Become a Labor Maintenance Worker: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become a labor maintenance worker. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in maintenance. View article »

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  • 0:02 Labor Maintenance Worker
  • 0:39 Career Requirements
  • 1:14 Getting into the Field

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Video Transcript

Becoming a Labor Maintenance Worker

Labor maintenance workers are also known as general maintenance and repair workers. These workers perform repair and maintenance jobs for buildings, grounds and facilities. They maintain machines, equipment and mechanical systems, such as heating systems. This work may be physically demanding, involving heavy lifting, standing for long periods and the need to complete tasks in all kinds of weather. Labor maintenance workers must follow safety precautions when working with certain kinds of equipment and tools in order to prevent injuries.

Career Requirements

Education Level High school diploma; post-secondary training helpful
Licensure/Certification Licensure required for complex tasks like plumbing or electrical
Experience None
Key Skills Dexterity; customer service and troubleshooting skills; ability to use related technology, tools, and equipment
Salary $36,630 (2015 median for maintenance and repair workers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET Online

With a high school diploma, you can get a job in this field. However, it can be beneficial to get related post-secondary training. More complex, such as plumbing or electrical maintenance, may require licensure. Key skills for labor maintenance workers include dexterity, customer service, troubleshooting, the ability to use related technology, and knowledge of tools and equipment. In 2015, the median annual wage of maintenance and repair workers was $36,630, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Getting into the Field

Now let's take a look at the steps that you can take to get into labor maintenance.

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirements

Although prospective labor maintenance workers may begin their career by earning a high school diploma or equivalent, O*Net Online reported that almost 50% of these workers had completed some college. Related postsecondary courses in topics like mechanical drawing, science, blueprint reading and mathematics can be beneficial. Studying in a maintenance certificate or degree program can also help workers prepare for any required licensure or certification examinations. Labor maintenance workers also need to have essential computer skills.

Step 2: Get On-the-Job Training

Labor maintenance workers typically start as helpers and observe how to perform various tasks. New workers perform simple tasks and advance to more difficult jobs as they gain knowledge and experience. Training topics may include learning how to inspect equipment, properly move materials and perform other physical activities.

To shine in the workforce, become licensed. Licensure may be required for workers specializing in a certain job skill, such as electrical or plumbing work. Since each state has varying licensure requirements, maintenance workers are advised to consult their state licensing boards for specific licensing requirements.

Additionally, earn certification. Certification can introduce advanced job opportunities and supervisory positions. The International Maintenance Institute (IMI) offers various levels of certification depending on education and experience prerequisites. Certification is earned after passing exams that test concepts such as blueprint reading, mathematics and mechanical troubleshooting. Recertification requires completing maintenance-related continuing education courses within the two-year term of the certification.

Step 3: Pick a Specialty to Advance Your Career

Maintenance and repair workers often do a wide range of tasks that don't require specialized training. Picking a specialty, such as plumbing or carpentry, and training in that field will allow you to become a craft worker. Another way to advance your career is to open your own maintenance and repair shop. Taking courses in marketing, sales or business management will help you establish your business.

To recap, with specialized training, on-the-job, and possibly licensure, labor maintenance workers can earn roughly $37,000 a year to perform repair and maintenance jobs for buildings, grounds, and facilities.

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