Service Technicians - The Heart of the Dealership

Service technicians are the heart of the dealership, according to Peterbilt’s technician program manager and dealer trainers, and the need for service technicians in trucking continues to be critical. We interviewed Casey Theis, the Peterbilt Technician Program Manager for North America, and a Peterbilt dealer trainer, to see what Peterbilt is doing to close the technician gap. 

How does the Peterbilt dealer network impact the need for technicians? 

Over the past 5 years, Peterbilt has experienced tremendous growth in its dealer and service network. In 2017, there were 4,186 service bays in business. That number has increased by 452 bays as of September of this year. Additionally, there were 372 dealer locations running in 2017, and that number has jumped to 413, and these numbers are just the beginning of the growth Peterbilt expects for the dealer network. In the next 5 years, bay and dealer location expansion is expected as Peterbilt strives to service customers in a timely manner and improve uptime. For the technician industry, this means there are more and more opportunities for hire. Peterbilt works to fill those positions through the Peterbilt Technician Institute (PTI) program in order to expand the dealer and service network. 

What is the Peterbilt Technician Institute (PTI) program? 

The Peterbilt Technician Institute (PTI) program is a collaborative program with UTI and serves as a resource for the Peterbilt dealer network to help recruit and hire highly prepared factory-trained technicians. Every PTI student earns Peterbilt factory certifications that include PACCAR MX-11 and MX-13 engines as they embark on a rewarding career in the diesel industry.

PTI is offered in Illinois and Texas. It’s a 12-week program that started in 2013 where entry-level technicians can learn the ins and outs of our products, “bumper to mudflap,” as Casey described it. The program has rotating start dates throughout the year, making admission more flexible than college programs. Students receive 10 certifications throughout their time at the PTI, and the amount of expertise acquired can equate to two to three years in an actual workshop. Outside of this program, it can take technicians several years to become fully certified because classes can be difficult to get into and progress through. Here, it only takes 3 months, and the experience is unique because students get to spend 75% of their time in the lab learning through hands-on experience and the other 25% of their time in the classroom. This doesn’t account for the web-based training portion of the program which is administered as homework.

Requirements and Applying for PTI 

The PTI program is an advanced technician program, so candidates must have some type of diesel training. That can be from a high school, tech school or other programs. Candidates should also already have some experience working in a shop. They need to come prepared with working knowledge because this program does not start from the basics. In addition to these requirements, candidates should have a 3.0 GPA and a 95% attendance record. Applications and enrollment can be completed by the candidate’s tech school or employer. Our PTI program and the service technician industry are perfect for people who love hands-on work and variety in their career. We encourage anyone who is interested in the technician industry to take a look at our program and apply for the Diesel Technician Trainee – entry level positions!  

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