The path to becoming a motorcycle mechanic involves some form of education or training. Motorcycle repair is very detailed and also very different from automotive repair. That requires the need for some very specific training. Getting to know the ins and outs of motorcycle repair begins in all different ways, but it continues in the common form of education. After deciding to become a motorcycle mechanic, the next step involves taking a look at the schools and institutes that offer training. Those schools and institutes are typically what elevate motorcycle mechanics into a professional setting and full-time employment.
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Motorcycle Mechanic Education Requirements
To be accepted into a motorcycle mechanic training program, applicants generally need to hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalency. A valid driver’s license is also required. The application process differs among each post-secondary school, although no perquisite college courses are required.
A fair amount of professional motorcycle mechanics have earned some type of post-secondary diploma from a technical institute, vocational school, community college or career training program. A smaller portion of motorcycle mechanics hold an Associate’s Degree from a two-year college while the remaining portion have earned a high school diploma or GED equivalency as their highest level of education. Many years ago, mechanics would typically learn on the job. However, formal education has grown to include a lot of different facets of automotive repair and that includes motorcycles.
The education in a motorcycle mechanic program is divided into multiple parts. The most basic part is classroom instruction. It is there that students are introduced to motorcycle theories, repair concepts and technical procedures. That leads to hands-on training in which students work on actual motorcycles. Part of the overall educational process is putting theories into practice. Students are graded on both test assignments and also while conducting actual repair work.
Motorcycle Certificate Program
Those who are aspiring to embark on a career as a motorcycle mechanic can complete a certificate program in roughly a year. These programs are offered by post-secondary schools throughout the country. They are housed in technical institutes, vocational schools, community colleges and career training centers. There are even some auto repair institutes that have a wide range of training programs, which includes motorcycle mechanic programs.
Some programs have a number of required core courses that students must complete before taking more specialized courses. That does not mean those courses will have to be taken elsewhere. However, there are basic courses that need to be completed before moving up through the curriculum. Some of those courses focus on motorcycle theory, electricity fundamentals and fuel systems. Once that basic foundation is in place, other courses will follow as students will learn about the following:
There are even elective courses offered in some training institutes as students will have the opportunity to expand their overall knowledge of motorcycle repair. Some courses are offered online, but because of the hands-on aspect of this type of training, it is not possible to make complete curriculums available to distance learning students.
Curriculums in various motorcycle mechanic programs may have slight differences, although most adhere to the same principles and teach the same techniques and concepts. Some programs go into greater depth in certain areas, although most will include the fundamental aspects of motorcycle repair in their coursework.
There is the option of earning an Associate’s Degree, although these are not as widely available as certificate programs. Some of the Associate Degree programs have different names, which include Motorcycle Technology and Motorcycle Technician. Those who enter into an Associate’s Degree program may have to spend more time finishing up their education when compared to students enrolled in a certificate program. By earning an Associate Degree, graduates will be able to master the following:
In addition to leaving with a degree, motorcycle mechanics will also possess a unique collection of skills. The time spent in an Associate Degree program provides the opportunity for mechanics to accumulate plenty of practice. That will allow them to leave with the following attributes.
Apprenticeship and Repair Shop Training
It is necessary for all schools offering motorcycle mechanic training to provide some form of hands-on learning. That requires learning and working in an actual motorcycle repair shop setting. Some institutes are equipped with these facilities while others work in conjunction with local motorcycle repair shops. Students conduct their hands-on work in these settings in what is often considered to be a form of apprenticeship.
Choosing a Motorcycle Mechanic Training Program
There are a lot of different things to look for when selecting a school for your motorcycle mechanic training. It is first important to evaluate the cost and time it will take to complete a program. Location is another important factor. Some programs are more flexible with class times, offering ones at both day and night. Some even offer select online courses. Here are some other key factors to consider when choosing a program.
This factor is important to some students. Most programs have a limited number of spots available when it comes to new enrollment. One of the areas of interest among prospective students is class and program size.
It is important to choose a program that has earned accreditation. This validates that a program has met certain academic standards. It also shows prospective employers that a motorcycle mechanic has received training from a reputable institution.
Post-secondary programs typically feature faculty members who have both certifications and experience as a motorcycle mechanic. Many programs feature highly credentialed faculty members instructing their curriculum.
Job Placement Rate
Post-secondary motorcycle mechanic training programs track the progress of their graduates. This includes job placement statistics, internships and passing marks on credentialing exams.
Motorcycle Mechanic Certification
The completion of a motorcycle mechanic training program will result in the awarding of a certificate of completion. For those students who attend a two-year program, an Associate’s Degree will be awarded upon completion. Both of these distinctions hold a great deal of value in the industry and can also help mechanics earn further certifications. These are extremely important, particularly since there is no universal motorcycle mechanic certification. Unlike automotive repair, motorcycle repair does not have one governing body for certifications. The ASE does not issue a certification for motorcycle mechanics as it is not among any of its 49 separate certifications.
National certifications are available from the Equipment & Engine Training Council as it is recognized as a credentialing source for motorcycle mechanics. Two-stroke and four-stroke certifications are available through the EETC and will enhance a mechanic’s overall status, but these certifications are not required by all employers. It should also be noted that preliminary training as a motorcycle mechanic is needed to acquire the skills necessary to pass an EETC certification exam.
Manufacturer specific certifications are available as these focus on the specific components of a particular brand. Other motorcycle certifications have to do with more of the general principles of motorcycle repair, while manufacturer specific certifications concentrate on the unique components of an individual brand. These certifications are available from numerous manufacturers, such as Harley Davidson, Honda, and Triumph.
A manufacturer specific certification is usually preceded by completing the necessary training that will equip mechanics with the knowledge and skill to perform tasks that include general troubleshooting, diagnosis and repair. Manufacturer specific certifications are often viewed as the next logical stepping stone in the career of a motorcycle mechanic.
Continuing Motorcycle Mechanic Education
A motorcycle mechanic’s education does not have to end with the completion of a one or two-year training program. Many motorcycle repair businesses will send their mechanics for additional training. The winter season serves as a prime opportunity to conduct additional training as many motorcycle enthusiasts store their bikes for the winter, which means less repair work. Advanced training courses, seminars and workshops strengthen the overall knowledge level of motorcycle mechanics and serves as an excellent way to bolster a resume.
Benefits and Cost of Motorcycle Mechanic Education
Most motorcycle repair shops hire mechanics with some form of training. When it comes to repairing motorcycles, a certificate from an accredited institution carries a lot of credibility. This is also an investment in a mechanic’s future, one that does not come with the steep price tag that exists in many other professions. The cost of tuition in a motorcycle mechanic certificate program is very affordable, as students will not need to take out high-priced loans in order to graduate.
Many job listings for motorcycle mechanics will also list a certificate as one part of its overall criteria. Being able to show the completion of some kind of accredited training immediately boosts a mechanic’s chance of obtaining a full-time position. That could lead to a lifelong career packed with competitive pay and job stability.
Many motorcycle repair businesses will look to hire new employees who have recently completed some type of training program. This assures the business that it is getting someone who has been taught on all the finer points of motorcycle repair. Those who complete this training often find themselves a step ahead of the competition in the job market.