Motorcycle Mechanic Schools
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Students who get training through motorcycle mechanic schools have the opportunity to gain practical expertise for an enjoyable, in-demand trade. Formal vocational programs tend to be relatively short, and many include hands-on instruction. So if you want to become job-ready and start fixing bikes, you should look into the specialized education offered at trade schools near you or online.
Motorcycle Mechanic Training
Vocational programs can help you learn the technical concepts and processes of motorcycle repair. In many cases, they offer a blend of classroom learning and hands-on training. But online programs are also available. Some people learn the trade as paid apprentices.
Benefits of Motorcycle Repair School
A short and reliable training path: Going to a vocational school takes the guesswork out of what and how you should be studying (and in what order). It can greatly reduce the overall amount of time it takes to learn the fundamentals. And you can receive expert guidance from experienced pros who push you to practice skills beyond what you already know.
Greater appeal to potential employers: Completing a trade school program can make you stand out from competitors for entry-level positions or apprenticeships. It shows that you have the drive and commitment to stick with motorcycle repair and keep improving your skills.
Room for error while learning the basics: Students make mistakes, especially when practicing skills through hands-on exercises. It's an expected part of the learning process. School instructors generally have much more patience for errors than employers who train mechanics on the job. Being in school can take away some of the pressure and allow you to more easily and comfortably learn from your mistakes.
Length of Training
It often takes between 10 and 18 months to finish a program at a motorcycle mechanic school.*
Most Common Length of School*
(range in months)
Completing a certificate or diploma program tends to be the most common way to get post-secondary motorcycle mechanic training. At some trade schools and vocational colleges, that takes less than a year, but it can also take up to about 18 months.*
In some areas of the country, it's also possible to find an associate degree program that takes up to two years. However, that path is relatively uncommon.*
Another option is to find an apprenticeship. In this scenario, an employer sponsors your training, and you get paid as you learn the trade on the job. Some motorcycle manufacturers offer their own apprenticeship opportunities, and you may be able to find openings through the U.S. Department of Labor. Completing a post-secondary motorcycle repair program can make you a more compelling candidate for such opportunities.
Typical Motorcycle Mechanic Courses
Motorcycle service technology programs often cover subject areas like:
- Engine and transmission fundamentals
- Electrical systems
- Ignition, fuel, and exhaust systems
- Suspensions and brakes
- Diagnostic procedures
- Repair and maintenance methods
- Basic welding techniques
- Proper handling of hazardous materials
- Workplace professionalism and safety
Some programs incorporate placements at repair shops, giving students valuable work experience.
Skills You Can Learn
Your training may help you develop skills for working on motorcycles and ATVs, including expertise related to:
Identifying, inspecting, troubleshooting, fixing, and adjusting:
- Two- and four-stroke engines
- Steering and suspension systems
- Fuel injection and delivery systems
- Ignition and electrical components
- Cooling systems
- Exhaust and emission-control systems
- Frames and wheel assemblies
- Using a wide variety of hand and power tools
- Utilizing electronic diagnostic scanners
- Following safety procedures
- Communicating effectively with customers and coworkers
Licensing & Certification
In most states, you don't need anything special—just a driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement. No other state licensing is required. The exceptions are Michigan and Hawaii, which each require motorcycle mechanics to pass state exams in order to become certified or licensed to diagnose and fix bikes for the public without supervision. In Hawaii, you also need a minimum amount of relevant schooling and/or experience in order to qualify for licensing.
Many employers prefer or require their motorcycle technicians to obtain specific manufacturer certifications (such as from Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, etc.). Such credentials are often necessary in order to perform warranty or insurance work on particular makes and models. Getting certified typically involves completing special classes or workshops that are conducted by the individual manufacturers or their training partners.
Education & Training FAQs
What should I think about when choosing a motorcycle mechanic school?
First, consider whether you'll have the chance to learn how to work on other small-engine vehicles such as snowmobiles, ATVs, and jet skis. (Depending on your region, having the skills to work on more than just motorcycles can lead to additional opportunities during the off-season.)
Second, look into whether particular schools can help you meet important industry contacts such as manufacturer representatives. Such contacts can make all the difference in your career development since, everything else being equal, success in the motorcycle industry is frequently about who you know.
Third, take the training format into consideration. Will you have opportunities for lots of hands-on practice in a shop setting? Or, for now, do you prefer to learn the basic concepts from home through an online program?
What will I need for my hands-on training?
Some schools supply students with everything they need as part of the overall tuition and fees. At other schools, you may need to purchase certain items separately.
