Expand mobile version menu

Small Engine Mechanics and Repair Technology/Technician

Program Description

Just the Facts

Small Engine Mechanics and Repair Technology/Technician. A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair, service, and maintain small internal-combustion engines used on portable power equipment such as lawnmowers, chain saws, rotary tillers, and snowmobiles.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

Check out related careers

Related Programs

Often similar programs have different names. Be sure to explore all your options.

Additional Information

Small engine mechanics programs teach students to troubleshoot and repair problems in motorcycles, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boat motors, and lawn and garden equipment. Students can expect a mix of classroom time and hands-on work in the shop.

In the classroom, students study theory, procedures and how to work safely. They spend most of their time in the shop developing their skills. Programs range in length from one-year diplomas to four-year bachelor of applied science degrees.

It's common for grads to work in motorcycle shops, dealerships, sport centers, marinas, marine dealerships and hardware stores. Many programs offer co-op terms where students can earn some money while gaining college credit.

Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, Texas, offers certifications in motorcycle, marine and small engine repair. "Presently, the motorcycle field is by far the most popular with students and our graduates are in high demand by local dealerships," says Duncan Paul. He is the program coordinator for the college's engine technology program.

The motorcycle industry showcases the latest mechanical and electronic technology. Many developments are carried over from racing efforts, says Paul.

"The variety of equipment as well as interaction with customers makes this field exciting to many technicians," says Paul. "We have had graduates make over $70,000 per year after three years on the job."

Students wanting an education in small engine mechanics should look for a quality training center, says Rick Corbett. He is a marine/small engine coordinator/instructor at a college. He recommends students tour the school or attend an open house. Students can also talk to potential employers, or others in the industry to check the program's reputation.

Women are still a minority in small engine mechanics programs. However, there are plenty of opportunities for women. And even though the field is male dominated, Paul says female students do really well. "The most important trait is not gender, but is having a fairly high level of mechanical aptitude," he says.

To work in the field you should know how to ride a motorcycle, ATV, or personal watercraft. Get to know the "toys" with small engines. Tinker with snowmobiles, dirt bikes and lawnmowers. It will help you develop manual skills, mechanical abilities and keep you in good physical condition. These are all benefits for small engine mechanics.

"Many of our younger students either race motorcycles or want to get into racing as a rider or race mechanic," says Paul. Over the years he has noticed that many of his successful students are much better in the shop environment than in the classroom.

Math, English and skilled trade classes in high school provide a good foundation, says Corbett. "Post-secondary training, followed by apprenticeship is the best training for the skilled trades," he says.

Some programs require students to purchase tool sets. The tools can cost $500 to $4,000, depending on quality. Corbett says students in his program spend $800 to $900 for the year on textbooks and toolkits. Hand tools cost Paul's students between $300 and $450.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information about small engine mechanics programs, see Small Engine Mechanics

Small Engine Emissions Research
Learn about emissions -- they may be small, but they're still dirty

How to Repair Small Engines
Gain tips on repairing small engines from the folks at HowStuffWorks

25 Skills Everyone Should Know
Test your "Do It Yourself" knowledge to see how you match up with the experts at Popular Mechanics


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733