15 Most Affordable Diesel Mechanics Schools


15 Most Affordable Diesel Mechanic 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.

1. American River College

Tuition: $1,104
Graduation Rate: 27%
Retention Rate: 71%
Student-Faculty: 27:1

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.

2. San Diego Miramar College

Tuition: $1,144
Graduation Rate: 38%
Retention Rate: 74%
Student-Faculty: 29:1

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.

3. Santa Ana College

Tuition: $1,160
Graduation Rate: 2%
Retention Rate: none reported
Student-Faculty: 35:1

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.

4. Shasta College

Tuition: $1,186
Graduation Rate: 20%
Retention Rate: none reported
Student-Faculty: 28:1

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.

5. Citrus College

Tuition: $1,190
Graduation Rate: 36%
Retention Rate: 75%
Student-Faculty: 43:1

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.

6. Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Tuition: $1,220
Graduation Rate: 27%
Retention Rate: 58%
Student-Faculty: 20:1

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.

7. San Joaquin Delta College

Tuition: $1,288
Graduation Rate: 28%
Retention Rate: 75%
Student-Faculty: 35:1

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.

8. Santa Rosa Junior College

Tuition: $1,324
Graduation Rate: 37%
Retention Rate: 77%
Student-Faculty: 20:1

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: $1,338
Graduation Rate: 29%
Retention Rate: 70%
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. San Juan College

Tuition: $1,546
Graduation Rate: 28%
Retention Rate: 57%
Student-Faculty: 15:1

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.

11. Long Beach City College

Tuition: $1,556
Graduation Rate: 18%
Retention Rate: 71%
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.

12. San Jacinto Community College

Tuition: $1,872
Graduation Rate: 32%
Retention Rate: 72%
Student-Faculty: 20:1

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: $2,004
Graduation Rate: 46%
Retention Rate: 72%
Student-Faculty: 18:1

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. Kilgore College

Tuition: $2,064
Graduation Rate: 23%
Retention Rate: 58%
Student-Faculty: 14:1

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.

15. Amarillo College

Tuition: $2,136
Graduation Rate: 31%
Retention Rate: 72%
Student-Faculty: 20:1

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.

List of 187 schools 


The schools at the bottom of the list, starting at Platt College-Arizona Automotive Institute Arizona, show the total cost for their Diesel Mechanics program.

