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Small Engine Mechanics Job Description, Career as a Small Engine Mechanics, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High school

Salary: Median— $14.90 per hour

Employment Outlook: Good

Small engine mechanics repair and service various kinds of equipment like motorcycles, motorboats, lawnmowers, portable generators and snowmobiles, as well as go-carts and chainsaws. They take apart engines and check for signs of wear and tear. In addition, they repair or replace defective components. Servicing the engines is also part of their job role, and this involves lubricating the parts to make the engine’s operation smoother, as well as estimating repair expenses.

Small engine mechanics are mostly employed in repair shops, but may also work in the backyards of the engine owners. There are various kinds of small engine mechanics, including motorboat mechanics, motorcycle mechanics, and outdoor power equipment mechanics.

Motorboat mechanics are primarily responsible for adjusting and repairing the mechanical and electrical parts in different boat engines. Apart from small boats, commercial fishing boats, and cabin cruisers, motorboat mechanics also work on propellers, marine plumbing, and steering mechanisms.

Motorcycle mechanics work on motorcycles, mopeds, dirt bikes, motor scooters, and all-terrain vehicles. They repair and overhaul these engines, setting the brakes, transmissions, and ignition systems correctly.

Outdoor power equipment mechanics repair and service lawnmowers, chain saws, garden tractors, generators, and the like. In certain geographic regions, they may also work on snowmobiles and snowblowers.

Education and Training Requirements

Though there are no specific educational requirements for small engine mechanics, employers generally prefer candidates with a high school education. In certain cases, certification courses may also suffice. One can opt for programs in science, mathematics, automobile mechanics, or small engine repair.

In certain states, small engine mechanics require a trade certification. However, vocational training can also be adequate. In most cases, small engine mechanics receive on-the-job training. Such training may last from 3 to 5 years. A lot of employers also organize training workshops that are aimed at improving skills and also providing updated information about new models.

Small engine mechanics must be mechanically inclined and possess a good understanding of how various types and sizes of internal combustion engines work.

Getting the Job

Small engine mechanics can directly contact local motorboat, motorcycle, and garden equipment dealers for jobs. One can also approach marinas and boatyards for employment opportunities. State employment service offices may offer training and job-related information.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

With experience and expertise, small engine mechanics can take up administrative positions like that of a service manager or supervisor. Some mechanics also start their own power shops. Besides, with time, small engine mechanics can shift to repair and servicing jobs of heavy equipment.

The employment opportunities for small engine mechanics are expected to increase by 12% in the next ten years. Those with formal training are likely to have the best prospects. Also, with increasing government regulations for emissions, mechanics with knowledge of emissions-reducing technology will be able find better opportunities.

Working Conditions

Small engine mechanics are mostly employed in repair shops. In such cases, the surroundings are well-lit and comfortable, though a tad noisy. In contrast, motorboat mechanics and outdoor power equipment mechanics may have to work outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions.

The work in this profession is seasonal. While spring and summer months are busy, calling for more than 40 hours of work per week, winter months usually have considerably less work.

Where to Go for More Information

American Motorcyclist Association
13515 Yarmouth Dr.
Pickerington, OH 43147

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
9000 Machinists Pl.
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-2687

National Marine Manufacturers Association
200 E. Randolf Dr., Ste. 5100
Chicago, IL 60601

Canadian Technology Human Resources Board
278 Serena Drive
Nepean, Ontario K2G 4P5

Earnings and Benefits

The earnings of small engine mechanics depend on their area of expertise. According to records published in May 2006, the median hourly salary of motorcycle mechanics was $14.45, and that of motorboat mechanics was $15.96. Outdoor power equipment mechanics reported median salary of $12.94 per hour.

On the whole, small engine mechanics are offered limited benefits. However, those working in larger organizations enjoy paid leaves and vacations, health insurance, and work-related training. In some cases, small engine mechanics may also be provided uniforms and assistance in purchasing new tools.

Additional topics

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