Motorcycle mechanics specialize in maintaining and repairing motorcycles. Daily tasks include inspecting various types of motorcycles, troubleshooting issues, and completing repairs. Other tasks that a motorcycle mechanic will perform on a daily basis include changing spark plugs, changing fluids, and providing general tune-ups. High school graduates may be able to seek on-the-job training and begin work as a motorcycle mechanic with no formal degree, but most employers prefer their employers to hold an associate degree or diploma earned from a post-secondary institution. Motorcycle mechanics can be hired at dealerships, manufacturers, and repair shops. Some individuals may also go on to open their own independent garage. Some manufacturers and dealerships will require that their employees obtain professional certification.
Individuals who are interested in participating in an associate degree program can expect to earn their degree in two years or less by completing up to 67 credits. Classes that students might take include Engine and Fuel Systems, Electrical Systems, Motorcycle Transmissions, Troubleshooting, and Custom Fabrication Motorcycle Building. These programs are extremely hands-on and most of the instruction will take place in mock-garages in order to give students real industry exercises that will prepare them for their upcoming careers. Some programs will also require that students complete a custom project at the end of their studies to showcase all they have learned through the program. Upon graduation individuals will be well-rounded in the areas of diagnostics and repair, making them eligible to go on to work as professional motorcycle mechanics. Work can be found at auto repair shops and dealerships. Professionals who desire to work for themselves can also seek to open their own businesses. To earn a degree at the associate level applicants must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some admission requirements will also include a placement test. Associate degrees in motorcycle mechanics can be found at community colleges and technical schools, which often offer very affordable tuition. Many programs can be found for $10,000 a year or less.
Certificate degree programs are another academic option that individuals can pursue at community colleges and technical schools. These programs offer a high level of training without the full commitment that a traditional degree program requires. Students can often complete a certificate degree program in less than a year. Classes that are common within the curriculum include Lubrication and Cooling Systems, Electrical Fundamentals, Specialized Tools and Equipment, Motorcycle Drive and Chassis Systems, and Motorcycle Electrical High-Current Systems. Through required coursework and hands-on training students will be able to demonstrate strong skills in repairing to two-stroke and four-stroke motorcycles. Graduates will be able to find work at motorcycle repair shops as well as motorcycle dealerships. As professionals gain experience within the industry it will open more opportunities for them to successfully start their own repair business, if that is in their interests. In order to seek admission into a certificate degree program all applicants must submit their high school transcripts or GED certificate. Certificate degree programs are very low cost in which total cost of education averaging less than $800.
Not all repair shops will require that their employees be certified in order to work, but some dealerships such as Honda and Harley Davidson do require their employees to be certified. Individuals who are interested in working for these dealerships will need to seek certification through the programs that these manufacturers offer. It must also be noted that each certification only represents the company for which it was earned. In other words a Honda certification will not be recognized by Harley Davidson dealerships and thus the individual would also have to earn a Harley Davidson certification in order to work there. In order to become certified through these programs individuals will need to have an associate degree in motorcycle mechanics. Some degree programs also offer students the opportunity to become certified during their studies. Whether or not the individual's place of work requires that they be certified, certification can still showcase the skills that the individual possesses and it can make them more competitive candidates for job opportunities.
Some programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in learning how to work on specific types of engines. One option would be to specialize in engines that run off of power sport technology. This is a technology used by foreign manufacturers that create brands such as Honda and Yamaha. The second option would be to specialize in the v-twin engine, which is a characteristic found in American-made brands such as Harley Davidson. Choosing a specialized route can help individuals secure skills in a specific area that certain dealerships will find appealing, which may be beneficial during their job search upon graduation.
The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) is the main programmatic accrediting body for automotive repair programs. The purpose of NATEF is to provide students with a level of confidence in their education by ensuring program quality. Each program that the NATEF accredits is upheld to the standards of the industry, which means that students can expect to be prepared to work as skilled professionals upon graduation. Accreditation also shows potential employers that they can rely on their education credentials. For these reasons students who are in need to financial assistance will not have the option of attending a non-accredited program.
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