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15 Most Affordable Diesel Mechanics Schools

Are you interested in a career that keeps you working with your hands? Have you ever been interested in how engines operate?

If you have, then a career in diesel engine technology might be the right path for you.


In today’s economy, diesel engine technicians are in high demand, but because this profession requires a minimum of only a high school diploma, a vast majority of potential mechanics achieve the bare minimum in terms of education, training, and certification–or otherwise none at all.

This means that getting a degree or professional certificate on top of some real-world experience will most definitely set you apart from other individuals on the market.

Trade School Careers has your best interest at heart, and that’s why we’ve compiled the following list of the most affordable diesel mechanic schools in the U.S. These colleges are ranked according to price rather than quality, meaning you could choose any school on this list and find a fully-comprehensive, top-of-the-line program that will fit your needs and give you the hands-on experience you want.

What it comes down to is this: building a career for yourself isn’t easy, but when you use the right tools and take your skillset to the next level, you can accomplish anything.

Most Affordable Diesel Mechanics Schools

1. San Diego Miramar College

Tuition: $1,144
Graduation Rate: 44%
Retention Rate: 74%
Student-Faculty: 27:1

Since its founding in 1969, San Diego Miramar College has been committed to the advancement of student education and career preparedness. For those interested in diesel technology, the school’s automotive technology program is exceptionally affordable and accessible. Students can earn certifications and an associate of science degree in automotive technology. Those who pursue this degree will be able to recognize and diagnose diesel engine and light-duty automotive systems components and utilize computer systems to research automotive repair procedures. They will participate in hands-on training and collaboration with professional instructors. All in all, SDMC is the optimal place for anyone invested in their future to earn a degree or certificate and become an expert in their field.

2. Santa Ana College

Tuition: $1,180
Graduation Rate: 28%
Retention Rate: 100%
Student-Faculty: 28:1

Santa Ana College is a community college situated in the heart of Southern California. In the region, it is unmatched in terms of its program affordability, and the school itself offers a wide variety of specialized tracks and courses. Specifically, the automotive technology program offers an associate’s degree, but they provide professional certificates in different specializations, as well. These include advanced engine performance, automotive business technology, chassis service, drive train service, engine performance and electrical, engine service, automotive air conditioning maintenance, and alternative fuels and hybrid maintenance options. For those looking to jumpstart the automotive technology career they already have, or else get a solid foundation in the industry off which to build their skillset, Santa Ana is the perfect option for you.

3. Shasta College

Tuition: $1,189
Graduation Rate: 22%
Retention Rate: none reported
Student-Faculty: 25:1

Since its founding in 1950, Shasta College has been committed to the furthering of education and career training for those in the surrounding community of Redding, California. The school keeps its rates highly affordable and offers a wide variety of courses and degree programs to choose from. Through its Division of Business, Agriculture, Industry, Technology, and Safety (BAIT), students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the art of automotive technology, eventually working toward an associate of science degree or professional certificate in the field. Students have the opportunity to participate in the Bureau of Automotive Repair emissions program, as well. All in all, Shasta is one of the best options for prospective diesel technicians who are fully invested in their futures and ready to start on the path to success.

4. Citrus College

Tuition: $1,196
Graduation Rate: 40%
Retention Rate: 70%
Student-Faculty: 27:1

Citrus College is a post-secondary educational institution situated in the heart of California. Its automotive technology program is both highly affordable and accessible and is one of the best in the state. Students who take part in this curriculum have the opportunity to earn associate’s of science degrees in both automotive tech and medium and heavy diesel truck technology. There are also professional certifications available in specializations like automotive maintenance and light repair, research and development, and service diagnostic repairs. For Citrus graduates, finding a career in this field is relatively easy, and positions are available as both technicians and specialists. Ultimately, Citrus College is an ideal place to achieve your post-secondary goals toward a career in the field of automotive technology.

5. Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Tuition: $1,238
Graduation Rate: 20%
Retention Rate: 56%
Student-Faculty: 21:1

Since its founding in 1925, Los Angeles Trade Technical College has been the foremost institution for obtaining post-secondary career training and education in the greater LA region. The demand for automotive specialists in this region of the state is especially high. That’s why LATTC’s automotive tech programs are some of the best in the state. Students on these tracks become proficient in maintenance, diagnosis, overhaul procedures, and electrical and fuel injection systems. Equipped with these skills, LA Trade students often continue on to successful careers as automotive repair technicians. All in all, LA Trade Techincal College is one of the best options for aspiring diesel mechanics in the nation.

