Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Becoming a Maintenance Technician: Training, Earnings and Job Opportunities
If you’re a handy sort of person, always fixing things around the house, becoming a maintenance technician may be a good career move. You’ll be able to put your repair skills to work while identifying issues that may need the services of a specialist. Job prospects are expected to remain good, allowing you and your family to achieve financial security.
As a job title suggests, maintenance workers oversee the maintenance and functioning ability of buildings, building systems and machines, such as those used in commercial spaces. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, maintenance technicians perform tasks that do not require the services of a specialist tradesperson, such as a heating technician or electrician.
As a maintenance worker, you can expect to spend your days performing routine facilities upkeep, such as landscaping, painting and gutter maintenance. You’ll also be inspecting facilities and equipment, making sure they are functioning properly. If you spy a problem, you’ll need to investigate and determine whether it’s something that you can repair on your own or whether you or your employer will need to call in a specialist. You may also need to communicate with tenants, landlords and other tradespeople about needed repairs and timetables for project completion.
Many maintenance technicians receive on-the-job training while assisting more experienced maintenance workers. Over time, you can take on more responsibility for managing building systems while also learning how to work with landlords and tenants to address both routine and emergency repairs. You’ll also learn when you need to call in a third-party service provider, such as a heating and cooling company, to deal with an advanced system failure.
Some maintenance technicians eventually decide to specialize and obtain licensure in trades like plumbing, electrical or HVAC. Holding a trade license can open up job opportunities and increase your value as an employee, as your employer won’t have to hire an outside company to handle more serious repairs.
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a maintenance technician in 2016 was $36,940. This means that 50 percent of maintenance technicians made more than this amount, and 50 percent made less. BLS data shows that earnings depend somewhat on the industry in which you work: Higher pay is reported by those who work in manufacturing and government, while those who work in health care or real estate can expect lower earnings.
As a maintenance technician, your work environment depends on your employer. Most maintenance technicians work in the area of real estate and real estate leasing. This means that you may be responsible for maintaining one large property, such as an apartment building, or multiple properties that are owned or managed by the same individual or company. You can expect to work both inside and outside of buildings, depending on the task that you are performing.
If you’ve been assigned to multiple buildings, you’ll spend at least some time driving between properties. In addition, you may occasionally get called in at odd hours in the event of an emergency, such as a malfunctioning furnace or burst pipes. These types of callouts may require you to have access to reliable backup child care.
Years of Experience
A survey by PayScale.com showed that maintenance technician salaries increase as the technician gains more experience. The table below shows the correlation between annual salary and job experience:
- 0–5 years: $34,000
- 5–10 years: $39,000
- 10–20 years: $43,000
- 20+ years: $47,000
Job Growth Trend
According to the BLS, employment in this field will increase by 8 percent between 2016 and 2026. The increase may depend, in part, on millennial-age adults purchasing their first homes, as well as an aging population making home renovations. Real estate markets will also affect job opportunities and salaries.
Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.