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Madison College – Diesel Technology Programs

About Us

Madison College offers our students a top rated relevant education in the diesel industry focusing on over-the-road trucks, construction and heavy equipment, and also agriculture equipment. Our Diesel Equipment Technology (AAS) program and our Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician (diploma) program work with an active advisory committee made up of over 30 local industry businesses, with industry partners throughout Wisconsin. Students who choose the Associate Degree Path (AAS) will also put in 432 hours of work as a PAID intern with one of our industry partners, gaining more hands-on, real-world experience and receiving a jump-start on an excellent career. Students in the Diesel programs at Madison College learn real and relevant curriculum that meets and exceeds standards set by the ASE Education Foundation and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Both our diesel programs are certified by the ASE Education Foundation and hold master certifications in medium/heavy-duty trucks.


  • Engines Lab
  • In-frame Overhaul
  • Setting up the dial bore gauge
  • Big donation of an A26 Navistar engine and tools. Pictured are representatives from Navistar and Lakeside International along with the diesel faculty.
  • Student demonstrating measuring liner protrusion
  • Gabe working on our Volvo L60H wheel-loader
  • Hunter Alignment and Preventative Maintenance pit
  • Electrical, Drivetrains, Brakes and Suspension first year lab
  • First year lab with some of our compact equipment.
  • Measuring cam bores
  • SkillsUSA-WI State Diesel Competition 2019
  • SkillsUSA-WI State Diesel Competition 2019
  • SkillsUSA-WI State Diesel Competition 2019
  • DPF removal and inspection
  • And he wondered why he had excessive toe-out
  • SkillsUSA WI, College Postsecondary and Second year Diesel Technology student Tim Beckman Earned a GOLD medal at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference on April 6th in Diesel Equipment Technology. Tim will now compete at the SkillsUSA National Conference this June in Atlanta, GA. Pictures is Tim in the center, Tim' parents and the Service manager and Assistant Service Manager of Lakeside International in Madison.  
Congratulations Tim!
  • Deerfield students learning how to install a drive hub and adjust wheel bearings.
  • Deerfield High School learned how to install drive hubs and adjust wheel bearings.

Under The Hood

Provide a quick overview of the program (i.e., time to complete, credits, type of degree, etc.).

Madison College is one of the best diesel schools in the nation. We offer two separate diesel programs to fit every students' learning needs. Our Diesel Equipment Technology program consisting of 65 credits and students will earn an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree (AAS) upon completion. Our Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program consists of 54 credits and students will earn a technical diploma upon completion. Both our programs work with an active advisory committee made up of over 30 local industry businesses, with industry partners throughout Wisconsin and the Nation. Students in the diesel programs at Madison Area Technical College learn real and relevant curriculum that meets and exceeds standards set by both the ASE Education Foundation and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Both our programs are certified by the ASE Education Foundation and hold master certifications in medium/heavy-duty trucks. As a student in the diesel programs at Madison College, you will diagnose, service and repair: • Engines and heavy-duty fuel systems • After treatment and emissions systems • Transmissions, driveline, and braking systems • Steering, suspension, and track drive systems • Electrical and electronic systems • Hydraulic and hydrostatic systems • Air conditioning and transport refrigeration systems. You will also: • Learn workplace safety standards • Learn metal repair techniques • Develop relationships with industry partners • Perform preventive maintenance on major diesel systems • Learn effective customer service skills for the diesel industry • Work on diesel trucks and equipment in simulated shop environments.

Is this a full or part time program?

We recommend full time to get the full benefit of the programs, but one can be on a part time basis in either program.

Describe how classes are conducted (i.e, in-person, online, in the shop, etc.).

All our core diesel classes are done in person with 60% of class time spent in our labs working on vehicles/equipment. Some of the general education classes are done online, but usually there is an in-person option.

What does the program cost?

The Diesel Equipment Technology (AAS) program costs $11,640.00 between tuition, materials, and supplemental costs. The Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician program costs $10,000.00 between tuition, materials, and supplemental costs. Both of these program costs are based upon the two-year duration of the program.

