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Career and Education Opportunities for Bus or Truck Garage Mechanics in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for bus or truck garage mechanics in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. Currently, 4,360 people work as bus or truck garage mechanics in Iowa. This is expected to grow 14% to 4,980 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for bus or truck garage mechanics are expected to grow by about 5.7%. In general, bus or truck garage mechanics diagnose, adjust, or overhaul trucks, buses, and all types of diesel engines.

A person working as a bus or truck garage mechanic can expect to earn about $17 hourly or $35,840 yearly on average in Iowa and about $18 per hour or $39,390 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for bus or truck garage mechanics are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Heavy Transport Equipment in Iowa and better than general Heavy Transport Equipment category earnings nationally.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Cedar Rapids area, including one within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree to start your career as a bus or truck garage mechanic. Given that the most common education level for bus or truck garage mechanics is a high school diploma or GED, it will take only a short time to learn to be a bus or truck garage mechanic if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Bus or Truck Garage Mechanic

Bus or Truck Garage Mechanic video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, bus or truck garage mechanics diagnose, adjust, or overhaul trucks, buses, and all types of diesel engines. They also includes mechanics working primarily with automobile diesel engines.

Bus or truck garage mechanics use handtools such as screwdrivers and precision instruments, as well as power tools such as pneumatic wrenches and jacks and hoists. They also examine brake systems and other important parts to insure that they are in proper operating condition. Equally important, bus or truck garage mechanics have to attach test instruments to equipment, and read dials and gauges to diagnose malfunctions. They are often called upon to perform routine maintenance such as changing oil and lubricating equipment and machinery. They are expected to rewire ignition systems and instrument panels. Finally, bus or truck garage mechanics examine and maintain automotive and mechanical equipment and machinery such as pumps and compressors.

Every day, bus or truck garage mechanics are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they control objects and devices with precise control.

It is important for bus or truck garage mechanics to recondition and remove parts, pistons and valves. They are often called upon to rebuild gas or diesel engines. They also specialize in repairing and maintaining parts of the engine. They are sometimes expected to align front ends and suspension systems. Somewhat less frequently, bus or truck garage mechanics are also expected to use handtools such as screwdrivers and precision instruments, as well as power tools such as pneumatic wrenches and jacks and hoists.

Bus or truck garage mechanics sometimes are asked to operate valve-grinding equipment to grind and reset valves. They also have to be able to test drive trucks and buses to diagnose malfunctions or to insure that they are working properly and raise trucks and heavy parts or equipment using hydraulic jacks or hoists. And finally, they sometimes have to rebuild gas or diesel engines.

Like many other jobs, bus or truck garage mechanics must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Farm Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul farm machinery and vehicles, such as tractors, harvesters, and irrigation systems.
  • Refrigeration Mechanic. Install and repair industrial and commercial refrigerating systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Bus or Truck Garage Mechanic Training

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has an associate's degree program in Diesel Mechanics Technology/Technician which graduated six students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Truck Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist: The Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist (L2) test consists of questions that test technicians' diagnostic knowledge of diesel engine mechanical and computer-controlled fuel systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Master School Bus Technician: The ASE School Bus Technician Test Series includes seven certification exams: Body Systems and Special Equipment (S1), Diesel Engines (S2), Drive Train (S3), Brakes (S4), Suspension and Steering (S5), Electrical/Electronic Systems (S6), and Air Conditioning Systems and Controls (S7).

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Master Transit Bus Technician: The ASE Transit Bus Test Series has two certification exams: H4-Brakes and H6-Electrical/Electronic Systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Transit Bus Technician: Brakes: Successfully passing test H4 will certify you in transit bus brakes.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Transit Bus Technician: Electrical/Electronic Systems: Successfully passing test H6 will certify you in transit bus electrical/electronic systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Truck Equipment Specialist: Installation and Repair: Successfully passing test E1 will certify you as a truck equipment specialist in installation and repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Truck Equipment Specialist: Electrical/Electronic Systems: Successfully passing test E2 will certify you as a truck equipment specialist in electrial/electronic systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Truck Equipment Specialist: Auxiliary Power Systems: Successfully passing test E3 will certify you as a truck equipment specialist in auxiliary power systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.