Study Diesel Equipment Technology at Missoula College

Earn your associate degree in diesel equipment technology from Missoula College and get hands-on training for high-demand careers. 

Since most of your classes focus on practical application, you’ll learn everything you need to know to become a diesel mechanic — from hydraulic and electrical systems repair to engine theory and diagnostics. 

Our diesel technology program concentrates on the heavy truck and construction industries and all major manufacturers are introduced in both the classroom and in lab settings. Along with your core courses, you’ll also take classes in welding, machining, computers, communications and math. Missoula College’s diesel equipment technology program is highly regarded by Montana employers and our graduates are prepared to excel as diesel specialists in any environment.


job growth through 2030



average hourly rate in Montana (plus significant overtime potential)


job placement for graduates

Other degree options for industrial technology at UM

Commercial Driver’s License Training (CDL)

Sustainable Construction

Heavy Equipment Operation

Building Information Modeling and Computer Aided Drafting and Design (BIM-CADD)

Welding Technology

What can you do with a degree in diesel equipment technology?

From farming to construction, our society runs on diesel. Your associate degree in diesel technology from Missoula College prepares you to work in a variety of industries on many different types of equipment.

Typically, we have 100% job placement at graduation. Our graduates work for major companies such as Caterpillar, John Deere, Peterbilt, Kenworth, Case, Cummins Engine Company, Knife River Construction, Modern Machinery and Burlington Northern Railroad. Starting out as technicians, many of them move on to dealership management roles. Some graduates also start their own businesses, in Montana or beyond.

Many of our students pair their diesel technology degree with our heavy equipment operations certificate or welding technology program which provides even greater job opportunities.

What is diesel equipment technology?

Diesel technology is the skill of maintaining and repairing any vehicle or other machinery that runs on diesel fuel.

Diesel specialists have an in-depth understanding of diesel-powered vehicles including the electrical system, engine and all of the connecting parts. Diesel technicians are trained to perform a variety of maintenance and repair services, from oil changes to complete engine overhauls.

Jobs in diesel equipment technology

Your diesel equipment technology degree from MC gives you the flexibility and versatility to work in many different industries and careers, including as technicians for:

  • Diesel engines
  • Fleet maintenance
  • Diesel locomotives
  • Farm equipment
  • Marine equipment
  • Construction equipment
  • Heavy machinery

Sectors that use vehicles that operate by diesel include:

  • Transportation: school buses, local and regional transit buses, 18-wheelers carrying goods, commercial cargo boats, freight locomotives and shipping companies like the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Agriculture: irrigation pumps, tractors, fertilizers and harvesters.
  • Construction: dump trucks, pavers, cranes and excavators.
  • Commercial generators: providing backup power to hospitals and housing complexes.

Diesel equipment technology salaries

Your associate degree in diesel technology provides you with earning power.

Depending on the environment, the starting salary for a diesel technology specialist is about $21 per hour. Mechanics with experience can easily earn over $31 per hour.

Additionally, since demand for diesel technicians is high, overtime hours are often available.

Experiential learning in the diesel equipment technology degree program

At the University of Montana, we are committed to providing the best hands-on experience to prepare you for the job you want. Our diesel equipment technology program consists of 50% classroom time and 50% lab time.

Your lab experience includes working with the latest industry technology such as ISX Cummins Diesel Engine Electronic training aid, Eaton auto shift transmissions and electronic Allison Automatic transmissions.

The lab also has three late-model class 8 trucks dedicated solely to your training as well as many types of construction equipment. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Perform maintenance service to automatic and manual transmissions.
  • Diagnose and repair engines.
  • Service and repair steering and suspension systems.
  • Service and repair electrical and electronic systems.
  • Service and repair exhaust systems and tires.
  • Service and repair exhaust systems.
  • Tear down and rebuild diesel engines and ensure they run again. 

You can also earn certification in diesel air conditioning and Bendix braking systems.

Internships result in jobs

Your diesel equipment degree class schedule works in tandem with internship opportunities in the Missoula area and you’ll have the opportunity to participate in several internships over your two-year associate degree program.

Internships give you the chance to apply the concepts you learn in class and use the training you receive in the lab. Since you work directly with local business leaders, you not only receive on-the-job training, you can also demonstrate the skills you are developing from your associate degree courses.

Most of our students continue their careers with the companies where they completed internships.

Career development in the diesel equipment technology degree program

The Missoula area is rich with major diesel manufacturers that often find themselves with more open positions than qualified candidates.

Our diesel technology program instructors have decades of combined teaching experience and are well respected in the industry — offering our students connections to local employers and access to immediate job opportunities. Nearly 100% of our associate degree program graduates find employment in their field. 

Because qualified diesel technicians are in demand, many local businesses/dealerships offer students the opportunity to work and receive funding for both tuition and tools while in school. There are national scholarships available through major corporations in the diesel industry and we also proudly support active military and veterans with financial assistance options.