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Career and Education Opportunities for Outdoor Power Equipment Mechanics in Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for outdoor power equipment mechanics. The national trend for outdoor power equipment mechanics sees this job pool growing by about 6.4% over the next eight years. In general, outdoor power equipment mechanics diagnose, adjust, or overhaul small engines used to power lawn mowers, chain saws, and related equipment.

The income of an outdoor power equipment mechanic is about $9 per hour or $19,600 per year on average in West Virginia. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $13 hourly or $28,920 yearly on average. Outdoor power equipment mechanics earn less than people working in the category of Specialized Equipment generally in West Virginia and less than people in the Specialized Equipment category nationally.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career as an outdoor power equipment mechanic. The most common level of education for outdoor power equipment mechanics is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become an outdoor power equipment mechanic if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Outdoor Power Equipment Mechanic

Outdoor Power Equipment Mechanic video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, outdoor power equipment mechanics diagnose, adjust, or overhaul small engines used to power lawn mowers, chain saws, and related equipment.

Outdoor power equipment mechanics dismantle engines, using hand tools, and examine parts for defects. They also test and inspect engines to establish malfunctions, to identify missing and broken parts, and to confirm fixes, using diagnostic instruments. Equally important, outdoor power equipment mechanics have to repair or remove faulty parts such as magnetos and carburetors, using hand tools. They are often called upon to perform routine maintenance such as cleaning and oiling parts, honing cylinders, and tuning ignition systems. They are expected to reassemble engines after repair or maintenance work is complete. Finally, outdoor power equipment mechanics remove engines from equipment, and position and bolt engines to repair stands.

Every day, outdoor power equipment mechanics are expected to be able to control and manipulate objects at a fine level of detail. They need to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. It is also important that they move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices.

It is important for outdoor power equipment mechanics to sell parts and equipment. Somewhat less frequently, outdoor power equipment mechanics are also expected to grind and retap parts to obtain specified clearances, using grinders, lathes, taps, reamers, boring equipment, and micrometers.

Outdoor power equipment mechanics sometimes are asked to repair and maintain gasoline engines used to power equipment such as portable saws and compressors. They also have to be able to remove engines from equipment, and position and bolt engines to repair stands and record fixes made and parts used. And finally, they sometimes have to perform routine maintenance such as cleaning and oiling parts, honing cylinders, and tuning ignition systems.

Like many other jobs, outdoor power equipment mechanics must be thorough and dependable and want to innovate to meet new challenges.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Charleston include:

  • Boat Mechanic. Repairs and adjusts electrical and mechanical equipment of gasoline or diesel powered inboard or inboard-outboard boat engines.
  • Bus or Truck Garage Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul trucks, buses, and all types of diesel engines. Includes mechanics working primarily with automobile diesel engines.
  • Heating Equipment Installer. Install, service, and repair heating and air conditioning systems in residences and commercial establishments.
  • Household Appliance Repairer. Repair, adjust, or install all types of electric or gas household appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, and ovens.
  • Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul mobile mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment, such as cranes, bulldozers, and conveyors, used in construction, logging, and surface mining.
  • Refrigeration Mechanic. Install and repair industrial and commercial refrigerating systems.
  • Vending Machine Mechanic. Install, service, or repair coin, vending, or amusement machines including video games, juke boxes, or slot machines.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Outdoor Power Equipment Mechanic Training

Putnam Career and Technical Center - Eleanor, WV

Putnam Career and Technical Center, 101 Roosevelt Boulevard, Eleanor, WV 25070-0640. Putnam Career and Technical Center is a small school located in Eleanor, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 110 students. Putnam Career and Technical Center has a one to two year program in Small Engine Mechanics and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.