You know who you are. When your neighbor's lawn mower failed to start because of a fouled spark plug, you knew what to do. You can fine-tune the RPMs of a chainsaw, or tweak your fishing boat motor so it's the smoothest, quietest craft on the lake. But fuel systems are getting increasingly complicated, and inboard-outboard engines are advancing beyond your ability to wrangle them.
If you're interested in turning your hobby into a business, or at least a day job that you love to report to, small engine repair schools may bring you up to speed. By pursuing online small engine repair courses, you may qualify to work on boats, motorcycles, outdoor power equipment, off-road bikes, snow machines, or all-terrain vehicles. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as more and more motorcycles, boats, and farm equipment become computer controlled and sophisticated, employers should be searching for mechanics who are graduates of formal training programs. In fact, grads from small engine repair degree programs should expect excellent job prospects, according to the BLS.
Small Engine Repair School: What to Expect
Depending on your small engine repair courses, you may expect to learn how to diagnose problems, repair damaged parts, fix engines, ignitions, fuel and electrical systems, and more. You may learn how to perform routine maintenance on brakes, rudders, carburetors, fuel injection systems, wiring, lights, or chain systems.
You may need an aptitude for working with small tools, a sense of mathematics, and a detective's mind. Small engine repair degree programs may include learning the use of computer diagnostic tools and how to perform an entire engine overhaul. Some employers may have their mechanics log onto online small engine repair courses to learn about a specific manufacturer or specialization without having to interrupt their work schedules. Courses blend theory and practical instruction with hands-on experience.
Career Options for Small Engine Repair School Graduates
Many online courses in small engine repair may lead to diplomas. You might specialize in one piece of gear, say lawn-care products, or as a generalist, with skills to work on lawn edging equipment, riding mowers, jet skis, and two- and four-stroke motorbikes.
Marine mechanics may learn to work on commercial fishing craft, tour boats, racing boats, or cabin cruisers. Motorcycle mechanics may focus on general maintenance and repair, or specialize in American, European, or Asian motorcycles.
With experience or desire, you may return to school to pursue the skills for becoming a diesel, automobile, or heavy vehicle and mobile equipment mechanic.
Salary Outlook for Small Engine Repair School Degree Holders
The BLS predicts a 21% percent increase in jobs for small engine mechanics, 2010-2020.
Wages vary by degree of training, experience, and specialized industry. In 2010, the mean annual wage for small engine and outdoor power equipment mechanics was $31,790. By contrast, the mean annual wage for motorcycle mechanics was $34,190, and the mean wage for motorboat mechanics in 2011 was $37,170.
For small engine mechanics, the employment sub-sectors were machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers. Motorcycle mechanics earned the highest wages at motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers. And motorboat mechanics were paid the most by deep sea, coastal, and Great Lakes water transportation companies.
If you want to turn your hobby of tinkering with small engines into a profession, small engine repair schools may help you.