How To Become a Certified Bike Mechanic (With Salary Info)

Updated March 3, 2023

Bicycles are an increasingly popular way for people all over the country to get exercise, socialize and even commute to work. Bike mechanics provide necessary maintenance and repair for bicycles, and rather than completing extensive education or high-cost training, they learn many of their skills on the job. If you're interested in becoming a bike mechanic, learning the steps you can take to start a career can help you decide if this job is right for you.

In this article, we explain how to become a bike mechanic, including how to become certified, plus we list the skills bike mechanics need and share the salary and job outlook for this profession.

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What is a bike mechanic?

A bike mechanic is a tradesperson who works at a bicycle shop or in their own business and repairs bikes for customers. They may specialize in a certain type of bike, or they may have extensive knowledge about all different bikes.

Most bike mechanics learn their skills on the job and through training similar to an apprenticeship, although there are courses you can take on bike repair. Bike mechanics are usually handy and good at fixing broken items, with excellent attention to detail.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Become a Mechanic? (With Required Skills)

What does a bike mechanic do?

A bike mechanic works with the bikes customers bring in for repair to evaluate them and then complete the necessary repairs. This might include problem-solving to discover what the issue is, then creating a quote for the customer regarding what the repairs might cost and how long they could take. It can also include cleaning and testing parts, doing the repairs and doing a final safety check to be sure the repairs were effective.

Besides the actual repair work, bike mechanics may be involved in many other aspects of the bike repair business, including:

  • Assembling bikes for their employer and customers

  • Performing bike maintenance for customers

  • Managing the bike parts inventory

  • Teaching younger mechanics and customers about bike repair and maintenance

  • Selling or purchasing bikes

Related: Learning a Trade

How to become a bike mechanic

Here are the steps you can take to become an experienced bike mechanic:

1. Get a high school diploma or GED

Like many other positions and industries, if you plan to work as a bike mechanic for a bike store or sporting goods store, employers often require a high school diploma or GED. Some bike repair courses might also require participants to have a high school diploma or GED to complete their course.

If you want to get working quickly and don't have experience with bikes, there are many courses to choose from for mechanics that often take less than a month to complete. Having the right prerequisites can ensure you qualify.

If you know in high school that you're interested in becoming a bike mechanic, any class that involves building or repairing things can teach you helpful skills, such as shop class. Additionally, classes on communication can be helpful, since bike mechanics often use customer service skills in their interactions with customers.

2. Take a bike repair course

Bike repair courses can be helpful for learning the fundamentals of bicycle repair in a short time. There are a few bike repair schools in the United States that offer extensive education on everything related to bikes, including everything from one-day courses to one-month intensive courses. The longer courses can teach you everything you require to repair any type of bike in any situation, whereas the shorter classes are often more directed at specific topics within bike maintenance.

Although there aren't many bike repair schools, many bike shops across the country offer bike repair courses you can take, as do continuing education programs through colleges and trade schools. You may also be able to learn directly from other bike mechanics or through reading books on the topic.

Related: 12 Jobs for Bicycle Lovers (With Salary Information)

3. Gain experience

The best way for an aspiring bike mechanic to learn how to repair bikes is through working with experienced bike mechanics and learning on the job. This may be in the form of an apprenticeship or it may be more casual, especially since there aren't any formal or governmental requirements for bike mechanics.

While classes and books can teach you many of the necessary skills and provide relevant background, performing the repairs can also provide you with essential experience. Since there are many different styles and brands of bikes to learn about, this type of practical experience can provide you with the additional skills necessary for repairing bikes on the job.

Related: How Does an Apprenticeship Work? (Plus other FAQs)

4. Earn a certification

If you feel it would benefit your career to have a certification, they are available through a few different places. Some of these include the United Bicycle Institute and the Barnett Bicycle Institute.

These are also schools that offer courses on bike repair, which may be required to earn certification through that organization. Certification is not a requirement to work as a bike mechanic, but if you want to advance your career or be competitive with those who have more years of experience, it can be helpful.

Related: How To Get a Bike Mechanic Certification in 6 Steps

5. Grow your skills

As you work as a bike mechanic, the industry and style of bikes may change, so it's good to always be improving your skills. This might include doing repairs faster on bikes you're already familiar with, or it could include learning about a new model of bike that is state of the art and unfamiliar. Growing your skills over time increases your value as a bike mechanic and ensures you'll be able to repair all the bikes that you are responsible for repairing.

Related: What Is Trade School? Definition, Requirements and Types

Bike mechanic skills

Bike mechanic skills are a mix of technical and soft skills, which are both important. Some of these skills include:

  • Attention to detail

  • Knowledge of a variety of bike types and brands

  • Communication skills

  • Understanding of bike parts

  • Ability to lift heavy bikes

  • Customer service skills

  • Mechanical aptitude

  • Manual dexterity

  • Problem-solving skills

Related: How To Include Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume

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Salary and job outlook for bike mechanics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the national average salary for bike repairers, like bicycle mechanics, is $34,360 per year. The organization also predicts that employment opportunities for bike repairers may grow 5% from 2021 to 2031. This is about as fast as average for all jobs. Bike mechanics may also work full time and earn benefits like health insurance as part of their compensation, which can increase their overall salary. Some work part time and may earn an hourly rate instead of an annual salary.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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