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Many job openings available for specialized big-rig technicians, parts pros

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 07:00
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Anyone interested in working with today’s Class 8 vehicles is in the driver’s seat when it comes to obtaining a career as a truck technician or parts professional. Employment opportunities abound, especially for those who are properly trained in servicing electronics, frames, suspensions, collision damage and other skills beyond engine repairs.

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Along with the well-publicized shortage of drivers, retirements and a paucity of younger people entering the field also are depleting the ranks of qualified truck repairers and parts counter people.

Although trucking OEMs are actively putting the pedal-to-the-metal in engineering autonomous 18-wheelers to start rolling freight on real-life highways, widespread adaptation is several years down the road. It’s likely that autonomous trucking will initially consist of convoys led by a specialized electronics-trained human driver behind the wheel of a front-running semi with a platoon of robotic big-rigs following behind.

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And the eventual arrival of fully self-driving tractor-trailers is expected to further drive demand for the repair segment because each unit will be logging more miles – a computer doesn’t need to take a break at a roadside rest stop.

There are many truck repair programs available throughout the country, but according to several industry experts, a potential technician or parts pro would be wise to choose courses that provide more than the typical instruction relating mainly to diesel engines.

“We do not consider the education programs adequate for our needs,” says Adam Pigeon, COO at Royal Truck and Trailer Sales in Dearborn, Mich., which has 22 full-service repair bays plus a busy parts department.

“It is very difficult to find both counter sales and outside parts sales representatives. Most of our counter staff started in our warehouses,” learning key details on-the-job and through supplier-offered instruction. “Our vendors are always willing to provide further training on their product lines,” says Pigeon.

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