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How to Become a Maintenance Worker

By Andrea Delgado

Published:

If you’re a hands-on individual with a knack for problem-solving and a passion for keeping things in working order, a career as a maintenance worker might be the perfect fit for you. In this article, will guide you through the essential steps to become a skilled maintenance worker. From acquiring the necessary skills and certifications to finding employment opportunities, we’ll provide you with a roadmap to embark on a rewarding journey in the field of maintenance and explain what maintenance worker duties consist of.

Career Summary

Maintenance Worker Salary

Maintenance Worker Salary

How much do maintenance workers make? The salary range for maintenance workers can vary significantly depending on different factors.

Here is a general overview of a maintenance worker’s salary range from entry-level to executive positions according to data from glassdoor.com:

  • Entry Salary (US$30k)
  • Median Salary (US$38k)
  • Executive Salary (US$51k)

The average maintenance worker salary in the United States is lower than the national average income for all occupations, which was around US$61,900 in May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Maintenance Worker Job Description

Maintenance workers are responsible for ensuring the proper functioning and upkeep of various systems and equipment within a given facility or property. A maintenance worker job description may include performing routine inspections, troubleshooting issues, repairing or replacing faulty components, and conducting preventive maintenance measures. They play a vital role in maintaining the safety, functionality, and longevity of buildings, machinery, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC systems, and other infrastructure.

Maintenance Worker Career Progression

The career progression for maintenance workers can vary depending on factors such as experience, skills, and the specific industry they work in.

Here is a general outline of the career progression for maintenance workers:

  • Entry-level Maintenance Worker: Performs basic maintenance tasks and assists more experienced professionals in repairs and inspections.
  • Maintenance Technician: Takes on more responsibilities, gains experience in various areas, and performs complex repairs and preventive maintenance.
  • Lead Maintenance Technician: Demonstrates expertise in specific maintenance areas, oversees a team of maintenance technicians, assigns tasks, and ensures the completion of maintenance activities.
  • Maintenance Supervisor: Manages and coordinates maintenance operations, including scheduling, budgeting, and resource allocation. Provides supervision and guidance to maintenance teams.
  • Maintenance Manager: Responsible for the overall management of maintenance activities, develops maintenance strategies, implements preventive maintenance programs, and oversees a team of maintenance professionals.
  • Facilities Manager: Manages all aspects of facility maintenance, including maintenance teams, budgets, and contracts. Oversees the planning and execution of maintenance projects, and ensures compliance with safety regulations.
  • Director of Facilities: Holds a strategic role, responsible for the overall management of multiple facilities or an entire organization’s maintenance operations. Sets maintenance policies, manages budgets, and works closely with senior leadership.
Maintenance Worker Career Progression

Pros:

  • Hands-On Work
  • Diverse Work Environment
  • Continuous Learning
  • Immediate Impact
  • Varied Skill Set

Cons:

  • Physical Demands
  • Irregular Hours and Shift Work
  • High-Stress Situations
  • Exposure to Hazardous Conditions
  • Repetitive Tasks

Valuable Skills to Have as a Maintenance Worker

  • Technical Proficiency
  • Problem Solving
  • Attention to Detail
  • Time Management
  • Communication Skills

Popular Maintenance Worker Specialties

  • Electrical Maintenance
  • HVAC Maintenance
  • Plumbing Maintenance
  • Carpentry and Woodworking
  • Industrial Machinery Maintenance

How to become a Maintenance Worker

Maintenance Worker 5 Steps to Career

Becoming a maintenance worker typically involves a combination of education, training, and practical experience. Here are the general steps to pursue a career as a maintenance worker.

Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent

A high school diploma or equivalent is often the minimum educational requirement for entry-level maintenance positions. Focus on subjects like mathematics, physics, shop class, and technical courses that provide a foundation in relevant skills.

Can I Become a Maintenance Worker through Online Education?

While online education can be a valuable resource for gaining knowledge and skills, becoming a maintenance worker typically requires a combination of hands-on experience and practical training that may not be fully achievable through online education alone. However, online education can still play a role in certain aspects of your journey toward becoming a maintenance worker.

