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Highway Maintenance Worker: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 19, 2019

Highway maintenance workers require no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Highway maintenance workers are employed by contractors to repair roads for the government. They require little education, but require skills such as mechanical aptitude, communications and problem solving. They have a job growth outlook that is about average.

Essential Information

Highway maintenance workers use construction equipment and tools to repair and maintain roadways. These jobs usually require short-term job training, in addition to a high school diploma or GED. Some laborers may choose to participate in apprenticeship programs.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements On-the-job training or apprenticeship
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5%
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $39,690

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Highway maintenance workers are often employed in construction jobs through the government, where they are tasked with working on roads, highways, runways, and rights-of-way. Workers repair damaged pavement and remove unsafe obstacles, such as rocks or brush. They fix broken guardrails and spread sand or other snowmelt products. Highway maintenance workers can also work on snow fences, road markers, and highway lights. Their jobs may entail warning and directing traffic during repair operations, as well as operating, maintaining, and transporting construction equipment and supplies.

This labor-intensive occupation is physically demanding, and workers are often subjected to changing weather conditions and hazardous situations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 155,300 highway maintenance workers in 2018, and employment is expected to continue growing at a rate of just under 5% from 2018-2028, which is as fast as the national average (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the median annual salary earned by such workers was $39,690 in May 2018.

Requirements

Jobs in highway construction typically require a high school diploma or equivalent. This makes on-the-job training an important aspect of securing long-term work. Individuals looking for a career in highway maintenance may be able to receive adequate training through entry-level jobs working alongside an experienced worker. Proper job training can usually be completed within a year.

Prospective laborers may need to acquire knowledge of safety and legal precautions, in addition to being strong and fit. According to O*Net OnLine, mechanical knowledge and the ability to solve problems and communicate clearly are skills needed for this career (www.onetonline.org).

Some highway workers may elect to enter an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship options vary from state to state, some involving the government offering pre-apprenticeship certificates or teaming up with educational institutions, while others may happen through trade unions or private education and training funds. In apprenticeships, workers can acquire skills in blueprint reading, tool usage, and safety.

Highway maintenance workers require only a high school diploma and usually receive training on the job or through apprenticeship programs. They need to be physically capable of strenuous work and able to understand and follow safety precautions. These positions had a median annual salary of $39,690 in 2018, and job growth was projected to be about average through 2028.

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