Small Engine Mechanics
|Recommended Degree Level||Certificate or Higher|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||27,350|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||4.1%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||1,350|
What's needed: Most small engine mechanics complete either a certificate in small engine mechanics or hold an A.A. degree in small engine mechanics. The majority of small engine mechanics also complete training updates and refresher courses to stay apprised of new developments in the field.
What you study:
You will study all of the following in a small engine mechanics program:
- Small Engine Performance and Tune-Up
- Small Engine Electrical Systems
- Fuel and Fluid Handling
- Small Engine Troubleshooting
- Power Tool Repair
- Lawnmower and Outdoor Equipment Repair
- Two-cycle and Four-cycle Engine Repair
Shows the work of small engine mechanics. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
As a small engine mechanic, you arrive at the shop or garage where you work shortly before it opens to the public for business. You started work on a lawn mower engine yesterday but couldn't complete repairs because you needed a part your shop doesn't stock. You check with your manager and he tells you that a courier will be bringing the item in about half an hour. While waiting for the part, you clean up your work area and organize any diagnostic equipment that you'll need for the day. You find gloves and safety goggles, which you must wear while completing many repairs.
The part you need arrives, so you finish work on the lawn mower. You review the customer's invoice to ensure that parts and labor have been billed correctly. After you've tested the mower to be sure that it works, you call the customer and tell him that he can pick it up whenever he's ready. You leave the paperwork at the front counter of the shop and greet a customer who is having trouble with a chainsaw. You take down the customer's details and begin a bill of work. You tell her that you'll look the chainsaw over and will call her when you have determined the problem.
Before running any time-consuming diagnostic tests, you make a visual inspection of the chainsaw. You notice that some of the links on the chain are rusting, which is causing the customer's problem. You write up a work estimate and call the customer to get her approval to begin work. After you have the customer's approval, you find the necessary chain in your shop's supply area. You make the repair and call the customer to let her know that the chainsaw is ready.
For the rest of the day, you work on small engine tune-ups that have been pre-scheduled by customers. You write up a work order and invoice for each tune-up. You are required to keep excellent records of all maintenance tasks completed so that the customer knows that your shop is fair and honest. At the end of the day, you clean up your work area and return any tools that you've used to storage. You check over the next day's schedule to see what kinds of repairs you will complete.
Certifications and Licensing
No formal certification is needed in order to become a small engine mechanic. However, many professionals in this field take tests offered by the Institute for Automotive Service Excellence so that they can be awarded ASE certification.
Full-time versus part-time:
As a small engine mechanic, you will generally be able to decide if you would like to work a full-time or part-time schedule. If you work for a manufacturer or dealership, you will likely be required to work a full-time schedule.
You will complete the majority of your work in a shop or garage. You have the opportunity to move around throughout the day and can take breaks as needed so long as you complete work according to a determined schedule.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Small Engine Mechanics: The Bureau of Labor Statistics website offers general information about careers in small engine mechanics. Prospective mechanics will find information about career outlooks and average salaries in this field. It is important that individuals who are interested in careers in small engine mechanics also consult sites with more qualitative information about this profession.
- The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence: ASE is the premier association for mechanics and students in this field. The ASE website provides a wealth of information about becoming certified in many different fields of mechanics. Resources to help students who plan on taking certification tests are also provided, making this an excellent site for beginning small engine mechanics.
- Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association: The AMRA website offers information about client relations and training in the field of automotive repairs. Brochures and pamphlets to help explain common mechanical issues to customers are also provided on the site. While this site is designed for automotive mechanics, it is still an excellent resource for new small engine mechanics who have not worked in a repair shop before.