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Career and Education Opportunities for Bus or Truck Garage Mechanics in Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for bus or truck garage mechanics. About 1,720 people are currently employed as bus or truck garage mechanics in West Virginia. By 2016, this is expected to grow 3% to 1,770 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for bus or truck garage mechanics, which sees this job pool growing by about 5.7% over the next eight years. Bus or truck garage mechanics generally diagnose, adjust, or overhaul trucks, buses, and all types of diesel engines.

Bus or truck garage mechanics earn about $13 hourly or $28,250 per year on average in West Virginia and about $18 per hour or $39,390 per year on average nationally. Earnings for bus or truck garage mechanics are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Heavy Transport Equipment in West Virginia and better than general Heavy Transport Equipment category earnings nationally.

The Charleston area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree 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, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Charleston include:

  • Boat Mechanic. Repairs and adjusts electrical and mechanical equipment of gasoline or diesel powered inboard or inboard-outboard boat engines.
  • Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul mobile mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment, such as cranes, bulldozers, and conveyors, used in construction, logging, and surface mining.
  • Outdoor Power Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul small engines used to power lawn mowers, chain saws, and related equipment.
  • Refrigeration Mechanic. Install and repair industrial and commercial refrigerating systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Bus or Truck Garage Mechanic Training

Ben Franklin Career Center - Dunbar, WV

Ben Franklin Career Center, 500 28th St, Dunbar, WV 25064. Ben Franklin Career Center is a small school located in Dunbar, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 390 students. Ben Franklin Career Center has a one to two year 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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.