Becoming a motorcycle mechanic is a very rewarding, satisfying, and fun career path for you if you’re passionate about motorcycles and engines.
Motorcycles are an amazing hobby/lifestyle and if you ask a biker if they’d give up their bike for anything in the world, the answer would most likely be a resounding NO.
So if you could combine your love and passion for motorbikes with your job, there’s nothing quite like it, right? You get to do what you love all day long and get paid doing it!
Besides that, being a motorcycle mechanic is a challenging job that will not let you get complacent. You’ll be solving problems, working with your hands, and overall getting a very rewarding experience.
Eventually, you can grow to something even more than just repairing motorcycles – you could have your own business, you could work for race teams, you could even eventually get work with bike manufacturers!
Best Motorcycle Technician Schools
Here we have shortlisted 15 top motorcycle mechanic training schools in the country. Whether you want a diploma course for your personal growth in this field or you are looking forward to build a career – these schools will be the best for you.
1. Universal Technical Institute-Motorcycle Mechanics Institute Division
Abbreviated as MMI, the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute – tops the mechanic training schools list. Since last 4 decades – MMI offers a large variety of courses, and envelopes all the technical trainings especially in Motor Bikes, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and personal Water Craft. They provide a detailed know-how for the most of the major brands including Harley-Davidson®, Kawasaki®, Suzuki®, Honda®, BMW®, and Yamaha®. The institute has campuses all over the country.
Training period lasts for 48 weeks. Manufacturer elective training is also an option which lasts from 12-24 weeks. The classes begin every six weeks.
The University has gained popularity because of the relationships they maintain with industry giants. Even the technical assistance they provide is praiseworthy. If you are looking for qualitative training and expert assistance, than this is the best university.
2. Ohio Technical College DBA Power Sport Institute LC
A very famous institute homed in Cleveland – abbreviated as PSI – Power sport institute is not just a motorcycle repair institute. It also focuses on power sport mechanics and repairs. PSI offers repair training for all the major brands in the market.
Students can receive top-tier training from a variety of manufacturers in one comprehensive program:
Motorcycle technician training
ATV repair training
Personal watercraft repair training
Snowmobile technician training
PSI has classrooms which are designed as service garages. The teaching of PSI is mostly practical and less theory, it offers an overall training program, allowing the students to equip with all the necessary requirements for a qualified mechanic. The bonus degree in Power Sport technology opens the gateway for super lucrative jobs in many of the international brands.
3. YTI Career Institute
Located in York, Pennsylvania YTI is a very popular choice amongst the students who want to pursue their future careers in Motorsports mechanical field. There are two reasons which make this university popular:
Firstly the university offers graduation degree in the mechanics in as little as nine months. The reduced time in the course results in early job opportunities.
The second reason is small class sizes. Students get personalized experience with bikes and along with the tutors as well. This compensates for less graduation months.
YTI Career Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) – which highlights the credibility of the college.
YTI has 13 majors which include chassis repair, engine servicing, electrical systems and other important areas of study. The bikes on which the students work are also from top manufacturers – making them aware of the latest developments in the motorsport field and providing them in-depth workings of the top manufacturers in the industry.
4. Lincoln Technical Institute
LTI short-form for Lincoln Technical Institute is a very reputed college – situated in Windsor. They are a leading provider of technical skills since 1946. The institute gets a position this list because of the esteemed professors it engages to teach students. LTI hires only the best of the lot and highly professional teachers having experience in major brands of the industry. This makes the quality of the education at the top as compared to other mechanic universities in the area.
LTI teaches all of the complex skills – including engine repair, chassis study, suspension, transmission and other zones of study.
In Lincolns’ words – “Lincoln Tech training is about more than building skills – it’s also about building connections. Our partnerships with industry leaders can help you launch your dream career after graduation!”
Because of the effective teaching in diagnosis, repairing, and maintenance of motorbikes and their connections in the market – students graduating from LTI easily begin their careers in many different garages, dealerships, and custom shops as professional bike mechanics, rising to work with most of the big brands namely Harley-Davidson®, BMW®, Honda®, Suzuki® and Yamaha® motorcycles.
The program runs for 66 weeks and the college ensures minimum class size. Students get maximum exposure because of highly trained professionals working as instructors in the college.
5. Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Georgia Piedmont Technical College is situated in Clarkson and has a name in the area. The diploma degree in Motorcycle Service Technology is also highly reputable.
They prepare students with the education, training, and skills needed to enter the workforce and make a positive impact in the communities, companies, and an ever-changing global economy.
