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  1. #1
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    Default UTI Oregon...???

    So I'm 30 and i wanna take the next step to making bikes my career instead of garage hobby. I fix a couple of my friends' bikes and what not but i want to someday have my own shop. So where's a good start?? I remember from High School shop classes that UTI was good and there's one in Oregon. My ol lady wants to move there and i just wanna get out of North Dakota. Bike shops don't do well here because most people only ride 4 months out of the year and mainly on weekends... I want to move to a better chop seen. A better climate. Less 4 wheeled vehicles, more 2 wheelers. Is there a better school?? Cheaper?? I'd love to apprentice but I feel that's even harder to get into and I may be getting too old to apprentice?? I have many questions and I want to do this the best way possible. All i do is think about american iron. Old nasty 70's Denver style choppers.

    I have been working on motorcycles since I was 14. I got a motron scooter all ripped apart in a box with no instructions. When I was 15 i had it running for about 5 mins. That's a 15 year old kid, with a dad who pushses pencils and weights and despises "bikers" with no guidence, no instructions, and some random tools. I started acquiring tools from hand me downs and garage sales. My dad hated it. he discouraged it. Wanted me to do the whole sports thing and be a lawyer like him. We dont talk anymore. you see, I love bikes. Always have. After that scooter it was countless dirt bikes and then my first road bike, the 1981 XV750 Yamaha Virago... the rest is history.

    I just wanna build, work on, and fix bikes. I dont care if it's in somebody else's shop or my own. You gotta do what you love and love what you do. And to me, that's a tool in my hand and grime under my nails. I really do have a natural knack for this. I am good at the things i do and currently rebuilding a 1994 XLH 1200 in my garage. It's a hoot of a good time.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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    There are no UTI or MMI locations in Oregon at this time. Not sure if there are other tech schools there or not. Closest to Oregon at this time is Sacramento, which isn't close what so ever really. I work at UTI Long Beach. There are rumors that another campus is in the works but the location is unknown. Pacific NW is wide open so hopefully we get a campus up that way soon. If you want more info about the curriculum pm me and I'll fill you in.

  3. #3

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    Just remember, graduation from any private/trade related MC school doesn't mean you will get a job when you are done. They also tend to be very expensive.

    I hate to say it, but while you might have been wrenching since you were 14, nowadays, as far as at least dealer shops go, it really doesn't mean anything anymore. They want a sheepskin from a tech institute. And thats the catch. You might have allot of tech grads, but there might not be allot of actual job openings, at least in the area that you might be searching in.

    I have learned an awful lot over the years as far as the job market goes: First, you need to go where the jobs are. Allot of folks tend to want to stay where they are currently at: Its a comfort zone thing. But if jobs are slim where you are, you have to go to where they are. I mean let's face it, thats the way it is. And the tech school of your choice may not be where the jobs actually are

    Most of who has attended any of the trade schools out there, typically have moved there for the training and suck it up while they are there. Many attendees share rent and live together: Then once done, the graduates will move to where the jobs are. When graduated, I would move to where the weather is good 365. And yes, the competition for a job is a little stiffer in these areas

    Another option is working for an Indy shop: But that has its drawbacks as well. First, you need an in. Then be prepared to work for very low pay, pay your dues, and MAYBE move up. Job security is tough working for an Indy. You wont get any bennies, and frankly, most shops don't last that long

    Open your own shop: Nothing is more self-gratifying, but at the same time, risky

    Documented training is what will get you a career: Tech schools are the quickest way to go, and then work hard to get a job in an established company. Once you get there, work hard again to move up. Just remember, being a wrench is a rocky road.......Most places could care less if you move on, quit, or whatever, because another mechanic is just around a corner wanting the job

    Last: If you just want to wrench HDs, get that out of your mind right now: Most of your jobs will most likely be in the Japanese market, both street and dirt bikes

    So...........My recommendation:

    -Get documented training from a quality tech school. Prepare to live on crackers and water for at least a year while there. Have an good ole and supporting lady that can pay the bills while you train, and then, search for work
    -Then move to an area where they need a mechanic 365: Stay away from seasonal areas, at least for your first 3-4 years
    -MC mech jobs dont come easy, but dont let that get you down. There are mechs out there that love what they do, and have been promoted up the chain


    Good luck

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    Get the formal training first. Apprenticeship at an indy can easily turn into being an underpaid peon with zero career track. You don't have time for that.

