Maintenance engineers prevent the need for emergency repairs by routinely checking and maintaining equipment used in schools, shopping malls, post offices, and prisons. There are a variety of undergraduate programs available where students can gain technical skills needed to secure entry-level positions or advance their careers.
These programs are available at the certificate and associate's degree levels under names such as building maintenance technology or construction technology. The hands-on programs can include courses in plumbing, wiring, building code, appliance repair, or construction. Both programs require only a high school education to enter, and coursework in science, algebra, and geometry is highly recommended.
Certificates Covering Maintenance Engineering
Certificate programs, often referred to as construction technology or building maintenance programs, provide students with hands-on preparation for mechanically-oriented careers and include projects on construction, air conditioning, and electronics. They typically take one to two semesters to complete.
For example, professionals fix dishwashers and ensure safe indoor air quality by checking ventilation shafts for moisture leaks. Since people in these careers need to fix many different types of systems on a moment's notice, training programs include instruction in the following areas:
- Technical writing
- Building cleaning
- Electrical wiring
Associate of Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
These 2-year degree programs provide students with practical experience in project scheduling, construction framing, and the use of power tools. In order for students to feel comfortable working with blueprints, building codes, and the prevention of buildings from deteriorating, they study material selection, remodeling, and construction project design. In addition to completing the construction-related curriculum, students learn how to disassemble, repair, and reassemble faulty equipment.
Professionals need to repair existing machines, record maintenance costs, and research new machines to purchase. Preparation for the technical and administrative aspects of building maintenance engineering includes:
- Site preparation
- Project management
- Cost estimation
- Construction materials
- Construction safety
Various levels of government agencies, as well as equipment sales companies and motels, employ maintenance engineers. Aside from working in the sales of construction-related equipment for a home improvement store, graduates of certificate programs are prepared for jobs as:
- Construction-site laborers
- Technicians of building maintenance
- Plumbing supplies salespersons
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The 2014-2024 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report showed an anticipated 6% rise in job opportunities for general maintenance and repair workers (www.bls.gov). The same agency showed that the median annual earnings of these roughly 1.3 million professionals was $36,630, as of May 2015.
Positions as supervisors and managers are available to those who have bachelor's degrees in building construction technology management. Over the course of four years, students learn about industrial work site safety, labor relations, and construction process management.
Certificate programs in maintenance engineering and associate's degrees in building construction technology train students to maintain and repair equipment to prevent disaster. For those hoping to be employed in management positions, a bachelor's degree in the field is available.