A handy man, or maintenance worker, performs many varied functions to repair and maintain a property. Some apartment buildings or homeowners' associations employ a handy man for their properties while, in many cases, a handy man works on a self-employed basis. A high rate of turnover among employees in this field ensures ample job opportunities for the foreseeable future, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The best opportunities exist for experienced maintenance workers and those with some type of specialized training or certification.
Most employers require little in the way of education for a handy man position. A high school diploma ensures the ability to read and write at necessary levels to satisfactorily perform most job functions. A general handy man rarely seeks post-secondary education, though maintenance workers specializing in an area such as electrical or plumbing may obtain certification or an associate degree in the field.
Most training occurs on the job, and is provided by supervisors or long-term employees. Jobs typically require no more than a few months of training depending on the complexity of the job. Occupations for which the state requires licensing usually involve longer training periods. Jobs in plumbing or electrical work fall in this area.
Many handy men have previous experience working in related fields such as construction and carpentry or in janitorial positions. These experiences add to the handy man's overall knowledge base on a variety of repair and maintenance topics. Such experience also shows the handy man's ability to satisfactorily perform similar work, so employers view such past employment very positively.
On the Job
Several other skills prove useful to the handy man, including mathematical ability, manual dexterity and good physical health. Independent, motivated workers do well in this career as much of the work goes unsupervised for periods of time. Jobs often require problem-solving abilities along with the ability to organize and prioritize tasks. Good concentration helps the handy man complete his work efficiently as well.
While general handy men need no certification to work, there are other related jobs in building maintenance which do require certification. National professional organizations offer certifications for maintenance technicians, allowing them to advance in their careers, possibly to supervisory or management positions at large firms. A handy man should consider such certification to qualify for higher-paying positions in the field.