School NamesStudent to Faculty RatioTuitionRetention RateGraduation Rate (4-year)
American River College27$1,10471%27%
San Diego Miramar College29$1,14474%38%
Santa Ana College35$1,160 24%
Shasta College28$1,186 20%
Citrus College43$1,19075%36%
Los Angeles Trade Technical College20$1,22058%27%
San Joaquin Delta College35$1,28875%28%
Santa Rosa Junior College20$1,32477%37%
Palomar College26$1,33870%29%
San Juan College15$1,54657%28%
Long Beach City College28$1,55671%18%
San Jacinto Community College20$1,87272%32%
Mesalands Community College18$2,00472%46%
Kilgore College14$2,06458%23%
Amarillo College20$2,13672%31%
Odessa College22$2,18451%30%
Dodge City Community College15$2,19055%37%
South Plains College25$2,24046%21%
Guilford Technical Community College18$2,31953%20%
Yavapai College18$2,49258%31%
Beaufort County Community College10$2,51861%33%
Wilkes Community College11$2,57266%38%
Central Arizona College17$2,58054%21%
Southeast Community College Area12$2,59262%31%
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College14$2,63260%17%
Dixie Technical College7$2,64494%63%
Johnston Community College15$2,65754%39%
Cape Fear Community College14$2,74869%23%
Truckee Meadows Community College20$2,766 30%
Wake Technical Community College18$2,76866%18%
Central Piedmont Community College19$2,79255%18%
Athens Technical College14$2,79458%40%
Atlanta Technical College15$2,82055%38%
Broward College30$2,830 38%
Arkansas State University-Newport15$2,91376%20%
East Arkansas Community College9$2,92556%30%
Arkansas State University-Beebe17$2,92866%31%
Northwest Louisiana Technical College12$2,97649%63%
University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana16$2,98060%35%
Crowder College13$3,00064%28%
St Philip’s College20$3,03056%21%
West Georgia Technical College18$3,05260%34%
Metropolitan Community College Area14$3,10553%16%
Southern Crescent Technical College16$3,12662%40%
College of Eastern Idaho10$3,12673%54%
Central Community College14$3,15067%41%
Itawamba Community College19$3,16068%47%
Honolulu Community College15$3,17459%15%
Copiah Lincoln Community College20$3,18068%45%
Hawaii Community College14$3,20457%27%
Great Basin College15$3,24863%36%
Southwest Mississippi Community College24$3,28064%46%
Mid Plains Community College11$3,30062%48%
College of Western Idaho22$3,33652%21%
College of Southern Idaho19$3,36059%27%
North Idaho College13$3,39653%27%
Saint Louis Community College19$3,40559%16%
Seward County Community College and Area Technical School15$3,42061%38%
Hinds Community College17$3,45065%26%
Helena College University of Montana12$3,45556%28%
AVTEC-Alaska’s Institute of Technology15$3,49094%91%
Ozarks Technical Community College15$3,53661%29%
Lamar Institute of Technology17$3,60261%30%
Spokane Community College21$3,634 24%
College of Southern Nevada23$3,652 9%
Northeast Community College16$3,66067%48%
Northern Maine Community College12$3,74170%42%
Davis Technical College10$3,76363%58%
Casper College13$3,83459%37%
Bellingham Technical College18$3,83446%59%
Snow College20$3,83664%45%
Community College of Aurora23$3,84060%27%
Washington State Community College14$3,87851%30%
Clark College13$3,879 24%
Salt Lake Community College18$3,92960%28%
Western Wyoming Community College13$3,93058%37%
Lower Columbia College13$3,94254%22%
Northeast Mississippi Community College22$3,97668%31%
Fletcher Technical Community College23$3,98157%20%
Skagit Valley College15$4,000 24%
Oklahoma City Community College25$4,05948%10%
Southwest Texas Junior College21$4,06262%28%
Northshore Technical Community College26$4,10348%43%
Northern Wyoming Community College District16$4,17066%41%
Grays Harbor College16$4,204 33%
South Louisiana Community College23$4,20553%25%
Lone Star College System21$4,24454%18%
Del Mar College14$4,27556%13%
Indian Hills Community College14$4,32057%33%
The Community College of Baltimore County15$4,35448%11%
Ashland Community and Technical College17$4,36859%39%
Big Sandy Community and Technical College21$4,36861%27%
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College22$4,36859%33%
Hazard Community and Technical College17$4,36853%35%
Maysville Community and Technical College22$4,36862%42%
Owensboro Community and Technical College19$4,36861%38%
Somerset Community College21$4,36856%28%
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College20$4,36863%34%
West Kentucky Community and Technical College18$4,36867%45%
Sheridan Technical College15$4,37565%60%
Lake Washington Institute of Technology12$4,418 39%
Klamath Community College15$4,42549%26%
Laramie County Community College15$4,43365%28%
South Texas College23$4,44072%22%
Western Technical College9$4,44063%40%
Laredo College27$4,50068%37%
Gateway Technical College8$4,52760%28%
Centralia College15$4,542 39%
Portland Community College19$4,55863%21%
Fox Valley Technical College11$4,64070%51%
Walla Walla Community College16$4,700 41%
H Councill Trenholm State Community College14$4,71053%28%
Rogue Community College18$4,71656%12%
South Seattle College18$4,717 32%
Florence Darlington Technical College16$4,77250%11%
Des Moines Area Community College19$4,80060%31%
BridgeValley Community & Technical College12$4,86447%29%
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville15$4,92966%76%
Lane Community College17$4,95658%19%
Massasoit Community College17$4,99261%17%
Kirkwood Community College19$5,02862%29%
Linn Benton Community College18$5,10555%17%
North Dakota State College of Science13$5,31772%49%
Eastern Iowa Community College District19$5,37663%35%
Williston State College25$5,37856%39%
J F Ingram State Technical College11$5,40072%50%
Lake Area Technical Institute17$5,51481%71%
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee15$5,550 36%
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology15$5,550 36%
Minnesota State Community and Technical College18$5,56062%45%
Tidewater Community College20$5,56157%23%
Alexandria Technical & Community College22$5,56568%62%
Central Lakes College-Brainerd18$5,61157%48%
Hawkeye Community College18$5,62468%32%
Iowa Central Community College17$5,70048%35%
Utah Valley University22$5,82064%35%
Texas State Technical College Waco15$5,87770%41%
Texas State Technical College15$5,87770%41%
Montana State University Billings14$5,93354%29%
Montana State University Northern15$5,95566%35%
Weber State University21$5,98665%34%
Southeastern Illinois College18$6,00062%36%
Vincennes University22$6,07456%28%
Blue Mountain Community College18$6,22378%26%
Iowa Western Community College18$6,24052%22%
Northwest Iowa Community College12$6,24069%65%
North Central Kansas Technical College10$6,39889%74%
Southeast Technical Institute14$6,44873%45%
Bates Technical College21$6,49762%48%
Lewis Clark State College12$6,98263%40%
White Mountains Community College7$7,09069%54%
Automeca Technical College-Bayamon16$7,60161%75%
Idaho State University13$7,87263%33%
Salina Area Technical College12$8,31570%68%
TDDS Technical Institute5$8,48086%75%
SUNY College of Technology at Alfred18$8,85269%56%
SUNY Morrisville16$8,87064%33%
SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill16$8,88474%40%
Illinois Central College17$9,60071%39%
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges – Wabash Valley College27$10,05667%57%
University of Northwestern Ohio24$11,50051%58%
Parkland College17$11,58064%23%
Advanced Technology Institute20$13,20075%75%
Sunstate Academy-Jones Technical Institute16$13,69874%68%
Rosedale Technical College15$15,12560%75%
Vermont Technical College11$15,29277%51%
Pennsylvania College of Technology14$17,16080%47%
Pennco Tech-Blackwood18$18,00063%73%
North American Trade Schools17$18,06488%82%
Johnson College9$19,74574%61%
Platt College-Arizona Automotive Institute Arizona22$20,66355%52%
Western Technical College (El Paso, Texas)30$27,09970%77%
Universal Technical Institute of Massachusetts Inc24$32,15071%55%
Universal Technical Institute of Texas Inc.33$32,55066%57%
Lincoln Technical Institute-South Plainfield15$32,86580%66%
Universal Technical Institute-Auto Motorcycle & Marine Mechanics Institute Division-Orlando37$33,45069%60%
Universal Technical Institute of Arizona Inc37$33,75079%70%
Universal Technical Institute-Dallas Fort Worth39$33,75077%62%
Universal Technical Institute of Pennsylvania Inc37$33,90069%64%
Universal Technical Institute of Illinois Inc43$34,10077%63%
Universal Technical Institute of California Inc40$34,95069%51%
Universal Technical Institute of Northern California Inc37$34,95072%68%
Universal Technical Institute-Southern California34$34,95069%66%
Automotive Training Center-Exton24$40,80065%65%
Automotive Training Center-Warminster22$40,80055%63%


How much does diesel school cost?

The most affordable Diesel Mechanic school, that we at Tradeschoolcareers.com have found, is American River College. $1,104 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)
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