Career Definition for a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Mechanic
Harley motorcycle mechanics must employ advanced techniques to diagnose, repair and maintain these complex, highly-engineered two-stroke engines and their braking, transmission and carburetor systems. Harleys are particularly noted for heavy customization, which reflects their image of rebellion and freedom. Technicians must understand these mechanical intricacies, as well as the Harley mindset, according to Harley-Davidson.
|Education||Motorcycle mechanic programs available, along with Harley-Davidson University specialty options|
|Job Skills||Passion for Harley-Davidson, mechanical and technical aptitude, diagnostics|
|Median Salary (2017)||$35,680 for motorcycle mechanics|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||0% for motorcycle mechanics|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Those hoping to become a certified Harley-Davidson technician must first complete a formal education in core motorcycle mechanics, which includes general knowledge of the motorcycle chassis, engine and carburetor. Harley-Davidson has partnered with several colleges to develop curriculum that adheres to the Harley-Davidson approach, which provides a unified learning environment. Those aspiring to work exclusively on Harleys are encouraged to seek an internship with a participating Harley-Davidson dealer to gain as much exposure to them as possible.
Harley-Davidson sends their full-time motorcycle technicians to its high-tech Harley-Davidson University for Harley-specific training, continuing education and specialized instruction, such as training in the police motorcycles that Harley-Davidson supplies to many municipalities.
A Harley is a way of life that attracts a loyal community willing to pay more than $20,000 for a motorcycle. Harley-Davidson mechanics should feel the same affinity for Harley bikes and possess outstanding mechanical and technical aptitude in addition to a keen ability to diagnose subtle problems that typical owners would overlook. Patience, a commitment to excellence and a desire for customer satisfaction are essential.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for motorcycle mechanics to grow 0% between 2016 and 2026. Prospects should be better for those who complete formal specialized training programs. While sales of high-end motorcycles are highly dependent upon the economy, their owners are committed to maintenance, and these complex machines require a high degree of skill to repair. According to the BLS, the median salary for a generic motorcycle mechanic was $35,680 in May 2017.
Alternate Career Options
You can also look into these careers in vehicle service and repair:
Automotive Service Technician and Mechanic
Those interested in working on vehicles might also consider this career, in which automotive service techs or mechanics maintain and repair light trucks and cars. Some employers look for applicants with formal postsecondary training, and then the technicians and mechanics usually become certified after securing employment. The BLS predicted 6% expansion of jobs for this occupation, from 2016-2026. A median annual wage of $39,550 was reported for these technicians and mechanics by the BLS in 2017.
Home Appliance Repairers
Some individuals might enjoy working on household appliance, like microwaves, washers, dryers and refrigerators, instead of repairing vehicles. Many of these repairers are trained on the job, some attend postsecondary training programs, and select manufacturers provide training on their specific products. Licensing is required for all home appliance repairers who work with refrigerants. The demand for these repairers overall was predicted by the BLS to decrease by 4% from 2016-2026, based on the trend of people discarding their smaller appliances instead of having them repaired. Repairers who work on larger, major appliances should experience strong demand, however. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $38,160 for this occupation in 2017.