6. San Joaquin Delta College

Tuition: $1,288
Graduation Rate: 30%
Retention Rate: 66%
Student-Faculty: 37:1

San Joaquin Delta College has been committed to the furthering of education and career training for its surrounding community of Stockton, California since it was founded in 1935. The school offers associate’s degrees in diesel technology, automotive technology, automotive body repair and restoration, and automotive electric technology. Its diesel program, in particular, affords students hands-on experience and opportunities to advance into the workforce. Jobs in this arena include bus and truck mechanics, diesel engine specialists, mechanic supervisors, automotive service technicians and mechanics, and transportation inspectors. All in all, San Joaquin Delta is the optimal place for prospective diesel technicians and auto mechanics to jumpstart their careers and take the first step into a successful future.

7. American River College

Tuition: $1,288
Graduation Rate: 29%
Retention Rate: 64%
Student-Faculty: 25:1

American River College is one of the foremost institutions for automotive and diesel technology career training in the nation. In terms of price, it is the best place to earn an associate of science degree in diesel technology. For this degree program, in particular, students become familiar with power trains, hydraulic principles, preventative maintenance, brake systems, and many other specializations. By the conclusion of the program, students will be adept with shop equipment, familiar with engine system components, and be able to identify and repair transmission, electrical, and hydraulic issues. All in all, American River College provides the most affordable diesel technology program and would provide the best foundation for your future career as a diesel engine technician.

8. Santa Rosa Junior College

Tuition: $1,328
Graduation Rate: 36%
Retention Rate: 68%
Student-Faculty: 19:1

Since its founding in 1918, Santa Rosa Junior College has been committed to the furthering of career training and education in its surrounding central California community. The school runs an industrial and trade technology department that trains students in a variety of fields. For example, SRJC offers associate’s degrees in automotive technology and diesel equipment technology, as well as certificates in a wide range of specializations in those two fields. Through hands-on training, students in these programs can graduate and become heavy equipment mechanics, Journeyman service technicians, fleet mechanics, and many other options. All in all, SRJC is an optimal choice for any potential diesel auto mechanic invested in their future.

9. Palomar College

Tuition: $1,344
Graduation Rate: 29%
Retention Rate: 67%
Student-Faculty: 26:1

Palomar College has been serving its surrounding community of San Marcos, California, since its establishment in 1946. Today, the school offers a wide variety of easily accessible programs, but one of its most notable is its automotive and auto body technology programs. These tracks train students to develop mastery in auto chassis drive lines, electronic tune-up and computer control systems, and general mechanics. With the skills they gain from these courses, students can go on to pursue careers as drive-line repair experts, auto body technicians, and even significant manufacturing industry employees. Overall, students who choose to pursue their educations at Palomar have a high chance of a successful and satisfying lifelong career.

10. Long Beach City College

Tuition: $1,556
Graduation Rate: 22%
Retention Rate: 65%
Student-Faculty: 28:1

Long Beach City College has been at the forefront of career training and education since its founding in 1927. Situated directly on the Southern California coastline, this school is the perfect environment for students to thrive. Its advanced transportation technology degree and automotive technology program prepare individuals for successful careers in the auto technology field by helping them become proficient in automotive history, diagnostics, hydraulics systems, electrical systems, and so much more. These skills put LBCC graduates at an advantage as they pursue careers as general automotive repair technicians, quick service mechanics, business owners, and any number of other technician positions. Ultimately, Long Beach City College is the perfect place to jumpstart your future and give you a clear direction on your path to success.

11. San Juan College

Tuition: $1,618
Graduation Rate: 29%
Retention Rate: 67%
Student-Faculty: 12:1

Since its founding in 1956, San Juan College has been committed to the furthering of education and technical career training for its surrounding community of Farmington, New Mexico. The school operates a wide variety of programs, but some of its most notable are the auto body degree, five different automotive technology specializations, and the diesel technology program. These courses teach students to be proficient in computer-based diagnostics, power chains, hydraulic systems, electrical systems, and many others. The students that graduate from this program often go on to find careers as automotive body repairers, service technicians, diesel mechanics, and so much more. All in all, SJC is one of the best places to earn the qualifications and real-world experience necessary to find success and become an expert in your field.

