom instruction is planned at Hazard Community and Technical College; Big Sandy Community and Technical College; EKU Manchester; EKU Corbin; and EKU Richmond. Upper-level training will take place at Wendell H. Ford Regional Airport, Hazard; Big Sandy Regional Airport, Debord in Martin County; London-Corbin Airport; and Central Kentucky Regional Airport, Richmond. Contact EKU or your local community college for more information.

Figures from Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2028.


See more resources for:


See more resources about:

Adult Education