Become a Small Engine Repair Technician: Career Guide

Find out how to become a small engine repair technician. Research the training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in small engine repair. View article »

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  • 0:00 Small Engine Repair…
  • 0:59 Consider Postsecondary…
  • 2:16 Find Employment
  • 2:38 Attend Industry Seminars

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Video Transcript

Small Engine Repair Technician Career Info

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent; some prefer certificate or associate degree
Degree Field Small engine repair
Certification Optional certification available through the Equipment and Engine Training Council (EETC)
Experience Varies; couple of months to 3 years
Key Skills Problem solving and customer service skills; manual dexterity and good vision; knowledge of mechanical repairs and the tools and computerized equipment used
Salary (2015) $34,650 (median for all small engine mechanics)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online, Equipment and Engine Training Council (EETC)

Small engine repair technicians and mechanics maintain and repair the motors in machinery such as lawnmowers, boats and motorcycles. Mechanics might specialize in a type of product, such as outdoor power equipment, or they might have a general working knowledge of all small engines.

Most professionals find regular full-time work, but overtime hours might be necessary during peak seasons like summer. Many of these technicians work in repair shops, where noise levels can sometimes be high.

Small engine repair technicians should have problem-solving skills, mechanical repair knowledge, customer service skills, manual dexterity, near vision, and a knowledge of the tools and equipment necessary for repair tasks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, small engine mechanics earned a median salary of $34,650 per year.

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Consider Postsecondary Education

High school graduates who want to begin their training or add to their knowledge of small engines may consider enrolling in a postsecondary program. Students can choose a small engine repair certificate or associate's degree program offered by a community college or technical school. These programs typically last between six months and two years.

Introductory courses in these programs cover concepts in tools and safety. Students then begin training in electrical systems and engine operation. Some programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in different types of engines, such as motorcycle or outboard motors. Programs also cover engine diagnostic issues and problem-solving techniques.

High school student interested in pursuing this field can also get a head start on their training. Some high schools offer courses in mechanical repair. Since employers sometimes have problems finding trained individuals, this early education in repair may offer an advantage in gaining employment.

Certification can be earned in several areas of engine repair, such as electrical engine and 2-stroke engine. The Equipment and Engine Training Council (EETC) offers certification and recertification tests that can demonstrate professionals' knowledge of engine maintenance and repair.

Find Employment

Upon completion of any preparatory programs, graduates may look for employment with motorcycle, boat and outdoor equipment repair companies. Job seekers may also look to marinas, equipment rental companies and repair facilities for work. Most new hires must receive at least some on-the-job instruction in work that is specific to their mechanical field.

Attend Industry Seminars

Small engine repairers may want to consider attending annual manufacturer or industry seminars to keep abreast of technological changes in the industry. These seminars and conferences may be found through local community colleges or industry media and can provide small engine mechanics with a venue to test new tools for service work and keep up with emerging trends. Furthermore, these events may provide small engine mechanics with networking and career advancement opportunities.

In summary, small engine repairers who work on fixing the motors in smaller machinery can obtain training through high school or college-level courses as well as by gaining experience on the job.

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