NEXT PROS: Nick Hockenberry, Diesel Technician

By Arkansas Next staff on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Jacob Slaton
“I was able to find a job in my career right out of high school with good benefits, good pay and good hours. I also had training and two years of experience in my career before I even got done with school.” – Nick

Nick Hockenberry

High school: Gentry High School Conversion Charter | Age: 19 | Where I trained: Diesel Technician Program through Gentry High School Conversion Charter and on-the-job training at McKee Foods Corporation | What I earned: Certificate in Heavy Duty Truck Technology | Job title: Truck Technician | Employer: McKee Foods Corporation in Gentry

What does a diesel technician do?

Diesel technicians inspect, maintain, repair and care for diesel engines. Some diesel technicians specialize in a specific type of vehicle. When commercial transportation has malfunctions, they diagnose the problems and find solutions.

“Every day is not the same thing over and over again. There is always something new to learn. I am able to apply the things I know and find my own ways of completing a job.” - Nick


• Inspect and drive vehicles to troubleshoot problems.

• Use diagnostic equipment and interpret results.

• Perform routine maintenance such as changing the oil and aligning the wheels.

• Repair any malfunctions in the equipment or replace parts.

• Communicate with customers.

• Utilize charts to plan work procedures.

• Tire repair.

• Clutch adjustment or replacement.

• Perform wheel end maintenance and repair.

Job Outlook

Expected growth from 2016 to 2026 in Arkansas.

Average annual job openings in Arkansas.

Jobs in Arkansas by 2026.

"There is always something new to learn. I am able to apply the things I know and find my own ways of completing a job. I can level up by getting certain certifications and meeting requirements to do so. Once I become a ‘topped out’ technician, there are supervisor positions."Nick on upward mobility

This option is for you if:
You have a passion for fixing things.
You love playing with the latest technology.
You thrive in a changing work environment.
You have a sharp attention to detail.
You’re a team player.
You can keep a clean work area

High-end earners in Arkansas (top 10%) make

Median wages in Arkansas
$38,610 Annual
$18.56 Hourly


Arkansas State University–Beebe
Arkansas State University–Mid-South
Arkansas State University–Newport
Arkansas Tech University–Ozark Campus
East Arkansas Community College
University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith–College of Applied Science & Technology
University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology – McGehee
University of Arkansas Cossatot
University of Arkansas Hope–Texarkana


Arkansas Electric Cooperatives
Arkansas Trucking Association
CalArk International
Doggett Freightliner
McKee Foods Corporation
Riggs Caterpillar
Simmons Foods Inc. & Affiliates
Stribling Equipment
Tyson Foods
Union Pacific Railroad


See more of The New Path to Success:
17 Hot Jobs in Skilled Trades