Day-time diploma in the college is a one year course starting every summer. The course covers all the basics – from maintenance, repairs and other motorbike systems. The course is “Dynojet” approved which enhances the students to properly install the bikes and gives a detailed insight on all of the accessories.
A very likely feature of the course is its internship program – which allows students to visit and work along-side professional mechanics in garages and work-shops.
6. Central Carolina Community College
Housed in North Carolina this university is very unique! Abbreviated is CCCC – the Carolina college is supported by many factories of the region. The factories donate motor bike parts to the university and the students learn through these actual parts (demo parts are completely avoided).
CCCC offers two courses – a diploma course in day time and a degree course in night hours. The university has a large garage, where all kinds of experiences are shared with the students. They are not just given technical know-how, but are also briefly given the financial and marketing outlook.
Apart from motor bike mechanical training – the university offers All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) mechanics too. This makes it a huge hit amongst students.
7. Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Located just outside of Seattle, WA, Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) was founded in 1949, and is the only public institute of technology in the state of Washington. Lake Washington Institute offers three specialized fields of study for the students. Students can get a diploma or a certificate in 1) Motor Cycle 2) Marine 3) Power equipment mechanics and services.
This university especially trains for some big brands motor bikes – for example Harley Davidson, Yamaha and other major dealers, which makes students aware about the special features of these brands and also makes them learn the differences between each of them.
The program begins every fall and ends in springs. The university is a big approach for the students because it opens up wide areas of working for them, and provides an option in marine and small engines mechanical training as well.
8. Tennessee Technology Center @ Paris
The Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology serve as the premier suppliers of workforce development throughout the State of Tennessee. This Technological Centre is a dedicated university for motor bike and All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) mechanical and technological studies.
The university Offers three programs 1) Motorcycle/ATV Mechanic Assistant Program, 2) Motorcycle/ATV Repairer and 3) Motorcycle/ATV Technician programs.
Students can do diploma or a certificate in the above fields of study.
The university is very popular in Paris because of the hands-on and practical training seminars making them specialize in diagnosing and repairing a variety of motorcycle and ATV engines. Detailed instructions are provided on how to use diagnostic equipments, hand tools, special equipments, measuring tools and other types of accessories and motor bike parts.
It is a highly reputed university for students finding a career in motor cycle repairing. The college aim to give its students the opportunity to acquire marketable skills for entry into the labor market, or upgrade present skills and knowledge of persons already employed.
9. Fort Scott Community College
FSCC – or Fort Scott Community College which is currently celebrating its 100th year – is home to Harley-Davidson’s® mechanical and technological studies. The college is located in the hills of Southeast Kansas. It is the oldest, continuous community college in Kansas. Founded in 1919, the college has an excellent reputation for offering quality education at a reasonable cost in a caring, learning atmosphere.
The college offers an Associate’s certificate in Applied Science in Motorcycle Service Technology. An associate’s certificate holds a very high value and it can fetch lucrative jobs especially in Harley Davidson’s.
The curriculum is divided into theory and practical both – with classes being held from Mondays to Thursdays. Friday is an open lab day for students who want to experiment overall weeks learning on their own. The program extends over two years span with a twelve week summer internship in Harley Davidson itself. This is an added benefit which makes the university stand out from others – because serving internship in Harley Davidson makes the resume very effective.
10. Tulsa Technology Center @ The Broken Arrow Campus
Tulsa Tech is again a big name in motorcycle training schools. It offers certificates for two programs for its intakes – 1) Motor cycle repairs and 2) Water craft repairs. The program focuses on the maintenance of motor cycles and water craft bodies along with troubleshooting the repair and diagnostic issues. It also undertakes All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) repair programs.
Big corporate companies are associated with this university – namely Kawasaki®, Briggs & Stratton® and Yamaha®.
The teachings focus on practical and technical knowledge. For this reason the students are exposed to a variety of field trips that allow them to visit dealerships and Power-Sports events in the area.
Tulsa Tech’s assets some of the leading executive leaders in as their work force – who use their diverse educational and professional backgrounds and years of experience to help develop a world-class workforce.
11. Central Technology Center
Like Tulsa Tech – Central Technology Center also provides a graduate degree course in Motor sports and water craft engines. The university focuses on practical technological knowledge rather than theatrical one. Students are taught in repair shop environments and are made to understand fuel systems, engine overhauls, suspensions, drive trains and other technological features. The program in this university is very flexible compared to other universities and is self paced.
Central Technology Center holds a good place in students view and is currently celebrating 50 years in this profession.
