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It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point to learn that Pickens Technical College’s Diesel Mechanic program is set up to get you a good job right after you complete the program. By tapping into up-to-date training and information designed to help Medium and Heavy-Duty Diesel Truck mechanics, you’re well on your way to a well-paying entry-level job.

According to Pickens’ own Gainful Employment Report on M/H diesel truck mechanics graduating from Pickens’ program, students usually all complete the program on time, get a job soon after graduating and earn $45,170 per year on average soon after graduation.

The question for you now then shouldn’t be how can I get a job after I graduate from Pickens, it should be how can make more than the average graduate in my first year on the job?

Be Aggressive

Nationally, the job market for diesel mechanics is incredibly favorable for job hunters. By some measures, 11,000 students per year are graduating from post-secondary tech programs in the US, not nearly enough to fill diesel repair positions for trucking companies around the country. According to a recent survey by the Technology and Maintenance Council, 90% of employers have a shortage of qualified candidates.

Trucking companies that engage with technical schools like Pickens generally find better candidates for their open positions faster, but many are struggling to find talent. That’s bad for them and good for you. Knowing there aren’t many qualified candidates out there when you’re looking for jobs after graduation gives you more negotiation power. You’re a wanted commodity and you should have a high price tag when you come out of the Pickens Diesel Mechanics program.

Cast a Wide Net

This subtitle is a fisherman’s metaphor, but it applies to the diesel mechanic job market you’ll be entering soon. Since most trucking and truck repair businesses in Colorado have a labor shortage, you’ll have plenty of options for employment. Take some time and seek out as many options as you can. You can use information about competing companies against each other to drive up your entry-level salary. Consider relocation as well, if you can swing it because there are sure to be many more trucking companies looking for talented diesel mechanics elsewhere in the United States, and even more worker-friendly job markets out there beyond Denver and Colorado.

Get What You Want

Beyond negotiating your salary, you should also consider what you value in the workplace, aside from money. If you’re anything like me, the first priority of a workspace is that you’re safe and relatively comfortable—that should go without saying. You might also have the leverage to negotiate for added workplace benefits beyond healthcare coverage, etc. Many workers of our generation value personal time and schedule flexibility over everything, including salary. Many trucking and repair companies are shifting their workplaces and employee compensation packages to accommodate you.

Stay in school, work hard in the Diesel Mechanics program at Pickens, and you’ll see a wide range of options when you graduate.