Going back to school is a great way to further your knowledge in the always-evolving rat race. If your passion is motorcycles, why not pursue a career as a motorcycle technician? There are many schools that offer the right training in furthering your knowledge of all things motorcycle, which will help you get your foot in the door of becoming a motorcycle mechanic.
We spent some time talking with some of the top trade schools in the motorcycle industry in order to give you the rundown on programs offered for prospective motorcycle mechanics. After all, it's only your future at stake.
Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI)
(Phoenix; Orlando, Florida)
Approximated Education Costs: $20,000-$30,000
Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, or MMI as it's more commonly known, is a motorcycle repair division under the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) umbrella known for its automotive, motorcycle, diesel, marine, collision repair, and Nascar technician programs.
MMI is an accredited institution by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and offers programs for eager Harley and other motorcycle manufacturer enthusiast technicians. MMI has become widely recognized by dealerships around the country and abroad for students completing Motorcycle Technician programs from the institute. With motorcycle-repair campuses in Orlando, Florida, and Phoenix, a Harley-enthusiast MMI program consists of 60 weeks entrenched in coursework. Students can choose from three sessions: morning, 7 a.m. to noon; afternoon, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and evening, 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. For the first 36 weeks, students study core motorcycle curriculum involving motorcycle theory and the fundamentals of how motorcycles work in both classroom and hands-on environments. While in school, all tools are provided.
Once the 36-week core classes are completed, a Harley enthusiast then enrolls in the 24-week Late Model curriculum, which is aligned with Harley-Davidson University curriculum. MMI students enrolled in the late-model program can qualify for Harley-Davidson PHD course credits in service procedures, chassis service, electrical diagnostics, and Buell powertrain and engine management systems. Once the student passes the Service Procedures PHD assessment, the student is then eligible to become employed as an authorized Harley dealer mechanic.
According to MMI, curriculum consists of approximately 80 percent hands-on training, and about 20 percent instructor lectures, etc. And of course there are quizzes, exams, homework, etc. It is a school after all. If interested, students can participate in an Early-Model Harley class, which lasts six weeks and covers the design, repair, and maintenance of Harley-Davidson motorcycles dating back to 1936. The student will learn about the design, function, and service procedures for Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead, and Evolution engines.
For program funding, MMI offers the federal PELL grant, and Student Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) to those who apply; as well as federal student loan programs (Stafford loans, Perkins loan). Of course, students are encouraged to apply for institutional and external scholarships, too. After all, grants and scholarships don't need to be repaid.
Obviously, students will need to hang their hats somewhere at the end of the school day, and MMI has resources in place at both the Phoenix and Orlando locations. Apartment and home rentals, roommate shares, and extended stay hotels are available in Phoenix, and a housing-specific website is available for incomoing students to plan their stay (mmihousingaz.com). The Orlando campus offers dorm room accommodations, as well as the resources for finding an apartment or home rental as well as a roommate situation or extended-stay hotel.
Once a student has completed all coursework, MMI claims an 87-90 percent success rate for recent graduates landing jobs. Grads can either go the independent, smaller shop route, or aim toward working in a Harley-Davidson authorized dealership. MMI has a special relationship with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Harley-Davidson University, which can be attended only by mechanics working at a certified Harley-Davidson dealership. MMI also provides its grads with a $1,000 retail tool voucher for Snap-On Tools.