What types of financial assistance or scholarships are available?

There are many sources for funding to help pay for college including federal, state and private funds. The good news is that most use the same, free application known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Madison College Foundation is the home for scholarships directed specifically to Madison College Students. They make it easy to apply for a pool of scholarships with one application. For more information please visit: https://madisoncollege.edu/paying-for-college/financial-aid/scholarships The Foundation of the Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers (WATDA) is pleased to announce that scholarships will be available in 2022 for graduating high school seniors, adult students and continuing technical college students who are pursuing a career in the auto and truck industry. Current technical college students must be in their first year of a two-year program to be eligible. Scholarships consist of tuition, Snap-on Tools and employment assistance. The WATDA Foundation awards 60 to 80 scholarships per year to students attending Wisconsin Technical College System. For more information please visit: https://www.watda.org/scholarship.html

Describe the application process and eligibility.

1. Admission Application - The online application allows you to save your work as you complete it and ensures fast, secure delivery to our office. 2. Education Completion - Graduation from high school, completion of GED/HSED/GED02, or completion of an associate degree or higher is required; submit official transcripts for one of the following: High school or charter school transcript (current high school seniors may submit an in-progress transcript) or GED02 transcript GED/HSED score report College transcript showing an associate degree or higher. 3. Residency Requirement - Based on historical trends at Madison College a waitlist is not expected to form for these programs. Therefore all applicants, regardless of residency status, are eligible for application review. Learn more about residency determination and program availability. Additional Notes - Course prerequisites differ from admission requirements; admission into a program does not guarantee eligibility to enroll in courses or success in the program. Refer to program curriculum for details. After Acceptance - Once you are admitted into your program, review the Start of Semester Checklist to prepare for your first day of classes at Madison College. Questions? Contact the Enrollment Center at EnrollmentServices@madisoncollege.edu or 608.246.6210. For more information please visit our diesel admissions webpage - https://madisoncollege.edu/academics/programs/diesel-equipment-technology#admission

What types of work-based learning opportunities do you offer?

Students who choose the Associate Degree Path (AAS) will put in 432 hours of work as a PAID intern with one of our industry partners, gaining more hands-on, real-world experience and receiving a jumpstart on an excellent career. We strongly recommend that every student works in the diesel industry with one of our program industry partners or other diesel industry employers while attending classes in order to gain additional hands-on experience. Almost all our students are working in our industry while going to school.

Describe your annual placements (i.e., number of students, percent who find a job in the industry, etc.).

Over 90% of our students are employed in the diesel industry while attending school and continue with their career after graduation. The remaining 10% of students typically return to their family farms or continue their education to earn another degree.

What types of salaries can students expect after graduating and as they advance in their career?

The average salary is $19-30 per hour after graduation, depending upon which part of the diesel industry the student desires (On-highway Truck, Heavy Equipment, Construction, Agricultural or Industrial). We know of several graduates that are making $100,000+ after being in this industry for only 5 years.

Is there anything unique about your program that you’d like to mention?

We have 6 full time faculty and staff with over 125 years of combined experience in our program. In fact, five of the faculty members graduated from our diesel programs here at Madison College. They started and maintained careers in this industry, and returned back to their Alma mater to share their experiences to the next generation of diesel technicians. The other staff member was a graduate of Western Technical College in La Crosse, WI earning a Diploma in their Diesel Technician program. Here at Madison College, we take pride in working with the community and our advisory committee throughout the year. Students during our lab sessions have an opportunity to work on customer vehicles and equipment to gain their hands-on knowledge. Customer projects are approved by the instructors based on the relevant curriculum. Students who work on customer vehicles/equipment gain the knowledge of failure analysis, diagnoses, OEM repair procedures and customer service, knowing that the vehicle/equipment will be going back to the customer for use. Our diesel department has a great partnership with another Wisconsin technical college, Waukesha County Technical College, and their Truck Driving program. Our program students maintain the fleet of Class 7 and Class 8 trucks and trailers used for WCTC’s driving program. Our students maintain trucks that driving students will then use to drive on our open highways. Our program is extremely active in SkillsUSA. We take pride in earning medals in our state competition. When we earn gold medals, it means we are representing the state of Wisconsin at the national competitions in Atlanta, Georgia. To date, we have had two gold, two silver, and one bronze medal national champions, with several others making fourth and fifth place.

