Small engine repair involves more than looking at just one motor; professionals in this field work on a wide variety of machines, including motorcycles, lawn mowers, chain saws, boat motors, weed whackers, hedge trimmers, power generators, lawn tractors, ATVs, and scooters. Depending on the equipment and the problem, their work may involve simple tasks like lubricating parts and replacing plugs to time-consuming jobs, such as disassembling and rebuilding an entire motor. This wide range of competencies is often too complex to learn in a workshop, and many choose to develop the skills they need by enrolling in accredited online certificate programs in engine repair.

Most certificate programs require no more than one year to complete. These highly focused programs teach the fundamentals of vehicle repair, and require few courses in other disciplines. Graduates of small engine repair classes online are highly sought after; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), small engine repair technicians can expect their field to grow by 21% between 2010 and 2012.

Types of Engine Repair Certificates

Many choose to obtain a certificate in small engine repair because they know this field provides steady work. Certificate holders are qualified to repair many of the most useful, but notoriously fickle, household machines and appliances; from weed eaters and snow and leaf blowers to garden tractors and generators, qualified small engine repair professionals usually keep busy. Many repair specialists choose to develop this expertise at online small engine repair schools, where certificates are earned quickly and inexpensively. Typical admission requirements are minimal, usually limited to a high school diploma or GED and an accumulative high school GPA of 2.0 or higher.

The typical certificate program will provide training in testing and diagnostics, as well as fundamentals of extensive repair. Most will cover electrical, fuel, and mechanical systems for both two-cycle and four-cycle engines. Exhaust and cooling systems are also frequently discussed. Some classes will cover basic elements of regular equipment maintenance.

What’s Next for Certificate Holders?

According to a recent report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the average earnings of people who have earned a certificate or other post-secondary training is $35,000. According to another report, these certificate holders will earn 18% more over their lifetimes than counterparts who did not continue their education after high school. Depending on the specialty, certificate holders find work in motorcycle or appliance distributors, outdoor sports retail stores, or repair shops; others opt to open their own businesses. According to BLS data, nearly 70,000 people were working in small engine repair in the United States in 2010.

Many certificate holders choose to continue their education and pursue an associate degree. According to BLS data, in 2012, people with an associate degree were nearly 20% more likely to be employed when compared with those who stopped their education with a certificate, and they are expected to earn nearly $200,000 more over their lifetimes than those who earn certificates. For individuals who go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree, the numbers are even more favorable; they will earn over 45% more over their lifetimes when compared with the certificate holder, and have a 40% better chance of finding a job.