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Outboard Mechanics Schools: How to Choose

Outboard motor mechanics install, adjust, maintain and repair the electrical and mechanical equipment of portable outboard boat engines. These are repaired dockside or at marinas. Outboard motor mechanic work typically includes marine plumbing, steering, electrical systems, propellers and other boat mechanics.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies outboard motor repairers as part of a wider group of technicians known as small engine mechanics (www.bls.gov). Community, technical and vocational schools across the country offer certificate and associate's degree programs in areas like maritime technology, maritime services, and marine and small engine mechanics.

10 Schools with Outboard Mechanic Programs

The following schools offer outboard mechanic programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Coastal Carolina Community College Jacksonville, North Carolina 2-year, Public Continuing Education Course $2,334 In-state
$8,478 Out-of-state
Tidewater Community College Norfolk, Virginia 2-year, Public Associate's $5,171 In-state
$11,009 Out-of-state
Skagit Valley College Mount Vernon, Washington 2-year, Public Certificate
Associate's
$4,200 In-state
$4,700 Out-of-state
Massasoit Community College Brockton, Massachusetts 2-year, Public Certificate $4,488 In-state
$9,432 Out-of-state
Kingsborough Community College Brooklyn, New York 2-year, Public Associate's $5,202 In-state
$8,082 Out-of-state
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, Florida 2-year, Public Associate's $2,753 In-state
$8,875 Out-of-state
Carteret Community College Morehead City, North Carolina 2-year, Public Certificate $2,704 In-state
$7,312 Out-of-state
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota 2-year, Public Diploma
Associate's
$5,338
Chattanooga State Community College Chattanooga, Tennessee 2-year, Public Diploma $5,685**

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **School Website

School Selection Criteria

These programs often include the repair of other types of vehicles, such as snowmobiles, motorcycles and ATVs, along with 2-cycle engines, which are used in lawn and garden equipment. Considerations for students include:

  • Faculty members should have basic engineering expertise, familiarity with manufacturing and work experience in small engine design and repair.
  • Facilities should have spacious, clean laboratories for hands-on student work with modern tools and diagnostic equipment.
  • Student-teacher ratios should be low with sufficient faculty office hours.

Certificate in Maritime and Small Engine Repair

Admission to career certificate programs usually requires a high school diploma or GED. Certificate programs usually require students to take classes in technical math, reading and writing, in addition to engine repair courses.

Associate's Degree in Maritime and Small Engine Repair

Associate's degree programs usually have more robust general education requirements than career certificates. Students take courses in the electrical, fuel and drive systems of small engines, along with power trains and diagnostics. These are applied to both 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines, including marine craft engines, motorcycles and ATVs, as well as lawn and garden equipment.

Outboard mechanics training programs are available at the certificate and associate's degree levels. These programs typically emphasize topics such as electrical systems, fuel systems, power trains and troubleshooting.

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