The college is associated with some of the very reputed industries and schools of the same profession which provides an interaction platform for its students.
12. Davidson County Community College
In the words of the college – “Davidson County Community College provides innovative and equitable learning experiences to empower individuals, transform lives, and prepare students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global community.”
Davidson County Community College offers diploma in motor cycle repairs and mechanics. The diploma can also be attained in All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and water crafts mechanics.
The college is famous for teaching students the skills required to handle the repairs of modern motor cycle engines making them professionals in electrical systems, drive trains, engines, suspensions, and frame repairs.
The only drawback to this college is that it does not offer a degree course – and with diploma the students are eligible for entry level jobs. High-paying lucrative jobs are out of reach with a diploma degree. Although it is best for students who just want to understand the know-how of motor cycle mechanics, and do not want a job in this industry. Or for those who want to start their own repair business.
13. Red Rocks Community College
The mechanical and technological course in Motor Bikes is actually Warren Tech’s. Warren Tech is the career and technical high school for Jeffco Public Schools.
Red Rocks Community College or RRCC offers the courses in affiliation with Warren tech. Classes follow the Warren Tech/Jeffco Public Schools calendar.
The college offers Power Equipment and Sport Vehicle Technology program in three variants and lasts for two years. Students can choose from the three programs which are as follows
1) A graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science Power Equipment and Sports Vehicle Technology.
2) A certificate program in Power Equipment Maintenance Technician and
3) A certificate program in Sports Vehicle Maintenance Technician.
The college is famous for the technological knowledge especially in Sports Bikes. It makes the students professionals in managing and repairing specialized bikes and small sports motors.
14. City College of San Francisco
City College of San Francisco is again a big name in the reputed colleges list. It offers two different full time certificate programs in motorcycle repairs and training, which are as follows:
1) Custom Motorcycle Technician Program
2) General Motorcycle Technician Program
Both the programs contain 34 units, with classes starting at the fall. Classes are conducted at mornings and evenings. And note – that classes continue till Saturdays.
Students can chose from the two of the above mentioned programs – and can do both if they want. All the units must be completed for getting a certificate.
The campus and the study module of this college provide enhanced repairing and maintenance skills in the Motor Bike mechanic field. The college is popular amongst students because of high jobs it creates and because it enhances their knowledge and practical working methodology needed to effectively diagnose and repair all types of motorcycle engines.
Consistent with their Vision, City College of San Francisco provides educational programs and services that promote student achievement and life-long learning to meet the needs of diverse community.
15. Los Angeles Trade-Tech
Trade-Tech is the oldest of the nine public two-year colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD).
Motorcycle Training Program in Los Angeles Trade Tech comprises of four areas, which are as follows:
- combustion engine theory and repair,
- tune-up theory and repair,
- electrical principals and repair,
- and engine diagnosis
These four areas make up the overall training structure. The college offers a degree for the above program.
Students have a pretty good review about the college.
The college visions forward to become a premier community college having regional and national level recognition. This will effect in enhanced job placements of the pass-outs of this college too – resulting in better opportunities.
Why are motorcycle mechanics important?
Motorcycles are high-speed vehicles that share the road with other cars, trucks, and pedestrians. Since the rider is mostly exposed(save for some safety equipment), it’s critical that the motorcycle always runs in great condition so the risk of any accidents due to a fault in the bike is minimized.
Passionate riders spend hours on their bikes riding at speeds in excess of 60 mph, and as a motorcycle mechanic, your job will be to make sure their bikes are in great running condition.
The advantage of being a mechanic is that you get repeat business. You won’t just repair a bike once, you’ll probably work on it multiple times over the course of its lifetime for maintenance, upgrades, and check-ups.
Motorcycle mechanics or technicians?
People who work on motorcycles are called motorcycle mechanics, motorcycle technicians, or motorcycle service technicians. Though there is no actual difference between the terms and they’re fully interchangeable, but internally, motorcycle technicians seems to be the name of choice.
What does a motorcycle mechanic do?
Your main job as a motorcycle mechanic/technician is making sure that the motorcycles you work on are road-worthy and in great working condition.
Due to the nature and variety of motorcycles, you won’t just be working on a single kind of bike – there are Harleys, choppers, dirt bikes, race bikes, and motocross bikes, just to name a few. The wide variety of bikes coming in will keep your work interesting and challenging.
Even if you decide to specialize in a single kind of motorcycle, the customer interactions and the wide variety of motorcycles made by that manufacturer(Yamaha for example) will still be a source of constant satisfaction.
After all, you’re doing what you love, right?