What general and specialty tools does the school provide?

Here at Madison College, we supply all the tools a student needs to be successful in the program. Students are assigned a toolbox that is filled with every basic hand tool: ¼” drive through ¾” drive, pneumatic and battery-operated tools, and everything in-between. Each of these toolboxes are also supplied with specialty tools for the given class the students are enrolled in. We also have a large variety of industry specific tooling from aftermarket and OEM to complete just about any job the students will face while at school.

What tools, if any, is a student responsible for providing?

We believe the students’ personal tools are to be used at their place of employment and not at school. But if a student wants to bring their own specific tool for a class (i.e. digital multimeter) we will allow them to bring that tool in to gain more knowledge on it. There are many student discounts for tooling (through national tool vendors) while at school, and we recommend purchasing these whenever possible because it is expected for students to have tools when working in this industry.

When in the lab, how much one-on-one time does an instructor get with each student?

About 60% of the total class time is spent in the lab working on projects. Students work in two person groups so there are more one-on-one opportunities during their time in the lab. During a student’s first year, typically the lab sessions are monitored by the instructor and instructional assistant to guide and help students while working on projects. Our classes are 4-5 day per week, 4-6 hours per day. This allows for a potential 6-hour work day, and works well when working on a vehicle/equipment to complete jobs in a timely fashion and get the students more hands-on experience.

What is the split between time spent in the classroom versus hands-on learning?

This varies upon the class being taught, but most classes average a 40:60% split between classroom and lab. There are many days when the class period is all lab but very few where the class period is all classroom.

What does the school do to ensure students stay safe while in the lab?

Student safety is our #1 priority and we know that accidents can and do happen. We have a “0” tolerance for unsafe practices starting with a students PPE. All students are required to wear ANSI-Z87 rated safety glasses with side shields (even if a student wears prescription glasses), steel-toed leather footwear, and industry appropriate clothing like company uniforms. There are specific department policies that a student must follow while in a lab setting. The student signs a 2-page safety document agreeing to the department specific policies before entering the lab. Lastly, all safety related standard operating procedures are properly demonstrated to the students before the students are allowed to preform said processes.

What types of processes does the lab have to ensure a clean working environment?

The students are graded on “Clean and safe work area” and putting tools where they belong. In each class syllabus, the first competency is related to safety, so the students know they are being assessed.

Does the school have access to factory software? If so, please explain.

YES! Our programs are partnered with many OEM’s and OEM dealers. These companies want students to become accustomed with using their service software. Some of these partners are: Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Bobcat, Volvo Construction, and Paccar--just to name a few.

What types of service and parts software are available for the students to access?

Like with our factory software, many of our program partners allow access to their web-based service, parts, and service training programs. A few OEM’s even allow individual student access to these programs. Some instructors assign the service training virtual classes as supplemental course work for several of our core diesel classes. For students interested in light duty automotive diesel vehicles, there is access to several aftermarket web-based service and parts programs like AllData and AERA PROSIS.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the lab environment?

We want everyone to know that we have high expectations of diesel students at Madison College. We expect students to "get dirty,” learn from industry professionals, have the desire to "tear apart big and heavy stuff,” and most importantly to be here every day to start their career in this industry. Students have the opportunity to work on a customer’s vehicle or equipment, or to work on the many program fleet vehicles/equipment, like our 2006 Vogele paver, our 2019 L60H Volvo wheel-loader, and many Class 7 and Class 8 truck manufactures between model years 2013-2016. Opportunities are there, all you need to do is start your career as a diesel student at Madison Area Technical College.

