Become a Maintenance Mechanic: Education and Career Roadmap

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

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Maintenance Mechanic?

Maintenance mechanics repair, program, and maintain equipment and machines. They are responsible for the upkeep of buildings and mechanical systems, such as heating and cooling systems. The day-to-day job duties of maintenance mechanics depend largely on the systems which they maintain.

Some mechanics will usually split their time between repair, maintenance, and the installation of system components and office hours. There is some risk associated with this career; workers may be at risk for electrical shocks, scrapes and bruises, cuts, and exposure to toxic materials. There is a need for physical strength as a maintenance mechanic as well. Mechanics usually work full-time, which may include nights, weekends, and on-call hours for emergencies.

Career Requirements

Getting into this career requires a high school diploma. More complex tasks may require licensure. Voluntary certification is available from a variety of organizations. Key skills for maintenance mechanics include dexterity, computer skills, mechanical skills, and troubleshooting skills. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated the median annual wage of maintenance and repair workers was $36,630.

Now let's take a look at the different steps you can take to get into this position.

Steps to Becoming a Maintenance Mechanic

Step 1: Meet the Educational Requirements

Employers prefer to hire candidates who have earned at least a high school diploma. Aspiring maintenance mechanics seeking to gain basic skills and technical knowledge may take courses at community colleges or vocational schools. Mechanical drawing, mathematics and blueprint reading are useful courses for individuals interested in a maintenance career. Maintenance mechanics also need to have essential computer skills.

Step 2: Get On-the-Job Training

New maintenance mechanics typically receive on-the-job training under more experienced professionals. New hires generally begin with simpler tasks, such as fixing leaky faucets. As they gain experience, they may take on more challenging jobs, such as servicing boilers and building walls.

Step 3: Become Certified or Licensed

Maintenance mechanics can obtain professional certification from organizations such as the International Maintenance Institute (IMI). The IMI offers the Certified Maintenance Technician (CMT) and Certified Maintenance Professional (CMP) designations based on education level and required corresponding work experience. Applicants must also pass exams to fulfill certification requirements. Re-certification requires completing maintenance-related continuing education courses within the term of the certification.

A maintenance mechanic who plans to perform plumbing or electrical work may be required to obtain a state license. Requirements vary by state and may include meeting minimum experience requirements. Maintenance mechanics who plan to become project managers or open their own businesses may find it useful to pursue a degree in construction management.

To review, with a high school diploma, on the job training and, possibly, certification, maintenance mechanics can earn about $37,000 a year to repair, program, and maintain equipment and machines.

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