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Small Engine Mechanics



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

What courses you'll take

Below are examples of courses that you'll likely take as a small engine repair or technology student.

Small Engine Service PrinciplesReviews the principles of operation for small gasoline engines and associated components and systems. This includes: two and four stroke engines; lubrication cooling; fuel systems; governor speed control; cutter decks; chains; and clutches. A focus is placed on teaching diagnosis and resolution of faults.Teach basics of small engine operation and troubleshooting as a foundation for further classroom studies and field experience.
Small Engine Four Stroke EnginesReviews design basics of four stroke engines transmissions and transaxles. Emphasizes overhaul procedures tools used fasteners; inspection and measurement of equipment components.Ready students to diagnose repair and overhaul four stroke engines.
Small Engine Two Stroke EnginesReviews operation and overhaul basics for two stroke engines most typically for lawn and garden equipment. Focuses on proper procedure for the engine and any drive components.Prepare students to repair two stroke gasoline engines.
Small Engine Tune UpTeaches how to analyze and adjust engines for optimal performance including: valves; fuel systems; starter; cutter; and safety systems. Studies focus on use of equipment and tune up procedures in the shop.Give students expertise needed to tune up small engine equipment for optimal and safe performance.
Small Engine Drive SystemsOperation diagnosis disassembly reassembly and servicing of the drive systems found on small engine equipment such as lawn mowers snow blowers and weed trimmers. Drives covered include: belts; chains; pulleys; and gears.Ready students to completely repair the drive systems found on a variety of small engine equipment.
Small Engine Electrical SystemsCovers theory of operation for the various electrical circuits found on small engine equipment such as circuits for: ignition and magnetos; charging batteries; starting; and safety systems. Topics include fundamentals of electricity and magnetism. Reviews diagnostic tests color codes wiring schematics equipment and repairs.Prepare students to analyze electrical system problems and complete repairs.
Field ExperienceWork with an employer to practice studies in a workplace setting. Includes an individualized plan that combines goals of students school and employer.Relate classroom studies to real working situations fully readying students to move into full-time small engine mechanic positions.

Video Overview

Shows the work of small engine mechanics. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.

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.

Job Flexibility

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.

Work location:

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.

Recommended Websites

  • 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.

Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

StateCity / RegionTypical SalarySalary RangeJob Count% of All Jobs
ALBirmingham – Hoover$30150$22K – $43K700.02%
ALDothan$20550$16K – $36KN/AN/A
ALFlorence – Muscle Shoals$28250$17K – $37KN/AN/A
ALMobile$32030$21K – $49K400.02%
ARFayetteville – Springdale – Rogers$25880$17K – $30K900.04%
ARLittle Rock – North Little Rock – Conway$27080$19K – $31K1200.04%
AZPhoenix – Mesa – Glendale$28820$19K – $51K4300.03%
CAFresno$27530$22K – $36KN/AN/A
CALos Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area)$36900$28K – $60K1100.00%
CARiverside – San Bernardino – Ontario$32140$18K – $47K1100.01%
CASacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville$40300$25K – $55K500.01%
CASan Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos$32180$26K – $48KN/AN/A
CASan Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area)$37540$28K – $60K400.00%
CASan Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara$44120$34K – $59K400.00%
CASanta Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area)$34850$28K – $53K1000.01%
CASanta Rosa – Petaluma$40350$21K – $46KN/AN/A
COColorado Springs$31550$21K – $50K400.01%
CODenver – Aurora – Broomfield$35550$27K – $51K2900.02%
COFort Collins – Loveland$40770$25K – $51K500.04%
COGrand Junction$28330$23K – $54KN/AN/A
CTBridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk$43170$26K – $68K400.01%
CTHartford – West Hartford – East Hartford$35230$18K – $55K1400.02%
CTNew Haven$33950$26K – $65K400.01%
CTWaterbury$27680$18K – $55KN/AN/A
DCWashington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area)$33450$26K – $54K4300.02%
DEWilmington (Metro Area)$34620$22K – $48K1400.04%
FLCape Coral – Fort Myers$32900$19K – $43K1200.06%
FLDeltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach$24090$17K – $37K700.04%
FLFort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)$33180$25K – $51K1700.02%
FLJacksonville$30380$25K – $45K2400.04%
FLLakeland – Winter Haven$27450$18K – $43K900.05%
FLMiami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area)$28890$21K – $43K2200.02%
FLNaples – Marco Island$21830$17K – $36K2200.19%
FLNorth Port – Bradenton – Sarasota$27490$21K – $40K1200.05%
FLOcala$28770$17K – $45KN/AN/A
FLOrlando – Kissimmee – Sanford$27800$21K – $37K4200.04%
FLPalm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville$28780$17K – $43K800.04%
FLPanama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach$26230$19K – $32K700.09%
FLPensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent$27020$18K – $34KN/AN/A
FLPort St. Lucie$26740$20K – $44KN/AN/A
FLPunta Gorda$29010$20K – $38KN/AN/A
FLSebastian – Vero Beach$27020$22K – $41K500.11%
FLTallahassee$26760$20K – $38K300.02%
FLTampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater$22250$17K – $36K3700.03%
FLWest Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area)$31140$22K – $43K2700.05%
GAAtlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta$$26K – $56K1600.01%
GAAugusta – Richmond County$41280$23K – $53K800.04%
GASavannah$25490$21K – $40K400.03%
HIHonolulu$32360$21K – $59KN/AN/A
IADes Moines – West Des Moines$28180$18K – $39K800.02%
IAIowa City$27260$17K – $32KN/AN/A
IDBoise City – Nampa$31800$25K – $44KN/AN/A
ILChicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area)$35210$26K – $50K2200.01%
ILLake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area)$48420$33K – $61K700.02%
ILPeoria$28650$20K – $37K500.03%
INElkhart – Goshen$29550$22K – $47KN/AN/A
INFort Wayne$27630$22K – $38K700.04%
INGary (Metro Area)$33410$17K – $55KN/AN/A
INIndianapolis – Carmel$35710$23K – $45K2100.02%
INLafayette$23900$21K – $40K400.05%
INMichigan City – La Porte$29820$21K – $37K300.07%
INSouth Bend – Mishawaka$30590$20K – $37K500.04%
KSTopeka$22730$20K – $30K400.03%
KSWichita$31050$20K – $55K300.01%
KYLexington – Fayette$28330$22K – $43K700.03%
KYLouisville – Jefferson County$31780$18K – $56K1600.03%
LABaton Rouge$27770$23K – $31KN/AN/A
LANew Orleans – Metairie – Kenner$18920$16K – $35KN/AN/A
MABoston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area)$39150$27K – $55K1600.01%
MALowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area)$42930$26K – $56K600.05%
MASpringfield$37870$29K – $47K700.02%
MAWorcester$41210$31K – $49K1100.04%
MDBaltimore – Towson$38190$30K – $49K1500.01%
MDBethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area)$36470$23K – $69K400.01%
MDHagerstown – Martinsburg$27280$20K – $40KN/AN/A
MEPortland – South Portland – Biddeford$34660$29K – $38KN/AN/A
MIGrand Rapids – Wyoming$29560$18K – $44KN/AN/A
MIKalamazoo – Portage$36470$27K – $46KN/AN/A
MISaginaw – Saginaw Township North$18840$16K – $45K500.06%
MIWarren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area)$28780$21K – $49K1500.01%
MNDuluth$26300$20K – $36K300.03%
MNMinneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington$37940$27K – $48KN/AN/A
MNSt. Cloud$32070$19K – $40K400.04%
MOKansas City$37170$22K – $52K2100.02%
MOSpringfield$26360$17K – $43KN/AN/A
MOSt. Joseph$22840$20K – $33KN/AN/A
MOSt. Louis$32030$18K – $48K2800.02%
MSGulfport – Biloxi$23620$20K – $35KN/AN/A
MSPascagoula$$19K – $45KN/AN/A
MTMissoula$28000$18K – $38K400.08%
NCAsheville$26780$18K – $33K1300.07%
NCCharlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill$33540$22K – $55K2000.02%
NCDurham – Chapel Hill$30590$26K – $47K300.01%
NCHickory – Lenoir – Morganton$28350$21K – $38K700.05%
NCRaleigh – Cary$29880$25K – $51KN/AN/A
NCWilmington$22820$20K – $34KN/AN/A
NEOmaha – Council Bluffs$27610$22K – $44KN/AN/A
NHNashua (Metro Area)$32950$22K – $56K700.05%
NHPortsmouth$34640$26K – $56K500.09%
NJCamden (Metro Area)$33010$22K – $46K1600.03%
NJEdison – New Brunswick (Metro Area)$41620$32K – $55K1200.01%
NJNewark – Union (Metro Area)$35610$25K – $63K800.01%
NMAlbuquerque$30310$20K – $44K500.01%
NVLas Vegas – Paradise$34970$21K – $66K700.01%
NVReno – Sparks$30,930$24K – $47KN/AN/A
NYAlbany – Schenectady – Troy$29,870$20K – $42K1000.02%
NYBinghamton$31,850$19K – $46K500.05%
NYBuffalo – Niagara Falls$41,580$33K – $48KN/AN/A
NYNassau – Suffolk (Metro Area)$27,700$20K – $43KN/AN/A
NYNew York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area)$46,800$25K – $62K2400.00%
NYPoughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown$34,650$19K – $42K800.03%
NYRochester$31,070$19K – $48K900.02%
NYSyracuse$33,180$24K – $48KN/AN/A
NYUtica – Rome$33,590$19K – $45KN/AN/A
OHAkron$34,610$22K – $53K1100.03%
OHCanton – Massillon$24,300$20K – $42K400.03%
OHCincinnati – Middletown$38,470$28K – $48K1600.02%
OHCleveland – Elyria – Mentor$24,110$19K – $51K3100.03%
OHColumbus$29,880$22K – $45K800.01%
OHDayton$31,760$22K – $45

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