Diesel Equipment Technology: Associate Degree (AAS) Curriculum

To learn more about the Diesel Equipment Technology (AAS) program curriculum, please click the link below. https://madisoncollege.edu/academics/programs/diesel-equipment-technology#curriculum

Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician: Diploma Curriculum

To learn more about the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician diploma program curriculum, please click the link below. https://madisoncollege.edu/academics/programs/diesel-equipment-technician#curriculum

Jason Herheim

I’m a graduate of the Madison Area Technical College Diesel and Heavy Equipment Program. I spent 11 years in the trucking industry as a Technician, Shop foreman, and Service Writer. Somewhere in there I was given the opportunity to teach a couple part time classes at Madison Area Technical College. My first part time class was Fall of 2001. I found the teaching roll to be very rewarding. Fall 2005 I was hired as a full-time instructor. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside some of the best Heavy Equipment educators anywhere and work with some bright students who have become leaders in the industry. I generally teach the 2nd year students in Fuel Systems, Electronic Engine Controls and Diesel Engine Diagnostics with a few other classes sprinkled in as needed to adjust schedules.

Aron Kershaw

I graduated Madison Area Technical College with an Associate Degree in Diesel Technology in 2003 and earned a second Associate Degree in 2005 in Business Management. I have worked in the trucking industry since 2000. I had fleet level experience through high school, followed by 14 years with Wisconsin Kenworth. I have done most everything on Class 7 and Class 8 trucks from bumper to bumper for six years. I followed it up with eight years of guiding technicians, coordinating work, and assisting customers as a night shift foreman. I started instructing at Madison College in 2014 alongside 5 of the best mentors. I teach Diesel Shop Skills Fundamentals, Heavy Duty Drivetrains, Brakes, Steering, and Suspension as well as filling in with other courses as needed. I help coordinate the Madison College SkillsUSA chapter and the SkillsUSA Diesel Students. I enjoy seeing student success and seeing graduates on the job.

Jeffrey Hein

I’m the Diesel Program’s Lab Coordinator and I’ve held this position at the College for 17 years. I have to say, I enjoy what I do, and appreciate the great staff and students I work with every day here at the College. Before working at Madison College, my Diesel career started with attending Western Technical College – Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Program, in La Crosse, WI. I really enjoyed school and worked very hard to graduate with High Honors. Before Graduating, I started working for a small Semi-Truck/Trailer fleet in La Crosse as a technician. I worked many hours while going to school, which helped progress my schooling to be more successful. After working five years for this fleet, I decided to move to the Madison area, for another Career opportunity with a large Semi-Truck/Tanker Fleet as a technician. I held this position for over three years and enjoyed the work. Very fast paced and challenging, with a variety of different tasks on a day-to-day basis, which I really enjoyed. I’m ASE -- Heavy-Duty Master Truck Certified, L2 Advanced Engine Performance Certified, Petroleum Tanker Inspector Certified, ASE – Federal and State Mobile Air Conditioning Certified, and I have attended many OEM technician qualification service schools related to the diesel and heavy equipment industry throughout my career.

Tom Wozniak

I’m a 1987 graduate from Madison Area Technical College’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment Program. I spent the first 13 years of my career working as an industry technician, shift foreman, and a lead training mentor for Schneider National Carriers. In 1999, I was the Training Director for a Wisconsin on-highway truck dealer group which then gave me the opportunity to be a Training Specialist for a Wisconsin based severe-duty truck OEM in 2001. While working for these three companies, I was also teaching part-time in the diesel programs here at Madison College. I became a full-time instructor in the fall of 2003 replacing my instructor and mentor whom retired. I teach primarily second year students in diesel engine overhaul, failure analysis and repair, heavy-duty emission systems and HVAC. I have also taught electrical/electronic fundamentals and diagnostics, and I have taught other diesel program classes as needed. I’m ASE Master Med/Hvy Truck Certified and L2 Advanced Engine Performance Certified, Section 608 and 609 EPA Certified as well as a Caterpillar Engine Division Certified Instructor and Bobcat Co. Certified instructor. I am the SkillsUSA - Wisconsin Collegiate Post-secondary State Director and WorldSkills USA Expert in Heavy Equipment Technology for Team USA.