12. San Jacinto Community College

Tuition: $1,872
Graduation Rate: 32%
Retention Rate:
Student-Faculty: 23:1

San Jacinto Community College is one of the foremost institutions for career training and higher learning in the state of Texas. As one of the top ten community colleges in the nation, San Jacinto provides a comprehensive educational experience that is easily accessible to students from all walks of life. The school supports over 200 study specializations, but some of its most popular focus in the automotive technology realm. For example, the automotive technology and diesel technology programs both include a wide range of degrees, including FAST specialties, Toyota, Mopar, Honda, Ford, and General Motors emphases. Coursework involves hands-on training and real-world experience under the instruction of professionals with field expertise. Ultimately, San Jacinto is the best place to jumpstart your career in the diesel industry and get a head start on the path to success.

13. Mesalands Community College

Tuition: $2,136
Graduation Rate: 45%
Retention Rate: 69%
Student-Faculty: 12:1

Since its founding in 1979, Mesalands Community College has been committed to the furthering of career education and training in its surrounding community. The school offers a variety of different degrees and programs, but its power technology programs are some of the most notable–both the automotive technology and diesel technology associate of science degrees. The skills taught in these courses propel students into the workforce with real-world experience under their belts. Most of the courses require time in the shop, working on class 8 trucks and gaining that experience. Students who graduate Mesalands with a degree or certificate in automotive or diesel technology can become engine repair specialists, business owners, diesel truck mechanics, and many other options that will provide them with a successful lifelong career.

14. Amarillo College

Tuition: $2,136
Graduation Rate: 28%
Retention Rate: 62%
Student-Faculty: 19:1

Amarillo College has been dedicated to the advancement of individualized career training and education since its founding in 1929. Today, the school operates as a public institution that promotes equal opportunity and dedication. Amarillo’s diesel mechanics technology program opens doors to students by providing them with an expansive knowledge base in engine diagnostics, hydraulics systems, and real-world experience. Those who graduate from this program with an associate’s degree or professional certificate of diesel technology often go on to pursue careers as mechanics, auto repair specialists, and many other professions in an expanding job market. Ultimately, Amarillo is the place to establish a stable foundation for your future and gain the skills you need for a successful lifelong career.

15. Kilgore College

Tuition: $2,160
Graduation Rate: 32%
Retention Rate: 63%
Student-Faculty: 18:1

Since its founding in 1935, Kilgore College has striven to make a positive impact on its surrounding community of Kilgore, Texas. That’s why it offers over-program options in a variety of different fields. In terms of automotive mechanics, specifically, Kilgore operates a fully-comprehensive dual degree and certificate program through which students can earn an associate’s of applied science or a professional certificate in diesel technology. Through this program, students gain proficiency in specialties relating to truck technicians, heavy equipment, engine diagnostics, repair, and maintenance, as well as many others. With these areas of expertise, Kilgore graduates often go on to pursue careers in industrial mechanics, automotive technology, hydraulics, and more. Ultimately, those who attend Kilgore are invested in their futures and are determined to create lifelong success.

List of 181 schools 


The schools at the bottom of the list, starting at WyoTech, show the total cost for their Diesel Mechanics program.