Here’s how:

  • Theoretical Knowledge: Online education can provide a solid foundation of theoretical knowledge related to maintenance work. You can take online courses or enroll in distance learning programs that cover topics such as electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, or general maintenance practices. These courses can help you develop a strong understanding of concepts and principles before applying them in a practical setting.
  • Certifications and Specializations: Many online platforms offer certifications and specialized training programs in specific areas of maintenance work. These certifications can demonstrate your competence in a particular skill or trade, such as electrical work, plumbing, or HVAC systems. Online programs can provide flexibility in earning these certifications, allowing you to study at your own pace.
  • Continuing Education: Online education is an excellent option for continuous learning and professional development in the maintenance field. You can take advantage of online resources, webinars, and virtual workshops to stay updated with industry advancements, new technologies, and best practices.

However, it’s important to note that hands-on experience and practical skills are crucial in the maintenance profession. While online education can provide a foundation of knowledge, it’s advisable to complement it with practical training and real-world experience. Seek opportunities for hands-on learning through apprenticeships, internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering with maintenance departments or organizations.

Combining online education with practical experience will provide a more comprehensive and well-rounded skill set, making you more competitive in the job market and better prepared for the demands of a maintenance worker role.

Acquire Relevant Skills

While in high school or after graduation, consider acquiring practical skills related to maintenance work. This can be achieved through vocational programs, community college courses, or apprenticeship opportunities. Develop skills in areas such as electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, or HVAC systems, depending on your interests and career goals. In addition to technical skills, cultivate soft skills that are valuable in the maintenance field. These include problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, communication skills, teamwork, and adaptability. Building these skills will make you more effective in your work and improve your overall professional growth.

What are some web resources to learn skills to become a Maintenance Worker?

There are several web resources available that can help you learn skills to become a maintenance worker.

Here are some popular ones:

  • Trade-Specific Websites: Many trade-specific websites provide resources and educational materials for aspiring maintenance workers. For example, websites like Electrical.com, PlumbingZone.com, or HVACRedu.net offer articles, forums, training materials, and even online courses dedicated to their respective trades.
  • Industry Forums and Discussion Boards: Engaging with industry-specific forums and discussion boards can be an excellent way to learn from experienced maintenance professionals. Websites like HVAC-Talk.com, PlumbingForums.com, or ElectricianTalk.com allow you to ask questions, share experiences, and gain insights from experts in the field.
  • Online Communities and Social Media Groups: Joining online communities and social media groups related to maintenance work can provide opportunities for networking, knowledge sharing, and learning. Platforms like Reddit, Facebook Groups, and LinkedIn Groups often have communities dedicated to maintenance professionals where you can ask questions, participate in discussions, and access valuable resources.
  • Manufacturer Websites: Manufacturers of equipment and systems often provide resources and documentation on their websites. These resources can include user manuals, maintenance guides, troubleshooting tips, and sometimes even training materials. Visiting the websites of manufacturers relevant to your desired specialization can provide valuable insights and knowledge.
  • YouTube: Many skilled professionals and organizations share their expertise on YouTube, making it a valuable resource for visual learning. You can find tutorials on specific repairs, maintenance techniques, and demonstrations of various tasks related to electrical work, plumbing, HVAC systems, and more. Some popular channels include Skill Builder, Handyman Startup and Essential Craftsman.

Gain Hands-on Experience

Seek opportunities to gain hands-on experience in maintenance work. This can be through part-time jobs, internships, or volunteering with maintenance departments or organizations. Practical experience allows you to apply your skills, learn from experienced professionals, and gain a deeper understanding of the field.

Internship Opportunities for a Maintenance Worker

While the availability of internships may vary depending on location and industry, here are some potential avenues to explore:

  • Facilities Management Companies: Companies specializing in facilities management often offer internship programs where interns can gain exposure to various maintenance tasks, such as equipment repairs, preventive maintenance, and facility inspections. These companies may manage maintenance operations for multiple clients in sectors like commercial real estate, healthcare, or hospitality.
  • Property Management Companies: Property management companies, particularly those that oversee residential or commercial properties, may offer maintenance internships. Interns can assist with tasks like conducting inspections, handling tenant requests, and learning about the maintenance needs of different property types.
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Facilities: Interning with manufacturing or industrial companies can provide valuable experience in maintenance within a specific industry. These internships may involve working alongside maintenance technicians to perform equipment repairs, conduct preventive maintenance, or assist with troubleshooting production machinery.
  • Government Agencies: Local government agencies, such as municipal buildings, schools, or public facilities, may offer maintenance internships. Interns can gain experience in maintaining and repairing public infrastructure, learning from skilled maintenance professionals in areas such as electrical systems, plumbing, or HVAC.
  • Trade Unions and Apprenticeship Programs: In some cases, trade unions or apprenticeship programs associated with maintenance trades, such as electrical or plumbing, may offer internships to individuals seeking hands-on experience. These programs often combine classroom learning with on-the-job training, providing a comprehensive learning experience.

When searching for maintenance internships, consider reaching out to local businesses, contacting industry associations, checking job boards, and utilizing career services at educational institutions. Networking and connecting with professionals in the field can also help uncover potential internship opportunities.

Obtain Certifications

Consider obtaining relevant certifications to demonstrate your competency and enhance your employability. Examples include certifications in electrical work, plumbing, HVAC, or occupational health and safety. Certifications vary depending on your location and specialization, so research the certifications that align with your career path.

However, here are some popular choices to consider:

  • Certified Maintenance & Reliability Technician (CMRT): Offered by the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP), this certification validates a maintenance technician’s knowledge in preventive and predictive maintenance techniques, reliability, and troubleshooting.
  • Certified Maintenance Manager (CMM): Also provided by SMRP, the CMM certification is designed for maintenance managers and supervisors. It covers leadership, maintenance strategy, planning, and management principles.
  • Certified Production Technician (CPT): This certification, offered by Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), is focused on manufacturing processes and maintenance skills, providing a foundation for maintenance workers in manufacturing industries.
  • Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) Certifications: ETA offers certifications for electronics technicians, which can be valuable for maintenance workers dealing with electronic and electrical equipment.

Seek Employment Opportunities

Start your job search by looking for entry-level maintenance positions in various industries. Networking, online job boards, and contacting local maintenance companies can help you discover job openings.

Top Industries That Hire Maintenance Workers

Maintenance workers have a world of exciting career opportunities across a diverse range of industries.

Let’s explore some of the top industries that eagerly seek the skills and expertise of maintenance workers:

  • Real Estate and Property Management: Step into the dynamic world of real estate, where maintenance workers play a vital role in preserving the integrity and functionality of residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties. From luxurious high-rises to cozy apartment complexes, you’ll be ensuring that buildings are in pristine condition.
  • Manufacturing and Industrial: Immerse yourself in the heart of manufacturing and industry, where maintenance workers keep the machinery humming and the production lines flowing smoothly. From massive factories to cutting-edge plants, you’ll be the wizard who troubleshoots, repairs, and performs preventive maintenance to optimize efficiency and keep operations running like clockwork.
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Imagine yourself in the captivating world of hospitality, where maintenance workers create memorable experiences for guests. As part of hotel and resort teams, you’ll ensure that rooms are pristine, facilities are in top shape, and mechanical systems work flawlessly, making every guest’s stay a delightful one.
  • Healthcare: Enter the realm of healthcare, where maintenance workers are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, maintaining critical systems that keep hospitals and medical facilities operating smoothly. From maintaining electrical systems to ensuring medical equipment is in top condition, you’ll play a pivotal role in the care and safety of patients.
  • Educational Institutions: Step onto the vibrant campuses of schools, colleges, and universities, where maintenance workers create an optimal learning environment. From maintaining classrooms and laboratories to keeping grounds pristine, you’ll contribute to shaping the educational experience of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Government and Public Facilities: Picture yourself in the heart of the community, where maintenance workers maintain government buildings, public parks, transportation systems, and other vital infrastructure. You’ll ensure that these public spaces are safe, functional, and welcoming for all.
  • Facilities Management: Join a team of maintenance professionals in facilities management companies, where you’ll oversee the maintenance needs of various properties and facilities. From coordinating repairs and preventive maintenance to ensuring compliance with regulations, you’ll be the master orchestrator of maintenance operations.
  • Transportation and Logistics: Immerse yourself in the world of transportation and logistics, where maintenance workers keep airports, seaports, and transportation hubs running smoothly. From maintaining runways and terminals to ensuring the functionality of vehicles and equipment, you’ll be the force that keeps the world on the move.
  • Energy and Utilities: Step into the realm of energy and utilities, where maintenance workers maintain power generation systems, distribution networks, and utility infrastructure. You’ll be part of the team that keeps the lights on, ensuring a reliable energy supply and the smooth operation of essential services.

