Considering taking a small engine repair course? Just as you’ve most likely guessed, the purpose of a small engine repair course is to teach you and train you in the repair of, well, small engines. What does that mean exactly? Well, rather than working on, say, trucks and cars, you would be working on things like motorcycles, speed boats, dirt bikes, go karts and so on and so forth. If you want to get into small engine repairs and tuning and such, then training really is a must. Few employers are willing to hire someone for such a specialty job unless they have specialty training. The parts, the science, the techniques, it’s all different.
Small Engine Repair Education and Training
Small engine courses provide training in the repair, performance measurement and preventative maintenance of equipment like lawn mowers, chain saws, and snow blowers. In addition, students may also learn about repair and maintenance of motors and engines of motorcycles, motor boats and other equipment. In larger repair shops, mechanics might use computerized diagnostic testing equipment for analyzing equipment malfunction.
Qualified repair technicians perform maintenance and repair of different kinds of small engines that include motorcycles, motorboats, and outdoor power equipment such as lawnmowers, tractors, chainsaws, snow blowers, snowmobiles, and other small machinery. This will be covered in the small engine course. Particular small engine repair training courses may include:
- Basic engine fundamentals
- Major engine systems found in lawn mowers, portable generators, chain saws, outboard motors, motorbikes, motorcycles, etc
- Maintenance, troubleshooting and repair
- Electrical systems
- Starting systems
- Ignition components and the servicing of small diesel engines
Knowledge of basic electronics is learn in a small engine course required and small engine mechanics often begin with routine service tasks before moving on to more complex forms of repair. An experienced small engine mechanic would:
- Perform engine overhauls
- Replace ignition points and spark plugs
- Take apart and reassemble equipment
- Perform advanced computer diagnostics
Small Engine Repair Careers
It’s not just on a different scale. Someone who may be a world class mechanic when it comes to trucks may have absolutely no idea where to begin on a motorcycle engine which means that taking a small engine course is a plus. Small engine mechanics are absolutely a must for small engine vehicle repairs, as it just plain isn’t the same field as car and truck repair. Some responsibilities listed by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) include:
- Performing routine engine maintenance
- Testing and inspecting engines
- Repairing or replacing worn parts
You can also look at general garages, sure, as they do likely repair motorcycles from time to time, but if you want a real career, you want to look at things like motorcycle shops and such. You can go to the docks and see if there are any boating outlets that need a mechanic.You can work as a motorboat or motorcycle mechanic and also work for a small engine repair business. With more experience you can start your own small business.
There are various of jobs out there upon completion of a small engine course, and the upside for you is that there aren’t a lot of small engine specialists. There are a lot of general purpose mechanics, but not a lot of small engine specialists. This means that you’re serving a niche.
You might make more from the amusement park servicing dozens of Go Karts for tune ups once a month than you will from the motorcycle enthusiast who only needs to call you a few times a year, but by casting a wide net and servicing a large variety of clients, you can more than make a comfortable living if you’re better than the majority of your competition.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The demand for small engine mechanics continues to increase and as more people buy homes, they need to maintain their lawns hence maintaining their equipment is important. People with motorbikes, yachts, motorboats, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles also look for qualified mechanics to work on their vehicles. Salaries for small engine mechanics depend on experience, skill level and location. In 2006, the median hourly wage for small engine mechanics was $14.45, with the top 10% earning $23.31.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 78,000 small engine mechanics employed in 2006 and that number is expected to increase to 87,000 by 2016, thus a need for more professional who have graduated from accredited motorcycle mechanic school programs. For 2010, the BLS reported the median annual wages as follows:
- Motorboat mechanics and service technicians – $35,600
- Motorcycle mechanics – $31,980
- Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics – $29,580
The median annual wage of small engine mechanics was $31,790 for the same period. The employment of small engine mechanics is expected to grow 21% from 2010 to 2020 (BLS). A good way to increase earnings in the field of small engine repair would probably be through a mix of advertising and solicitations as well as taking a supplemental small engine course in order to remain current in the field and the technology.
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