Motorcycle Service Technicians
|Recommended Degree Level||Certificate or Higher|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||14,950|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||4.4%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||890|
What's needed: Some repair shops and dealership will hire individuals who have taken automotive and motorcycle repair classes in high school and provide them with the training they need in order to become technicians. However, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have completed a motorcycle service technician course at a vocational or community college. Companies such as Harley Davidson and Honda require technicians to be trained at special schools.
What you study:
You will study all of the following in a motorcycle service technician course:
- Fundamentals of Electricity
- Electrical Systems
- Small Engine Basics
- Two-stroke and Four-stroke Engine Repair
- Fuel Systems
- Transmission Systems
- Brake Systems
- Motorcycle Diagnostics
Quickly highlights what motorcycle mechanics do in their daily work. Slightly out of date but still a helpful summary. Created for the US Department of Labor.
A Day in the Life
As a motorcycle service technician, you can work either for an automotive repair shop or for a motorcycle dealership. You begin your day by arriving at a repair shop or garage. Before you begin work on motorcycles, you check to be sure that you have all the tools and diagnostic equipment that you need at hand. You'll be on your hands and knees often as a motorcycle service technician, so you might want to set up a work station with a soft pad or kneeling board.
Your first client arrives at the shop shortly after you get to work. He is having difficulty shifting into gear on his bike and asks you to run diagnostic tests. Your first step is to make a basic visual inspection of the motorcycle to identify any simple mechanical issues that may be causing the customer's problem. After completing this visual inspection, you hook the bike up to special diagnostic equipment and run a series of tests. Using your training, you read the outcome of the tests and determine that the clutch on the bike must be replaced.
You note the problem and diagnostic results on the customer's bill of work. Before you call the customer to let him know what the problem is, you consult with your boss and draw up an estimate for parts and labor. You also review your schedule and the schedules of other technicians in order to determine how quickly you can complete the work. After you have gathered this basic information, you call the customer and get his go-ahead to replace the clutch. You order the necessary parts and place the bike in a safe location.
Throughout the day, you handle many similar issues. You also do basic tune-up and maintenance tasks for customers. Shortly before your shift ends, you clean up your work area and store your tools in a secure location. You jot down notes on each bill of work to indicate where you are in the repair process. If necessary, you call customers with updates about their motorcycles.
Certifications and Licensing
While no official certification is required to become a motorcycle service technician, many individuals complete vocational courses that result in either a certificate or A.A. degree in motorcycle repair. Aspiring technicians who want to work for Harley Davidson and other major motorcycle brands must hold a certification issued by a school that specializes in that type of motorcycle before working at a dealership or company-licensed repair shop.
Full-time versus part-time:
Although they must be available to meet with clients, most motorcycle service technicians are permitted to work flexible hours. You may come in early in the morning to meet with clients but can complete repairs on your own schedule so long as you do so within an agreed-upon timeframe.
Whether you work in a dealership or private repair shop, you will enjoy a very active work environment. You may get to spend time making repairs outside and have the freedom to move around the shop throughout the day.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics: This Bureau of Labor Statistics handbook offers general information about career prospects, training and salary expectations in the field of automotive mechanics. In order to get a well-balanced view of the particular roles and responsibilities of motorcycle service technicians, it's important that prospective techs visit industry-oriented websites.
- National Motorcycle Dealers Association: While the NMDA does not provide in-depth information about training for motorcycle service technicians, the site does offer an excellent overview of the field of motorcycle sales and service. Beginning technicians who are interested in finding member dealerships in their geographic area will find this site especially helpful.
- National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation: The NATEF website provides comprehensive information about accredited automotive technician programs. Individuals who are just beginning to explore a career in motorcycle service will find this website particularly helpful when evaluating vocational schools and certification programs.