    Learn and love computers, electronics and driveability diagnostics. Be awesome at what other techs hate or can't do or can't do because they hate it. Follow the money because you don't have many work years left so you must become a fucking beast to move up in useful time. ALL your interests should be technical and complement each other. Chops may or may not make a living but versatile puts bread on the table. Job satisfaction doesn't make the Snap-on payment. Study how to work on anything with less than four wheels and then study that too because it's part of a process. One day you appreciate all technology then draw from what you know works.

    I just got back from Barber Vintage Festival. When (not if) you can make time, visit the highly-fucking-inspirational museum. Turning out hundreds of motorcycles (with hundreds more awaiting work) at that level of restoration is far more advanced and difficult than any custom work because you are trying to match something else as perfectly as possible and in some cases replicate it from minimal or conflicting sources of information. They had their workshops open and it's no accident they have a manual Bridgeport along with two nice Haas CNC centers. Shoot for the biggest league you can play in. Learn to machine and weld beyond what you think you'll need. (You might run with the ball and make much more money as either than a bike wrench.)

    If you lack a sound business education get one. Technical skills didn't save countless mechanics, machinists, technicians and business owners large or small who couldn't control their money. My machinist bro's wife does their books because that way no one embezzles from them. Don't play, don't guess, KNOW.

    Last: If you just want to wrench HDs, get that out of your mind right now: Most of your jobs will most likely be in the Japanese market, both street and dirt bikes
    HD techs are in a small world without technological advancement. The old guys in the game started when things were different and it's very difficult to train quickly to a level where you can compete with serious experience. Learn on diverse technologies then play with whatever tickles your prostate on the side. My generation who are the main Harley customer base will be dead or dying in twenty years. You might not. Don't tie your future to people who get buried before you.

    You DO want to be able to retire one day, riiight? Then gorge on knowledge because the more you know the more you can do and the more choices you will have. If you are to succeed in customs you need artistic talent on top of technical skill and even then it's an economically sensitive market. Motorcycles in the US are toys, optional and dispensable. There will be many more Recessions as there were before the recent mess. You need to be a badass to get through those as a small businessman, so become that.

    Life is a shit sandwich. Got more bread? Taste less shit.
    Last edited by farmall; 10-11-2015 at 5:19 PM.

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    Thanks for your insight. I am planning on going to a school no matter what. You need documented training nowadays this I know. Just wanted to hear what others who have gone down this road before me have to say. I am MORE THAN WILLING TO RELOCATE. I want to move away. To where ever I can make a living. I have a great Ol lady who is very supportive and is willing to make sacrifices now for a better outcome later in life. I dont care if its japanese, Italian, Russian, or American. I wanna work on bikes. For myself or for somebody else. I DO NOT CARE. I can half ass weld but am planning on getting better at that as well. Schooling first then land job. Fill in the rest as I go.

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    UTI and MMI are not accredited institutions. If HD up and decided "hey, UTI and MMI sure do shit training (which is true), we're not hiring their grads anymore." you'd be screwed. Indy shops would follow suit, other lines of work--auto shops, machine shops, public works, would laugh and toss your resume in the round file. I sure as hell would.

    Check out Ferris State's automotive program in Michigan, or their diesel mechanics program. To me it's the same fucking thing, wrenching. The market for diesel techs is really good. There's a community college in Detroit that's more MC based, but you still have to take basic classes. Michigan gets shit on, but there are a lot of really good tech schools in this state that don't cost a lot of money. Getting residency would be a pain in the ass, but our cost of living is low. However my community college only asked for my local address.

    http://www.wccnet.edu/academics/clas...t/subject/MST/

    Believe me, sooner or later you'll get shit on attending a for profit college. I went to bat with 24cycles on this topic but he ignored me.

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showth...t=40504&page=3
    Last edited by seaking; 10-12-2015 at 2:03 PM.

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    My nephew went to UTI in chicago for diesel mechanics. he still doesn't have a job he went to school for.

    partially because he's lazy and partially because UTI.

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    I've heard nothing but good things about Ferris, I went there and every grad I talked to had a job offering.