School NamesStudent to Faculty RatioTuitionRetention RateGraduation Rate (4-year)
San Diego Miramar College27$1,14474%44%
Santa Ana College28$1,180100%28%
Shasta College25$1,189 22%
Citrus College27$1,196 70%40%
Los Angeles Trade Technical College21$1,23856%20%
San Joaquin Delta College37$1,28866%30%
American River College25$1,28864%29%
Santa Rosa Junior College19$1,32868%36%
Palomar College26$1,34467%29%
Long Beach City College28$1,55665%22%
San Juan College12$1,61853%25%
San Jacinto Community College23$1,87232%
Mesalands Community College12$2,13669%45%
Amarillo College19$2,13662%28%
Kilgore College18$2,16063%32%
South Plains College16$2,26040%21%
Odessa College21$2,28060%30%
Guilford Technical Community College18$2,28957%29%
Beaufort County Community College9$2,51863%44%
Wilkes Community College8$2,57268%45%
Central Arizona College15$2,58051%19%
Yavapai College17$2,60062%33%
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College14$2,63267%33%
Johnston Community College10$2,65761%43%
Southeast Community College Area12$2,73661%31%
Cape Fear Community College14$2,7487%27%
Wake Technical Community College18$2,76870%28%
Central Piedmont Community College19$2,79252%22%
East Arkansas Community College11$2,820 52%41%
Broward College26$2,83033%
Lamar Institute of Technology21$2,84461%27%
Arkansas State University-Newport13$2,85668%38%
Arkansas State University-Beebe17$2,92863%39%
Truckee Meadows Community College21$2,934 26%
West Georgia Technical College20$3,05256%32%
University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana14$3,07051%43%
St Philip’s College18$3,11255%28%
Central Community College14$3,12068%41%
Southern Crescent Technical College17$3,12667%51%
College of Eastern Idaho11$3,12667%46%
Itawamba Community College20$3,16071%50%
Atlanta Technical College12$3,16450%44%
Honolulu Community College15$3,17457%23%
Metropolitan Community College Area14$3,19552%22%
Hawaii Community College13$3,20463%34%
Del Mar College14$3,32050%13%
Dodge City Community College12$3,33050%30%
College of Western Idaho20$3,33658%25%
College of Southern Idaho21$3,36027%26%
Copiah Lincoln Community College20$3,38067%50%
Southwest Mississippi Community College24$3,38065%41%
North Idaho College13$3,39656%28%
Mid Plains Community College11$3,42069%42%
Helena College University of Montana14$3,44756%41%
Casper College14$3,48064%37%
Great Basin College18$3,59373%44%
Western Wyoming Community College11$3,60060%38%
Seward County Community College and Area Technical School15$3,61656%50%
Hinds Community College15$3,75053%33%
Northeast Community College18$3,75068%52%
Ozarks Technical Community College15$3,79662%33%
Saint Louis Community College19$3,82558%21%
Spokane Community College18$3,82632%
Northern Maine Community College11$3,830 53%41%
College of Southern Nevada21$3,848 16%
Community College of Aurora29$3,94752%31%
Fletcher Technical Community College22$3,98151%5%
Snow College20$4,00066%49%
Bellingham Technical College16$4,00437%39%
Washington State Community College12$4,00856%32%
Davis Technical College10$4,04154%62%
Oklahoma City Community College23$4,05954%13%
Southwest Texas Junior College20$4,06270%30%
Salt Lake Community College18$4,08660%30%
Northwest Louisiana Technical College8$4,10965%49%
Southeastern Illinois College16$4,14063%39%
Crowder College13$4,17266%37%
Lower Columbia College14$4,18222%
Northshore Technical Community College20$4,20356%28%
South Louisiana Community College23$4,20556%33%
Eastern Iowa Community College District25$4,29664%40%
Dixie Technical College8$4,33586%75%
Northeast Mississippi Community College22$4,39066%39%
Skagit Valley College14$4,43135%
Big Sandy Community and Technical College15$4,44855% 32%
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College22$4,44861%41%
Hazard Community and Technical College15$4,44860%44%
Maysville Community and Technical College18$4,44866%47%
Owensboro Community and Technical College19$4,44865%42%
Somerset Community College16$4,44862%34%
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College17$4,44857%37%
West Kentucky Community and Technical College16$4,44863%53%
Ashland Community and Technical College16$4,48862%48%
Klamath Community College15$4,49752%35%
Laredo College29$4,50037%
Grays Harbor College14$4,50340%
Clark College12$4,52936%32%
South Texas College22$4,53055%26%
Indian Hills Community College14$4,56054%41%
AVTEC-Alaska’s Institute of Technology12$4,57281%95%
