Marine mechanics diagnose and repair different kinds of watercraft. This profession is an area of specialization within the larger profession of small engine mechanics. Often times, marine mechanics have to repair and maintain different issues pertaining to engines, electrical systems, steering mechanism, and plumbing related to boats. They utilize various types of equipment to perform this work, such as computerized diagnostic equipment. Those who complete a marine mechanic educational program will be able to find work in such positions as marine fleet technician, engine builder, or franchise dealership technician.
Much of the specific training required for this job can be obtained via on the job experience. Many marine mechanics may only need a high school diploma and on the job training to work in this profession. Students who are still in high school who are looking to pursue a career as a marine mechanic should learn as much as they can about the mechanical process while in school classes such as through classes in auto shop, science, and math.
For those who are interested in attaining post-secondary education in order to jump-start their career as a marine mechanic, there are options available. Most marine mechanics programs result in either a certificate or an associate degree. Associate degree programs in this field are usually offered at community colleges, vocational, or technical schools. These programs are often listed as an associate in marine maintenance technology or marine engine technology. Associate degrees contain a liberal arts component, in which students take general education classes that are not related to their majors. Other subject-specific coursework cover the topics of disassembling various components of engines, problem diagnosis and the equipment used to perform a diagnosis, and general principles of watercraft. Students will also have the opportunity to practice the skills they are learning in class during hands-on workshops.
Another option for an aspiring marine mechanic it to complete a certificate program. This type of program focuses solely on giving students the skills they need to get started in a career as a marine mechanic, without having to complete any general education courses. These programs can take less than a year to complete and classes include Fuel and Lubrication Systems, Electrical Systems, Rigging, Vessel Power Transmission, Inboard Engine Propulsion Systems, and Outboard Engine Propulsion Systems. Students will also get hands-on practice. Individuals who have completed a certificate or associate degree in marine mechanics may have better job opportunities and will likely have to receive less training once they are hired.
While there are no specific organizations that accredit marine mechanic programs, students looking to attend one of these programs should still make sure that the school they are applying to is either regionally or nationally accredited. These types accreditation are given to schools that have been evaluated by independent organizations and that have been found to meet certain standards of educational quality. Regional accreditation is usually given to degree-granting schools like community colleges and universities, while national accreditation is usually applied to schools that don't give degrees, such as technical or vocational schools. Either way, if a school has one of these accreditations a student can be assured that they are receiving a legitimate education that will prepare them for their future careers.