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    The reason I would go MMI is because I want to do motorcycles. i have had jobs working on cars. At slavage yeards, dealerships, and indy shops. Im sick of doing jobs for a paycheck. call me crazy but i want to do what I LOVE despite pay. i will figure that out later. i already work 2 full time jobs so im not scared of work. just sick of doing shit i do not enjoy. I am def not moving to Michigan. No offense but FUCK winter. ive lived in Fargo NORTH DAKOTA for 30 frigid years. Im going south or west my friend. and the way it is now, Harley hires out of the harley program. So if one day they say it sucks and wont hire those grads then that is something i will deal with when/if it happens IF I choose the MMI way. I want to pursue MY DREAM of making a living working on and building stellar bikes. American and or japanese. I do not care. i want to hear how other LIFER MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS AND BUILDERS DID IT. not auto techs saying they wouldnt hire me cuz i went to UTI. I dont need the training, I need the certificate and paper so others will hire me. thanks for the input.

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    It sounds to me like your pretty set on getting out of the midwest, but have you checked into Mitchell tech in Mitchell south Dakota? I've heard good things about the school and they have a powersports program.

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    NBraun96 Thanks for the info but my ol lady is from Aberdeen SD and is dead set on never living in that state again. haha. She'd leave me first!

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    I am an MMI graduate, and I can tell you first hand that it is a bastion of motorcycle knowledge. If you are going to attend the HD classes, DO NOT skip the Early Model extra classes.

    I grew up knowing motorcycles from a young age, and not just Harley's either. Triumphs, show bike's, and even some Jap bikes. I decided to go to MMI thinking that the Harley shops were the way they used to be. This is no longer the case.
    I realized this while in class, and had to ask myself if I really wanted to work in a production percentage, corporate, D-bag shop. Truth is that most of the people that I went to class with I would let hold a screw driver, in fear that they might hurt themselves.

    I did they dealership thing, and it was a good experience, but it wasn't my scene. I did the Ma & Pop thing, but found that the structure felt like "what did you do to make me money today", and then was let go when the season was finished.
    I did like the Independent Shop though, and would help out if asked (I'm still on talking terms with the owner). Instead I fell in to a trade that I hadn't even considered, and fell in to my lap out of nowhere...MACHINING!

    A person mentioned it above (and I still have to make my way to Barber) that knowing how to actually make parts is an invaluable asset. I met a gentleman where I live that works on Vincents and other oddities, and upon seeing his shop, there is nothing but older machining tools, and a wall full of very rare engines (not mention extremely expensive).
    As a word of advice from who asked me the same question: "do you really want to take your hobby (fun), and turn it in to a job (not fun)". I thought the answer was yes, but for me, it' a resounding...NO!

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    I would love to get into machinig and making parts. I still am applying to schools on the west coast right now and i filled out the interview questionnaire online for MMI. Just gonna see what happens and go with whatever feels like the best fit.

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    I was in the same boat a few years ago. Loving wrenching on motorcycles at home and trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a living. I looked at MMI and UTI and the main draw back I found was the price of tuition compared to the average salary of a technician. I started looking at community college/tech school programs like welding, machining, auto, etc and eventually started into Aircraft Maintenance. These types of skills will always give you work in any city u wish to live in. I was able to have the SC state lottery pay have my tuition and got a scholarship for the other half from Boeing just by writing a page long reply. Their are a ton of jobs out there all over the world and they pay pretty descent. Im just getting started and still have a lot to learn in the field. So...either way...look into scholarships offered for your program of choice and consider programs that will be interesting and lucrative so u can make a good living...afford your hobbies and retire one day and open your dream shop and build any kind of bikes ya want.

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    I was looking into doing UTI or MMI for their Harley program many years ago. Talked to a number of graduates from the programs and was dissuaded, saying that they spent $30k+ on the programs and (naturally) had to compete with other graduates for the prized jobs at the dealerships. Of course the dealers will pay as little as they have to, since there is a constant wave of new guys graduating every year. Employer's market. They also said that after paying all that money and going through all the training, working with engines, etc., they wound up only changing oil, batteries, and tires.

    Only makes sense that they would start the new guys off on basic jobs, and leave the engine rebuilding, etc. to the seasoned professionals so take it for what you will. I wound up going to tech school and learning TIG welding (mild steel, stainless, aluminum) and becoming a certified CNC machinist. Much happier knowing how to make shit on my own than wrenching on other people's bikes that don't necessarily know (or care) about maintaining them properly.

    Good luck with whatever route you go.

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