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Small Engine Repair Career Options and Education Requirements

Sep 13, 2019

Small engine repairers require no formal education. Learn about the related training, job duties, career options and specializations to see if this is the right career for you.

A high school diploma may be all that's required to begin a career in small engine repair. On-the-job training or the completion of a certificate or diploma program may also be recommended for those planning to pursue a career in this field. A slower-than-average job growth rate is expected through 2028.

Essential Information

Individuals working in small engine repair typically receive either on-the-job training or formal training through a certificate or diploma program. Small engine mechanics diagnose and repair engines in motorcycles, motorboats, lawnmowers and more. These professionals can specialize in motorcycle repair, motorboat repair or outdoor power equipment.

Required Education Variable; a high school diploma and on-the-job training or completion of a certificate or diploma program in small engine repair
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% for small engine mechanics
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $37,060 for small engine mechanics

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Small Engine Repair Career Options

Small engine mechanics service and repair a wide range of power equipment, including motorcycles, chainsaws, jet skis, lawnmowers, motorboats, dirt bikes, garden tractors, mopeds, edge trimmers, snowmobiles and leaf blowers. Small engine repair mechanics must be able to diagnose electrical, fuel and mechanical problems and quickly make the needed repairs. In addition to repairing engines, small engine mechanics may make minor body repairs and work on ignition systems, carburetors, brakes and transmissions.

Small engine mechanics commonly specialize in repairing a particular kind of equipment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies small engine mechanics into three categories: motorcycle mechanics; motorboat and marine equipment mechanics; and outdoor power equipment mechanics. Small engine repair mechanics can always advance toward a career in heavy vehicle, diesel or automobile service as well. There is also room to advance towards service manager or shop supervisor jobs.

Small engine mechanics work in a variety of settings, including dealer service shops, engine repair shops, maintenance departments, marinas and hardware stores. Between 2018 and 2028, employment for small engine mechanics was expected to increase by 8%, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Education Requirements

A high school diploma or GED is typically preferred by small engine repair employers, but not always required. The majority of small engine repair mechanics learn their trade on the job. However, the complexity of small engine repair has led to an increasing number of formal training programs.

Initial on-the-job training may include testing and assembling new equipment. More advanced training would include engine overhauls and computer diagnoses. It may be several months or a couple of years before new employees are fully versed in small engine repair.

There are also a number of diploma and certificate programs in small engine repair. Diploma and certificate programs cover topics such as small engine electrical systems, engine operation, shop safety procedures, fuel systems, cooling systems, gas metal arc welding, outboard service principles and small gas engine fundamentals.

Although it is possible to enter the field of small engine repair with a high school diploma, the slower-than-normal job growth rate means that those who complete a certificate or diploma program may have an advantage when competing for jobs in this career field.

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