There are over 242,000 truck mechanic jobs in the USA. With over 15.5 million trucks in the United States, 2 million tractor trailers, and 3.5 million truck drivers, there will always be a high demand for trained mechanics.
I have been a truck mechanic for over 34 years. I specialize in Thermo King and Carrier Transicold refrigerated truck and trailer units.
Before I became a mechanic, I was a Dental Hygienist in the Navy. I had never turned a wrench in my life and barely knew how to check the oil in my car. After I was discharged in 1977, I worked on a construction road crew as a heavy equipment operator. We were building an extension to the runway at the Albuquerque International Airport. It was 100 degrees outside and I was sitting in the shade of my Caterpillar sheep foot tractor, (a large tractor with special wheels made to compact the earth). Some of the crew had joined me for lunch.
A white service truck drove up to a Caterpillar loader that was parked near us. Out came this guy dressed in white overalls and a yellow hardhat. He opened one of his side boxes, pulled out a book, and went over to the loader and started poking around. I didn’t have a clue what he was doing so I asked the driver of the loader who was sitting with me, “who the heck is that guy?”
“He’s a Caterpillar mechanic” the driver stated. “So what is he doing to your loader,” I asked. “I don’t know” he replied, “but I do know that he makes three times as much money as we do.” That got my attention. The Caterpillar mechanic was clean and didn’t even break a sweat during the time he was there. “You know, I think I could do that kind of work”. Everyone had an opinion about that. But after they had all finished laughing at me, I still couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.
I did a little research and found that a mechanic not only was paid well but never had to worry about finding a job. I had my GI Bill which gave me three years of income to go to school and retrain myself. So I took the risk and enrolled into a local Vocational Tech College in a two year Diesel Truck Mechanic course.
It has been a lot of years since then, and boy was I wrong about staying clean. I worked for my first couple of years rebuilding Detroit Diesel engines, and every night I would go home stained black from all the dirty oil I had to deal with. I paid my dues and now work repairing transport refrigerated trucks and trailers. I would recommend my occupation to anyone who likes to solve problems and doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. It really is rewarding work.