Maintenance engineers are responsible for the repair and upkeep of mechanical equipment and machines. These professionals ensure that boilers, cooling systems, and other pieces of electrical or mechanical equipment are operational.
They may be responsible for all repairs in one building or several, traveling where needed throughout the day. They're also often required to do physical activity, including heavy lifting, and can be at risk for minor injuries like cuts and bruises or more serious ones like electrical shocks and falls. Maintenance engineers generally have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. Licensure is sometimes necessary, depending on the position.
|Degree Level||High school diploma; postsecondary training may be beneficial|
|Licensure/Certification||More complex tasks may require licensure; voluntary certification is available from a variety of organizations|
|Experience||Entry-level; no experience required|
|Key Skills||Customer-service skills, dexterity, the ability to use facilities management and industrial control software, and the ability to operate copper cutting machines, pullers, and power saws|
|Salary (2016)||$16 per hour (median salary for all maintenance engineers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com, O*NET Online
Meet the Educational Requirements
Although a high school diploma or equivalent is the common requirement, prospective maintenance engineers can take preparatory classes at technical schools, community colleges, or similar institutions. These courses are available in areas that include mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and mathematics. Maintenance engineers also need to have essential computer skills.
Get Job Training
Entry-level maintenance engineers may receive on-the-job training under more experienced engineers. Typical general duties include replacing filters and defective parts, making drywall repairs, and painting. As new hires gain experience, they may take on more challenging duties, such as servicing boilers, soldering copper tube, and repairing air-condition motors.
- Research state licensure. Maintenance engineers who plan to perform plumbing or electrical work may be required to obtain a state license. Licensure requirements can vary by state and position.
- Consider voluntary certification. Various organizations offer certification for maintenance personnel. Applicants must typically pass exams to fulfill certification requirements. Recertification usually requires completing maintenance-related continuing education courses within the two-year term of the certification.
- Train in a specialty area of maintenance. Maintenance engineers can advance their careers by training in a specific area, such as plumbing or electricity. Programs in these areas may be offered as certificates or associate's degrees.
Join a Professional Organization
Maintenance engineers who desire to advance their careers should consider joining a professional membership organization, such as the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE), which provides education, certification, technical information, and networking avenues, as well as other relevant career advancement and development resources.
In summary, the path to becoming a maintenance engineer consists of getting an appropriate education, obtaining entry-level work experience with the options of earning a license, being certified, or specializing in a specific area, and joining a professional organization of engineers.