Utility Meter Reader: Job Description & Requirements

Utility meter readers are employed by utilities companies to monitor commercial and residential consumers' use of water, gas or electricity. Explore the training, skills requirements, salary expectation and employment outlook to see if this occupation is the right spot for you.

Career Definition for a Utility Meter Reader

For a utility meter reader, typical duties include driving along a route and recording the readings on meters, inspecting meters for defects and monitoring for abnormal usage volume or tampering that may indicate unlawful usage. Additionally, potential utility meter readers should be prepared to work outdoors, interact with clients in a calm and professional manner and avoid dogs and other obstacles when walking onto unknown property.

Education High school diploma, on-the-job training
Job Skills Basic math, route navigation, customer service skills
Median Salary (2015)* $38,510 per year
Job Growth (2014-2024)** 2% decline

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **O*NET OnLine

Required Education

Because most meter reader jobs are entry-level, employers generally do not require any education higher than a high school diploma. It is possible to enhance your prospects for advancement within the field with some vocational training, but this is not required to become a utility meter reader. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that training usually happens on the job, with an experienced meter reader providing necessary information.

Skills Required

It is helpful to have certain skills prior to starting a career in meter reading, such as the ability to do basic math, attention to detail and the ability to navigate a designated route. Because the job requires walking onto private properties in order to read meters, it is important to have customer service skills and a working knowledge of the English language.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for utility meter readers was $38,510 as of May 2015. Wages may vary, depending on the experience of the worker and the type of employer; smaller companies and municipalities generally pay less than larger ones. Many utility companies are beginning to use automated electronic systems to monitor utility meters, cutting down on the need for utility meter readers. According to O*NET OnLine, jobs in this field will decline by 2% between 2014 and 2024.

Alternate Career Options

Other careers similar to a utility meter reader that you might be interested in include:

Fence Erector

Repairing and erecting fences and gates, these workers may secure employment without a high school diploma. Average employment growth of 5% to 8% is predicted for this occupation by O*NET OnLine from 2014 through 2024. In 2015, O*NET OnLine also reported an annual median wage of $32,450 for fence erectors.

Hand Laborer and Material Mover

Jobs may be found without a high school education, although many employers look for a diploma, in addition to physical fitness, for this job. Without the use of machines, these workers move stored objects around, clean vehicles, pack objects for moving or pick up discarded objects. Average employment growth of 5% is anticipated by the BLS from 2014-2024, and a median salary of $24,090 per year was noted by the BLS in 2015.

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