Students interested in learning to ride motorcycles will find programs at seven community colleges in California. Individuals interested in learning to repair and maintain motorcycles can attend one of two community colleges in San Francisco or Los Angeles.
Motorcycle technician programs, which teach students how to change fluids, perform tune-ups and evaluate engines, are offered as associate degrees and/or certificates. For those interested in learning to ride a motorcycle, California has a variety of training programs taught in conjunction with the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP), administered by the California Highway Patrol. The CMSP offers several levels of riding courses, including a basic rider course, which generally consists of five hours of classroom and 10 hours of instructed riding experience. Motorcycles and helmets are provided.
Applicants to a rider training program must be able to ride a bicycle. Individuals under 18 must possess either a California DMV-issued ID card, a California auto instruction permit or a valid driver's license and written consent of his or her parent or guardian. Specific programs may have other requirements. Read on to get information about schools and programs in California for motorcycle training.
Cabrillo College in Aptos offers the only CMSP-approved motorcycle course in Santa Cruz County. Students attend two Thursday evening in-class sessions and two Saturday riding sessions. Students must attend all four sessions and arrive on time. The college holds two classes per month.
This Norwalk school offers the basic rider course through its community education program. The weekend-long course is offered throughout the year. Cerritos also offers an experienced rider course for riders who would like a safety review.
City College of San Francisco
San Francisco's community college offers a motorcycle technician certificate of achievement and associate degree program. Degree-seeking students take a 19-unit core curriculum with required and elective courses covering motorcycle technology, tune-up and service, engine and powertrain repair and electrical systems. They also choose from elective courses in metal fabrication and painting. Additionally, students must complete 41 general education and elective units for an overall total of 60 credit hours.
Students in the certificate program get a more extensive curriculum that includes 34 units of motorcycle technician classes. Topics included in this curriculum that aren't in the degree program include fuel, lubrication and cooling systems, motorcycle engine theory, exhaust systems, wheels and brakes, suspension systems and engine overhaul. Certificate students do not need to take general education courses.
Gilroy's Gavilan College offers its basic motorcycle rider course through Two Wheel Safety Training (TWST), a motorcycle riding school contracted by CMSP. The 16-hour course begins on Thursday evenings and continues the following Saturday and Sunday. Students are provided with a 125-250 cc motorcycle for the riding portion of the class.
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
Los Angeles Trade Technical College in Los Angeles offers a certificate in motorcycle repair. Covering everything from multi-cylinder issues to internal-combustion theory, the four core courses in this 25-unit program are designed to teach students how to diagnose, tune up, repair and maintain motorcycles. Elective topics include electrical systems, emission control systems and fuel injection. Students must have their own tools for the classes, which generally occur during evenings and on weekends. Students who successfully complete the courses required for the certificate along with an additional 30 general education credits can earn an associate degree.
Mission College in Santa Clara also offers its basic rider course through TWST. Applicants must have a driver's license or permit or a certificate showing successful completion of the classroom segment of a driver education course. At the end of the course, students must pass both written and riding exams.
Modesto Junior College
The CMSP basic rider course at this Modesto school is offered twice each weekend. Classes start on Thursday evenings, continuing all day the following Saturday and for half of Sunday. If enrollment is down, only one class per weekend is offered. Honda 250 cc motorcycles are provided. Students spend six hours in the classroom and ten hours riding. Participants should wear eye protection, jeans, gloves, long sleeves and boots that cover the ankle.
Mt. San Antonio College
Mt. San Antonio offers its course in Walnut in three sessions; exact days and times vary. The 15-hour course comprises five hours of classroom and ten hours of riding time.
Yuba College in Marysville offers a once-per-weekend basic rider course. The class starts Friday evenings and continues the following Saturday and Sunday. Students spend five hours in the classroom and ten hours riding. Students under 17-1/2 must have a parent or guardian accompany them to the first session to sign a waiver.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Motorcycle Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Cabrillo College||2-year, public; midsize suburb||Basic Rider Course|| $1,270 per year (in-state)
$7,462 per year (out-of-state)*
|Cerritos College||2-year, public; small city|| Basic Rider Course,
Extra Practice Course,
Basic Rider 2 Course
|$1,346 per year (in-state)
$8,710 per year (out-of-state)*
|City College of San Francisco||2-year, public; large city||Certificate of Achievement, Associate in Science - Motorcycle Technician|| $1,696 per year (in-state)
$10,372 per year (out-of-state)*
|Gavilan College||2-year, public; rural||Basic Rider Course||$1,166 per year (in-state)
$6,782 per year (out-of-state)*
|Los Angeles Trade Technical College||2-year, public; large city||Certificate of Achievement in Motorcycle Repair Mechanics|| $1,220 per year (in-state)
$7,746 per year (out-of-state)*
|Mission College||2-year, public; rural||Basic Rider Course||$1,192 per year (in-state)
$6,280 per year (out-of-state)*
|Modesto Junior College||2-year, public; mid-size city||Basic Rider Course|| $1,166 per year (in-state)
$7,358 per year (out-of-state)*
|Mt. San Antonio College||2-year, public; large suburb||Basic Rider Course|| $1,350 per year (in-state)
$9,414 per year (out-of-state)*
|Yuba College||2-year, public; rural||Basic Rider Course|| $1,124 per year (in-state)
$6,404 per year (out-of-state)*
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.