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Be a Maintenance Technician: Job Duties, Outlook and Requirements

Maintenance technician positions require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties, and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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It may be possible to begin a career as a maintenance technician with on-the-job training. Completing an apprenticeship, a certificate, or a diploma will increase job prospects for those planning to enter this field. Some states require maintenance technicians to be licensed.

Essential Information

Maintenance technicians install and maintain various mechanical systems in a wide range of facilities. They may specialize in plumbing systems, heating and cooling systems, electrical systems or automobiles. Many technicians pursue apprenticeships or vocational training programs with community college studios or trade schools.

Required Education On-the-job training, apprenticeship, or certification program
Other Requirements State licensure may be required
Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024) 6%
Median Salary* (2015) $36,630

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Maintenance Technician Job Duties

Maintenance technicians repair and maintain various pieces of mechanical equipment, buildings or systems. They may be required to install new machinery or systems. Job duties may include making adjustments, doing inspections and keeping records of work that has been completed. Depending on the industry and specific job, other duties for a maintenance technician may include reading blueprints, holding staff meetings, working with computers, developing inspection and repair schedules, rebuilding broken machines and training other staff members.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the middle-range salary for maintenance and repair workers in the U.S. was between $27,890 and $47,950 as of May 2015. The BLS predicted a 6% growth in jobs for general maintenance and repair workers between 2014 and 2024. As of 2015, according to the BLS, workers in this industry held over 1.3 million jobs. Almost all industries employ maintenance technicians; common sites of employment include hospitals, hotels, factories and schools.

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Maintenance Technician Requirements

Education and Training

According to the BLS, maintenance technicians have several options for getting into the profession. Some employers offer on-the-job training. Candidates seeking to improve their job prospects can complete an apprenticeship program or a diploma or certificate program.

An apprenticeship program involves classroom education combined with on-the-job training. Apprenticeship programs are offered through community colleges, vocational schools, professional organizations and employers.

Degree or certificate programs usually focus on a specific industry, such as industrial, aviation or manufacturing maintenance. These programs may teach general courses related to maintenance, such as mathematics, while also focusing on industry-specific courses.

Professional Certification

Maintenance technicians may also seek certification that may make them more competitive in the job market. For instance, the International Maintenance Institute (IMI) offers a Certified Maintenance Technician Program for General Industry that is available at three levels. Certification is earned by passing a written exam and meeting specific work experience or education requirements.

Another certification option is the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) program offered by the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals. The CMRP exam measures expertise in the areas of maintenance and reliability.

State Licensure

According to the BLS, some states may require licensing depending on the type of work a maintenance technician handles. Licensing may be required for technicians working in areas such as heating and cooling, plumbing and electrical maintenance. All licensing requirements are set at the state level.

Maintenance technicians install and maintain electrical systems. Areas of maintenance specialization include plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical or automobile maintenance. Certification may be preferred by employers.

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