Continue Learning and Advancement

Maintenance work offers opportunities for growth and advancement. Keep learning by staying updated with industry trends, attending workshops or seminars, and pursuing additional certifications or higher education in related fields. This continuous learning will enable you to specialize, take on more responsibilities, and progress in your maintenance career.

What’s the Career Outlook for Maintenance Worker?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of general maintenance and repair workers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 160,100 openings for general maintenance and repair workers are projected each year over the decade.

Maintenance Worker Popular Career Specialties

What are the Job Opportunities of a Maintenance Worker

Maintenance workers have a world of exciting job opportunities awaiting them across diverse industries.

Let’s explore some of the captivating roles where maintenance workers can make their mark:

  • Building Maintenance Technician: Picture yourself as the guardian of residential buildings, commercial complexes, or luxurious hotels. As a building maintenance technician, you’ll ensure everything runs smoothly, conducting inspections, repairing systems, and keeping the premises in top-notch condition.
  • Facilities Maintenance Technician: Imagine being the go-to expert for schools, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, or government agencies. As a facilities maintenance technician, you’ll be entrusted with maintaining and repairing a wide range of systems, from equipment to electrical, plumbing to HVAC, and even the general upkeep of the premises.
  • Industrial Maintenance Technician: As an industrial maintenance technician, you’ll be the superhero who keeps the production line running smoothly. You’ll perform preventive maintenance, troubleshoot complex systems, and minimize downtime to maximize efficiency.
  • Equipment Maintenance Technician: As an equipment maintenance technician, you’ll maintain and repair heavy machinery, vehicles, or specialized equipment, ensuring they stay in top form and contribute to the success of essential operations.
  • Electrical Maintenance Technician: As an electrical maintenance technician, you’ll work in diverse settings, from residential to commercial and industrial, mastering the art of repairs, troubleshooting, and the maintenance of intricate electrical systems.
  • HVAC Technician: As an HVAC technician, you’ll install, repair, and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. You’ll ensure the ideal climate, troubleshoot issues, and bring relief to homes, offices, and buildings.
  • Specialty Maintenance Technician: As the master of a specialized trade, whether it’s plumbing, carpentry, locksmithing, or fire safety systems, you’ll bring your unique expertise to the table, solving complex problems and becoming the trusted specialist in your chosen field.

What is the Work-Life Balance of a Maintenance Worker?

The work-life balance of a maintenance worker can vary depending on the industry, job responsibilities, and individual circumstances. While many maintenance workers have regular working hours and some flexibility in their schedules, the nature of the emergency response and seasonal demands may disrupt personal plans. Effective time management, setting boundaries, and considering employer policies can help maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life.

Should I become a Maintenance Worker?

Deciding whether to become a maintenance worker is a personal choice that depends on various factors, including your interests, skills, and career goals. Reflect on whether you have a genuine interest in maintenance tasks, troubleshooting, and hands-on work.

Consider the following and if you enjoy it or not:

  • Maintenance work often requires technical knowledge and skills in areas such as electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, or machinery.
  • Maintenance work can be physically demanding, involving activities such as lifting heavy objects, bending, or working in challenging environments.
  • Maintenance work offers variety, as each day can present different tasks and challenges.

Consider the work environments typically associated with maintenance work and reflect on whether or not that aligns with your preferences and comfort level. Assess the career prospects and opportunities for growth in the maintenance field. Consider the work-life balance you desire.

Ultimately, ask yourself if pursuing a career as a maintenance worker aligns with your personal goals, values, and the sense of fulfillment you seek in your professional life. It’s important to conduct thorough research, speak with professionals in the field, and even consider shadowing or interning in maintenance roles to gain firsthand experience and insights. By carefully considering these aspects, you can make an informed decision about whether becoming a maintenance worker is the right path for you.

Careers Related to Maintenance Worker


Andrea Delgado

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