Though some motorcycle mechanics begin their careers with a high school education or less, the trend is toward hiring graduates of formal postsecondary education training programs (www.bls.gov). Technical schools, community colleges and automotive dealerships throughout the U.S. offer programs in motorcycle maintenance and repair technology (www.nces.gov).
Due to the hands-on, laboratory nature of skill acquisition, online training programs for motorcycle mechanics are hard to find. Some accredited work-from-home training programs are available, while many others are campus-based. In hybrid programs, students may need to complete on-campus labs or coursework. It is important to note that students in online programs may need to own their own mechanic tools and supplies.
Learning & Coursework
In addition to online coursework, some programs require -- or at least give students the option to -- complete a practicum to gain real-world experience in the field under supervision. On-campus labs may also be a part of the curriculum. For the virtual component of the program, students log on to an online classroom to access lectures, assessments and assignments at a time that fits their schedules. Discussion boards and chat rooms may be used for class interaction. Online programs may require students to buy their own mechanic tools and supplies in order to carry out training exercises. In some cases, schools might have programs that allow them to get this equipment at a discount.
Distance learning motorcycle mechanic training typically leads to a student earning a certificate or diploma. Top manufacturers work with educational institutions to develop and endorse approved training programs, so students may have the option to take classes that are manufacturer-specific. Students can expect to complete a program in this field in under a year.
Online career school programs may focus strictly on motorcycle maintenance and repair, but training at a community college could require completion of some general education classes in areas like communication, math and computer technology. The mechanic coursework mainly focuses on installing and repairing the following:
- Electrical systems
Certifications for motorcycle mechanics usually pertain to a specific manufacturer's products. They require passing rigorous examinations to receive manufacturer-certified basic, advanced or master repair designations (www.bmwmoa.org). These certifications may be earned before or after becoming employed by a dealership or repair shop. Classes might include service diagnostics and software, gearbox assembly, rear-drive system troubleshooting, and small engine repair.
Students interested in the best career opportunities might look for schools that have strong relationships with major motorcycle manufacturers. On-site programs geared towards certification with specific manufacturers may require 12 weeks to complete. Regardless of what kind of training students choose, they should be aware if their jurisdiction has any licensing or continuing education requirements for motorcycle mechanics. Jobs are available in motor vehicle sales and supply shops, automobile dealerships and state government sectors.
For students who want to become motorcycle mechanics, online training programs provide theoretical coursework and hands-on training opportunities. Graduates may find work in motorcycle manufacturing, repair or retail, and they may seek professional certifications in these areas when they finish.