Certified maintenance technicians are responsible for the upkeep and continued functioning of their employers' properties, whether it's a building, machine or mechanical system. Some of their duties include performing seasonal maintenance, cleaning the common living areas and repairing equipment. The work is often physically demanding, and some tasks may need to be accomplished outdoors in various types of weather conditions.
Maintenance technicians often have dexterity, troubleshooting skills, customer service skills, an understanding of industrial controls and facilities management software and the ability to operate tools and equipment. General maintenance and repair workers earned a median annual salary of $36,630 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although the field generally does not have formal education requirements, most employers prefer to hire maintenance technicians who are high school graduates. While in high school, future technicians may take electives that prepare them for their career. For instance, shop class teaches the skills and tools applicable for maintenance jobs, while computer courses allow students to become acquainted with technology their employers may use.
Some maintenance technicians may need to undertake tasks that are more complex, such as with plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems. These skills can be learned at trade schools or community colleges. Maintenance technician certificate programs often address technical math, blueprint reading and fundamental computer use, along with training on basic wiring and plumbing.
Many maintenance technicians begin their careers as assistants to other, more experienced workers. They may also help specialized craftsmen, like electricians, carpenters or construction laborers. Helpers start out performing simple tasks and advance to more difficult jobs as they gain knowledge and experience.
Some states and local areas require maintenance workers to secure a license before they can practice their craft. This is especially true of maintenance professionals who work in the fields of plumbing or electricity. Requirements vary by state and may include meeting minimum experience requirements and passing an examination.
While voluntary, certification may help candidates advance in their careers and stand out from other applicants. Maintenance workers can obtain professional certification from the International Maintenance Institute (IMI). Certified Maintenance Technician (CMT) status comes in three levels and is the most basic form of certification offered by the IMI. To receive it, maintenance workers must satisfy educational and experiential requirements and pass examinations administered by the IMI. All CMTs must recertify every two years. Recertification requires documentation of professional growth or continued education in one's field.
Again, maintenance technicians are often required to complete a high school or training program and gain experience as a maintenance worker's helper before they can seek certification and employment in their field.