One perk of learning to fix motorcycles is that you also get the know-how to fix and maintain other vehicles that use similar small engines like ATVs and snowmobiles.
Some of the work you may end up doing is:
- Developing an ear for how engines should sound and when something is wrong
- Looking for any problems you can catch with your eye
- Testing the engine for proper functioning
- Riding the bike yourself to tell if there is any issue
- Working with the electronics of the bike
- Figure out what’s malfunctioning
Maintenance and repair
- Fixing parts that no longer work
- If you can’t fix something, replacing it
- Tuning and tweaking the various parts of the engine
- Doing routine maintenance on bikes: oil changes, lubrication, and so on
- Cleaning the engine to make sure there is no unnecessary friction
- Doing body work such as painting, fitting new accessories, hammering out dents, or welding
Safety and legal
- Doing all the paperwork for a new bike/insurance/repairs
- Getting rid of hazardous chemicals safely
- Keeping good records
Motorcycle Mechanic Salary
According to recent statistics, the median pay for motorcycle mechanics and technicians is $14.93 per hour.
Along with commissions and bonuses, this translates to around $30,000 per year, though the lower end is $22,000 and the higher end is $50,000.
Many technicians are not paid per hour – instead, they are paid in commissions for work that they do. In this sense, the more efficient you are and the more work you can get done, the better your prospects for pay are.
Larger employers can also provide lots of benefits and value.
There is no real difference as such in the pay of a specialized mechanic(say for Honda or Yamaha) vs a mechanic with general skills. Of course, you can expect that someone on a racing team may be paid more than someone working in a showroom or a garage.
Requirements for becoming a motorcycle mechanic
The degree or program you want to look for is called motorcycle service technology. Many schools offer diplomas or associates degrees in this field.
Diplomas commonly take one year to complete, and associates degrees require 2 years.
You can also take the route of apprenticeship where you start work with a certified technician and learn on the job. You’ll build your skill set as you get paid for whatever work you do, and gradually rise in your career ladder.
Some employers in the apprenticeship route may also pay for any classes you have to take for certain certifications.
One of the best ways to see how the best way to get started where you live is to just walk into a dealership or repair shop and talk to folks!
Motorcyclists are very friendly and passionate about their work and they’ll happily guide people looking to get into this line of work – especially if you offer to get them coffee or lunch 🙂
Formal training vs apprenticeship
In formal training, you’ll learn a set curriculum that’s designed to progress with you from the basics all the way up. This is the best way to ensure that you’re covering all of your bases and you’re building a good foundation of knowledge upon which you’ll develop your skills.
Formal training at a school also provides you a safe space to work and experiment on motorcycles – making a mistake won’t cost a client something!
You should be mindful that some schools may require that you already have an apprenticeship before you get started. If you choose the right school, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet and make contacts with key players in the industry.
As in any field of work, who you know makes a huge difference in your career.
In apprenticeship, you can get paid as you learn. This is a huge plus point if your current financial situation does not allow for you to take one or two years off and devote them to study.
However, since the training is no longer formal, you need to be sure your employer is reputable and is teaching you the correct skills and techniques and not teaching you bad practices.
Whichever route you choose to pursue, there are lots of great online resources to help you learn about motorcycles:
Getting your feet wet
To see if this career is for you, consider volunteering at a dealership or garage, or even requesting to just shadow a mechanic as they go about their work.
Even doing so for a few weeks can help you see if this line of work is for you or not.
You can also volunteer at a salvage yard and offer to take apart bikes to learn about the parts and how they come together.
How much does it cost?
Since the options for training are so varied, the price range is quite wide, too. You may be going for a diploma, a certificate, or an associates degree. It will also depend on the school and the location of the school.
That said, the range for training is about $3000 to $25,000 – but in some circumstances, it can even be more than $25,000.
However, when the cost is higher, it will most likely include tools, safety clothing, welding gloves, and other bits and bobs.
Some states will require that you get licensed before you can work on a motorbike. In Michigan and Hawaii, you need to pay a fee and pass a written test before you get certified.
The best way to find out is just do a google search “YOUR STATE motorcycle technician certification” and you’ll be able to find out the requirements for where you live.
On top of state requirements, you can also get certifications from manufacturers. This is useful for when you want to make sure any work you do stays within the warranty for your client. There’s no one place to get all of these certifications – instead, you’ll have to get manufacturer-specific certifications from classes the manufacturers themselves hold.
You also need to have a high school diploma in most cases.
Additional skills that would help you:
- Problem-solving abilities
- Hand-eye coordination
- Basic electronics
- Basic math