Motorcycle Mechanic Career Information
Repairing motorcycles can be a fun, interesting, and reliable way to make a living. Employment within the trade is growing. In addition to becoming your own boss, there are opportunities to specialize in fixing the kinds of bikes you love most.
9.6% growth from 2020 to 2030
Average Yearly Openings
Length of Training
Most Common Length
Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Polaris, KTM, Ducati, BMW, Triumph
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. Department of Education
The median yearly wage for motorcycle mechanics is $38,170, according to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program. The highest earners make more than $60,420.
Rather than a regular hourly wage or salary, many people in this trade are paid a flat rate or commission for each piece of work they perform. Some employers, especially larger businesses, also provide valuable benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.
Median Annual Wage Comparison
Job Openings & Outlook
Motorcycle mechanics are in demand. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment projections, the number of jobs in this field is expected to increase by 9.6 percent between 2020 and 2030. Over that decade, about 1,700 jobs may become available each year. Most of those openings—about 1,600—are projected to come about due to people retiring or changing occupations.
One important consideration for people looking into a career in motorcycle technology is that the job demand may vary seasonally. Many areas of the U.S. get cold and snowy in the winter, which inevitably means there are far fewer bikes on the road. If consistent work hours throughout the year are a top priority, automotive or diesel mechanic training may be a better choice.
- Highly engaging work: Repairing motorcycles involves a lot of problem-solving, so boredom is rare in this vocation.
- Potential for self-employment: With experience, you could start operating your own repair shop, which could increase your income potential and independence. About four percent of all small engine mechanics are self-employed.
- Skills that transfer: Motorcycle repair can sometimes be a good entry point into other mechanical trades. With additional training, some of your skills could be utilized in similar trades such as automotive, diesel, or heavy equipment repair.
What a Motorcycle Mechanic Does
Also known as motorcycle technicians, people in this trade ensure that the bikes they service are in safe and efficient working condition. They may work on a wide array of bike types, from scooters and mopeds to customized choppers and touring editions to high-powered race bikes and off-road dirt bikes.
Plus, many mechanics have the skills to work on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, personal watercraft, and other motorized vehicles powered by small engines.
Depending on where they work and how much expertise they have, their daily tasks can include:
- Conducting tests on ignition timing, generator output, and engine performance
- Diagnosing electrical or mechanical issues
- Inspecting and testing malfunctioning components
- Discussing diagnosed problems, required parts and labor, and estimated costs with customers
- Repairing or replacing broken parts
- Performing routine maintenance (e.g., replacing spark plugs, changing oil, lubricating parts, etc.)
- Scraping carbon build-up off of pistons, valves, cylinders, and other parts
- Performing complete engine overhauls
- Welding any breaks or tears in motorcycle frames
- Fitting custom accessories to new motorcycles
- Completing paperwork for warranty or insurance repairs
Motorcycle techs can find jobs in several kinds of environments, such as:
- Repair shops
- Racing facilities
- Salvage yards
- Police fleet garages
Motorcycles come in a wide variety of styles and engine types. Although some mechanics may focus on repairing or adjusting parallel twin, flat-twin, inline-triple, inline-four, or other kinds of engines, specialization in this trade is usually geared toward working on particular brands of motorcycles. For example, many technicians in the U.S. specialize in servicing bikes from manufacturers such as:
What qualities do you need to become a good motorcycle mechanic?
In addition to mechanical aptitude and a genuine passion for motorcycles, successful technicians often have:
- Excellent problem-solving abilities
- Good hand-eye coordination
- Basic math skills
- A good understanding of basic electronics
- An eye for detail
- Physical stamina
- A strong safety mindset
Welding is another great skill to have, especially if you want to work on custom bikes. And if you ever intend to open your own repair shop, having some business knowledge can be very helpful as well.
Do motorcycle technicians have advancement opportunities?
Some mechanics eventually move into higher-paying roles that may or may not involve as much hands-on work. In many cases, they take on different responsibilities while still utilizing their technical knowledge. For example, those with the right skills, experience, and connections can advance or transfer into other positions within the industry, such as:
- Master service technician
- Service writer
- Service manager
- Shop foreman
- Shop owner
- Racing team technician
- Sales representative
- Manufacturer representative
Motorcycle Mechanic Schools Are Worth Checking Out
Learning how to fix motorcycles is a fun and challenging process that many trade schools make easier and more convenient. Completing a formal training program is one of the most popular and reliable ways to prepare for this enjoyable and engaging career.
* Length of training information is based on a combination of information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Department of Education, and a wide sampling of relevant program lengths from about 30 individual school websites. They are a mix of public, private non-profit, and private for-profit institutions.