Hotel chief engineers supervise the operation, maintenance, and repair of hotel equipment, tools, and facilities. They generally oversee the maintenance staff and may work in both an office setting and on the property, addressing HVAC and other types of issues. In addition to maintenance duties, these professionals may also work with contractors to coordinate renovations, remodeling projects and new construction. Typically, hotel chief engineers have at least a high school diploma; but more often they hold an associate's degree in building maintenance or equivalent work experience.
|Stationary Engineers||General Maintenance & Repair Workers|
|Required Education||Minimum high school diploma plus job experience||Minimum high school diploma|
|Other Requirements||Often vocational training, associate's degree, certification and/or apprenticeship; sometimes state licensure||On-the-job training; sometimes state licensure or certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||3%* (for stationary engineers and boiler operators)||9%*|
|Average Salary (2014)||$58,070* (for stationary engineers and boiler operators)||$38,390*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The primary duty of a hotel chief engineer is to ensure the smooth daily operation and guest appeal of the hotel. Within the hotel, chief engineers may direct the maintenance staff on small repairs, such as patching drywall, fixing faulty wiring, or unclogging drains. More complex problems may require the chief engineer to consult blueprints or product manuals in order to fix boilers or air-conditioning motors. Chief engineers may also assign staff to repair sprinklers or instruct grounds crew to maintain outside landscaping.
Hotel chief engineers may also manage maintenance workers and participate in hiring, training and mentoring staff. For example, a chief hotel engineer may train a worker on how to properly install a faucet. Additionally, hotel chief engineers may evaluate a staff member's cumulative performance, noting areas for improvement. Lastly, hotel chief engineers budget material and labor expenses and submit these assessments to the hotel manager.
Maintenance workers who hold a high school diploma and have several years of experience may advance to become hotel chief engineers. Qualified workers typically have gained extensive experience with installing and troubleshooting electrical switches, operating boilers, and repairing appliances. Additional requirements may include some prior supervisory experience.
Some employers may favor candidates who have completed a one- to two-year certificate or associate's degree program in building maintenance, technology or a related field. Topics generally include safety principles, machine maintenance, and plumbing repair. Some programs may offer training on boiler installation, operation, and repair. Other maintenance training programs may include staff management classes, along with improving the students' technical and repair skills. Graduates may receive a certificate of completion, and some programs prepare the students to take a boiler certification exam.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, cites that only licensed individuals may service and operate boilers (www.bls.gov). Boiler license (stationary engineer license) requirements generally include work experience and completion of a state exam. Because boilers range in size and output, licenses are typically tiered and strictly state the boiler type, size, and work an engineer may perform. As engineers gain experience with lower output boilers, they may apply for a license to service and operate higher output units.
Prospective hotel chief engineer candidates might consider voluntary certifications, such as those issued by the International Maintenance Institute (IMI), in order to increase job opportunities. The IMI offers certification as a Certified Maintenance Professional (CMP). Applicants who meet IMI education and corresponding work experience requirements, in addition to receiving a 70% or better on a certification exam, are designated as CMPs. Certifications last two years, and CMPs may be recertified by completing IMI approved maintenance or safety courses.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary for chief mechanical engineers was $97,229 as of May 2015. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to the field of hotel engineering, the BLS does publish average annual salaries for stationary engineers and boiler operators; as well as general maintenance and repair workers. As of May 2014, the BLS stated that stationary engineers and boiler operators made an average yearly salary of $58,070; but noted that this can vary measurably by specific industry and geographic location. During that same reporting interval, the BLS indicated that general maintenance and repair workers made an average annual wage of $38,390 -- again, varying by industry and geographic location. The BLS also anticipated that employment of stationary engineers and boiler operators would likely grow by a slower-than-average 3% between 2012 and 2022. During that same period, the BLS estimated that job opportunities for general maintenance and repair workers would increase by about 9%, roughly as fast as average across all occupations.