Western Technical College9$4,57253 43%
Northern Wyoming Community College District15$4,59048%40%
Lake Washington Institute of Technology12$4,60943%
Laramie County Community College14$4,61328%
Gateway Technical College7$4,68870%39%
Fox Valley Technical College12$4,74674%56%
Centralia College14$4,77044%
H Councill Trenholm State Community College13$4,770 51%23%
Portland Community College20$4,81062%18%
South Seattle College17$4,83130%
Lone Star College System21$4,84848%18%
Walla Walla Community College15$4,85036%
Florence Darlington Technical College18$4,87054%16%
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville20$5,02664% 58%
Massasoit Community College14$5,16057%16%
Rogue Community College17$5,18450%9%
Des Moines Area Community College20$5,22060%32%
BridgeValley Community & Technical College12$5,28450%30%
Kirkwood Community College18$5,30863%37%
Lane Community College17$5,33356%20%
J F Ingram State Technical College6$5,47265%22%
Tidewater Community College20$5,56156%26%
North Dakota State College of Science12$5,64667%41%
Linn Benton Community College20$5,67552%24%
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology17$5,77440%
Minnesota State Community and Technical College24$5,86262%44%
Alexandria Technical & Community College20$5,91068%62%
Central Lakes College-Brainerd19$5,95458% 48%
Montana State University Northern14$5,95570% 31%
Hawkeye Community College17$5,97764%28%
Williston State College23$5,98155%41%
Iowa Central Community College17$6,00050%38%
Utah Valley University24$6,01067%38%
Montana State University Billings15$6,02258%28%
Weber State University21$6,22866%41%
Iowa Western Community College18$6,33056%29%
Vincennes University20$6,44952%30%
Bates Technical College16$6,51658%43%
Northwest Iowa Community College13$6,54078%62%
Blue Mountain Community College15$6,64142%20%
Lake Area Technical College17$6,71882%74%
Texas State Technical College Waco14$6,95071%40%
Lewis Clark State College15$6,98261%37%
White Mountains Community College8$7,05070%54%
Salina Area Technical College5$7,46066%62%
The Community College of Baltimore County16$7,47453%16%
North Central Kansas Technical College10$7,69285%78%
Idaho State University13$7,87263%39%
Automeca Technical College-Bayamon26$7,89571%71%
Sheridan Technical College11$8,15570%69%
SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill16$8,67676%45%
SUNY Morrisville14$8,74173%38%
SUNY College of Technology at Alfred17$8,85778%54%
Illinois Central College17$9,90066%33%
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges – Wabash Valley College26$10,05668%56%
Miller-Motte College-Arizona Automotive Institute10$10,82055%52%
Southeast Technical Institute6$11,12573%56%
University of Northwestern Ohio23$11,50054%60%
Parkland College14$11,58063%33%
Advanced Technology Institute14$13,20066%72%
Sunstate Academy-Jones Technical Institute16$13,69866%75%
Rosedale Technical College15$15,66389%85%
Vermont Technical College9$16,08265%54%
Pennsylvania College of Technology14$17,16075%50%
North American Trade Schools15$18,06484%72%
Pennco Tech-Blackwood18$18,75062%71%
Johnson College12$20,02566%68%
Western Technical College (El Paso, Texas)30$20,60067%67%
Lincoln Technical Institute-South Plainfield13$33,59581%79%
Universal Technical Institute of Arizona Inc41$35,80072%58%
Universal Technical Institute-Dallas Fort Worth43$35,80069%60%
Universal Technical Institute of Pennsylvania Inc34$35,95069%60%
Universal Technical Institute of Illinois Inc45$36,20074%58%
Universal Technical Institute of California Inc44$37,05063%51%
Universal Technical Institute of Northern California Inc39$37,05071%54%
Universal Technical Institute-Southern California47$37,05068%49%
Universal Technical Institute of Texas Inc.33$41,90058%51%
Automotive Training Center-Exton24$43,80092%66%
Automotive Training Center-Warminster20$43,80074%50%


How much does diesel school cost?

The most affordable Diesel Mechanic school, that we at have found, is San Diego Miramar College. $1,144 is the tuition cost at this school.

How do you become a certified diesel mechanic?

  • Earn a high school diploma
  • complete 3-4 years of training
  • or earn a certificate
  • or earn an associate’s degree in diesel engine repair or service technology and earn a certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)

Compare your school options.

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