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Diesel technicians have options in an evolving industry

Freightliner Northwest in Medford offers a wide variety of on the job training in its service department.

Posted: Jul 10, 2019 6:54 PM
Updated: Jul 16, 2019 10:40 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — The image of a diesel technician is grease from head to toe. While they do still have to get greasy sliding under semi-trucks, some of that work has changed. 

"Times have really changed. It's a lot of electronics, a lot of training, and lots of diagnosing vehicles with laptops. We are trying to change the narrative for the industry," said John Edwards the Regional Operations Director for Freightliner Northwest.

To be a diesel technician you have a lot of options. You can get schooling from a community college like RCC or places like UTI.  Or if you were a vocational student in high school or took automotive classes you can apply that here. A four year degree is not required.

"We have a lot of individuals here, myself included, that didn't graduate from a 4 year program. They don't have a master's degree. We are one of the trades," said Edwards. 

A lot of the learning will be done on the job. "We offer mentorship programs, apprenticeship programs, and lots of training," said Edwards. 

"Really different feeling I guess from a classroom to a shop where you can actually work on something and see what's going on," said Jake Davidson. He is part of the mentorship program. He just graduated from Crater Lake Charter Academy in May.

"The best learning experience you can achieve is working with your hands and being hands on. The way these guys are training me around here it's probably the best way to learn. Best way to gain knowledge on anything really," Davidson said. 

If you are interested in being a diesel technician, get ready to use your hands everyday.

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