Aaron Dix

Aaron currently serves as Program Director and one of six highly skilled team members in the Madison College Diesel Program. His career began at the age of 12 when he was hired to wash semi-tractors and trailers for a local fleet shop. He was fortunate enough to acquire this job from someone who would ignite a passion in Aaron about being a Diesel Technician. When Aaron was 9 years old his father passed away unexpectedly. It was this tragic event that taught him the value of a strong work ethic, perseverance, and the importance of mentorships. It was also by fortune that one of Aaron’s father’s friends happened to be a Diesel Technician, co-owner of the fleet, and would be that mentor. When Aaron began high school, he was working in the shop from this mentor’s toolbox, assisting with the repair and maintenance of diesel-powered trucks. It was this job that set the wheels in motion for a career in Diesel. Aaron is a graduate of the Madison Area Technical College Diesel Equipment Technology Program. It was his instructors at Madison College and high school technology education teachers that inspired and encouraged him to continue his education as a teacher. Aaron is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. There he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational, Technical, and Adult Education, and a Specialization in Training and Human Resource Development. His further work experience includes 10 years as a Field Service Technician for a road construction company. During this time, he traveled the state of Wisconsin in a company provided service truck to repair and maintain equipment ranging from asphalt pavers, wheel loaders, motor graders, and any other associated equipment that makes a road smooth. Aaron also had the opportunity to serve as Maintenance Operations Manager for the same organization. While working for this organization he began teaching part-time for the Madison College Diesel Program in 2000. In 2003, Aaron became a full-time instructor where he has thoroughly enjoyed teaching students in Diesel Electrical/Electronic Systems and Preventive Maintenance Inspections. He is an ASE Certified Master Medium/Heavy Truck Technician, and certified L2 Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist. In addition, he holds certifications in Truck Equipment and Automobile and Light Truck. Outside of the classroom, Aaron enjoys spending time with his wife and kids vacationing in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, and watching his children race BMX. He volunteers his time to serve on his church council and serves as chairman of his children’s school board. His personal hobbies include cruising in his 1965 Ford Mustang, outdoor road cycling (to include multiple one- and two-day rides across the state of Wisconsin) and teaching indoor spinning classes. It is Aaron’s goal to provide the students he serves with the same mentorship, opportunities, and encouragement as was given to him.

Aaron Halverson

I am a 1986 graduate of the Madison Area Technical College Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Program. Prior to that I worked on large farms where we maintained and repaired all the farm tractors and equipment which is what gave me my interest in the mechanics field. After graduation form the program, I was employed for 5 years with a construction contractor where my duties were to maintain and repair their equipment. I worked on everything from a 2-stroke small engine cement saw up to their largest excavators, cranes, and dozers. I also maintained, repaired, and drove over the road vehicles including dump trucks and semi-tractor trailers hauling heavy equipment to the job sites. After that I worked for an electrical utility company for 8 years maintaining and repairing light duty pickups, bucket trucks and digger derricks used to construct and maintain power lines. Also, all their heavy equipment for underground electrical and gas mains. I am an ASE certified Medium/Heavy Truck Technician and have been an instructor at Madison college for 23 years. I teach Brakes, suspension and steering, Drive Trains, Mobile Hydraulics, Metal Repairs and Diesel Shop Skills Fundamentals. I am also a Bobcat Co. certified instructor for their Hydraulic courses. I take great pride in seeing our students come in with limited experience in our field and grow through their two years in our program as they learn at school and through their on-the-job experiences.

  • Shop Talk

    2020 graduate Alvin performing a DOT annual inspection.

    Nuts and Bolts, Episode #2

    Nuts and Bolts, Episode #4

    Nuts and Bolts, Episode #3

    Classroom and shop tour with diesel student, Kobe!

    Nuts and Bolts, Episode #1