You have been tinkering with motorcycles since you were 12. You’re the go to Guy or Gal whenever anyone on your street needs help with bike maintenance and you have always wanted a career as a motorcycle mechanic.
Let’s have a look at what you need to get into a motorcycle mechanic school, how much you can expect to earn once you finish your program and what other training you will need to get the knowledge required to be a qualified motorcycle mechanic or technician.
How do I become a Motorcycle Mechanic?
If you are currently still at school but planning out your career goals, one of the best ways to get a foot into the motorcycle industry is through a work experience program or perhaps a Saturday job at a local dealership or motorcycle repair shop.
To become a qualified motorcycle mechanic you will need your High School Diploma or GED certificate to either get employment with someone offering an apprenticeship scheme or to get into a motorcycle mechanic school offering a diploma course.
If your personal circumstances mean you aren’t eligible for an apprenticeship, signing up for a core mechanics training course can give you a certification to back up your hands on skills.
Finally, there is the informal route where you get a job with someone prepared to pass on their knowledge with hands on training and your pay increases over time as your skills develop.
For most soon to be motorcycle mechanics the route will go something like:
- Find and choose a motorcycle mechanic school
- Complete motorcycle mechanic training
- Get work experience and gain hands on skills
- Earn your motorcycle mechanic certifications
Many of the community colleges throughout the country offer motorcycle mechanic training courses. If yours doesn’t, call in and ask them which schools do offer programs within your area.
I’ve included details below about three very popular motorcycle schools offering motorcycle mechanic training programs.
Penn Foster Online Motorcycle Mechanic School
There are obviously pros and cons to taking a motorcycle mechanic training course online but I’m a firm believer they definitely have a place if your personal circumstances mean you can’t take a course at a local tech college or mechanic school.
Penn Foster is an online motorcycle mechanic school which allows you to work through the course regardless of your location and at your own pace.
The course gives a good grounding in motorcycle mechanics and covers all the basics including electrical systems, clutches, brakes, maintenance and troubleshooting. It also includes a number of practical exercises that cover both two stroke and four stroke engines.
The price is currently $699 if you want to pay monthly or there is a small discount if you cough up the full amount in one go.
This represents excellent value for money if you are someone who can get your head down and study outside a classroom setting.
As a student with Penn Foster you get several benefits one of which is a discount for the Fix My Hog video course which is well worth a watch. You also get a support team and goal setting tools so you can set your own pace.
By the end of the motorcycle repair program you will have gained the knowledge required for an entry level job as a motorcycle mechanic.
More info on the Penn Foster online motorcycle mechanics school can be found here.
The CCCC Motorcycle Mechanics Program
Regarded as one of the best motorcycle mechanic schools in America, the CCCC (Central Carolina Community College) offer a motorcycle mechanic diploma program which runs during the day and a certification program that is attended in the evenings.
It is the only motorcycle mechanic school in the state of North Carolina that is supported by major motorcycle brands such as Harley Davidson and Kawasaki who donate both instructional materials on their bikes and parts for students to work on during hands on training.
The certification program will help you get an entry level job as a motorcycle mechanic or repair technician on other small engine powered equipment.
However, should your personal circumstances allow it is best used as a foundation for the Diploma program if you want to give your motorcycle mechanic career the best possible start.
The Central Carolina Community College motorcycle mechanics program is held in high regard throughout the State and beyond. So much so that almost all graduates have a job within the motorcycle repair industry within 7 days of achieving a diploma.
They can also offer financial aid for those taking their motorcycle mechanics diploma.
Motorcycle Mechanics Institute
The MMI offers a 42 week core training course for those wanting certification recognized by employers.
The first 18 weeks at MMI is basic motorcycle technology with hands on experience. Once you have completed the foundation the remaining 24 weeks covers specialized training on one of six motorcycle brands.
These are Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Kawasaki and BMW.
At the end of the Core training you can follow on with a choice of specialized training programs. The MMI core course will provide the education you need to graduate as an entry level Technician.
The Motorcycle Mechanics Institute have colleges at Phoenix, Arizona and Orlando, Florida.
Tuition fees are not cheap at around $30K but it’s worth noting that according to Simply Hired, the average salary of MMI graduates is almost double the national median wage for a motorcycle technician so the investment can pay off in the long term.
More info about the MMI course can be found here.
How much money does a motorcycle mechanic make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average salary for a motorcycle mechanic in America in 2021 was $38,170 so by now it should be closer to $40k. The actual salary will vary from State to State.
In North Carolina the salary for a motorcycle mechanic as of Feb 2023 was $34,151 while the median salary in the State of New York was $42,300 which equates to just over $20 an hour.
As the cost of living is lower in North Carolina, it’s all relative. The reason you will also see large variations in wages offered, even in the same State, will be due to the experience required.
For example, I just looked at motorcycle mechanic employment in North Carolina and found wages offered as low as $28k and as high as $42k.
You will find that once you’re qualified you can increase your salary by continuing your education with manufacturer specific training or becoming highly specialized, for example in motorcycle electrical systems or even electric motorcycles.
How long does it take to become a motorcycle mechanic?
Several motorcycle mechanic schools run courses that run for less than a year. It’s important to understand though that these are usually foundation certified. These foundation courses are designed to give you a good all round understanding of the motorcycle and engines. They give you the knowledge to gain entry level employment within the industry.
You will then need to get a couple of years of hands on training in the real world and more than likely continue your training by specializing on a particular motorcycle brand or brands before you can call yourself a fully qualified motorcycle mechanic.
Are motorcycle mechanics in demand?
Job growth for motorcycle mechanics is expected to rise by 0.5% annually over the coming years. Replacing retiring staff and others changing careers will be the main reason for new job opportunities.
One growth area is the servicing and after sales care within motorcycle dealerships and these jobs are likely to go to those mechanics that have taken manufacturer specific training. If you have your heart set on becoming a motorcycle mechanic and want job security once you get employment you should consider the fact that your training may need to be prolonged.
Getting into a good motorcycle mechanic school and graduating with your diploma gives you an excellent foundation for a career in the motorcycle industry.
The success of your long term career as a motorcycle mechanic though will hinge on the quality of training you are given so choose your school carefully. Search for reviews, speak to current students as well as previous graduates of the program and check out all the schools within your travel radius.
Being a motorcycle mechanic today is a technical profession so it is essential you go on to secure further certifications and specialized training after you graduate. Make yourself the motorcycle technician that’s irreplaceable by keeping up with the latest industry technology.