One hundred percent of recent graduates of Klamath Community College’s Diesel Technology program are currently working in their field of study, according to professor Jeffrey Rush, the Diesel Technology department’s lead faculty.
The students, all of whom graduated in June of this year, are earning starting wages between $12 and $28 per hour, with an average starting wage of $18.75 among all graduates. “This is really an in-demand profession right now,” Rush said. “I’ve been taking non-stop phone calls from employers who are actively seeking technicians.”
Each of the graduates left the KCC program with not only an associate degree in diesel technology, but multiple certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) as well. “That’s really what employers want to see,” Rush said. “It’s an internationally recognized, industry certification that tells employers that these graduates have the skills and training necessary to go to work.”
Many of the graduates are working in Klamath Falls, while others have relocated to other states, including Wyoming and North Dakota. “There are higher wages being paid in some states compared to others right now due to higher demand for trained technicians in those areas,” Rush said, “but there is a need for diesel techs just about everywhere in the country at this time, including right here in Klamath County.”
KCC’s Diesel Technology program heavily features hands-on learning and real-world application of concepts, plus the latest technology, including laptop diagnostics. “We have state-of-the-art labs and technology here,” Rush said. “These students aren’t just sitting in the classroom, they’re getting their hands dirty and getting to work.”
KCC is opening a new cohort of diesel technology to interested students this fall. Classes start September 29, but students must attend new student orientation, meet with an academic advisor, and complete their financial aid package prior to the start of classes. “Now is really the time to come in and make sure everything is in order and they are ready to start classes this fall,” Rush said. “There aren’t many fields where you can go straight to work earning up to $50,000 or more after just two years of study.”