General maintenance and repair workers often learn their skills on the job or through vocational training programs at career schools and community colleges. These professionals can work their way up to management positions, or they can enroll in certificate, associate or bachelor's degree programs in building construction technology. These programs should provide them with the basic skills necessary to design and maintain a building's essential systems.
Certificates Covering Maintenance Engineering
These 1-2 semester programs in construction technology and building maintenance prepare students for hands-on careers performing routine maintenance and emergency repairs in shopping malls and apartment buildings. Programs offer courses in lawn care, air conditioning and electrical theory. Applicants are required to have earned a high school diploma or GED.
These programs require students to gain practical experience in the field by having them complete electrical and construction projects. In addition to learning about how mold can grow in air vents, creating air quality concerns, students learn:
- Building cleaning
- Technical writing
- Electrical wiring
Associate of Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
These hands-on, 2-year programs offer training in the proper use of power tools, different factors involved in project scheduling as well the logic behind keeping a log of maintenance costs. Students in these programs have the opportunity to take apart, repair and put back together faulty equipment. Construction framing, building codes, blueprint reading, and material selection are all included in the curriculum so that students feel comfortable taking on projects from start to finish.
Admission-seekers are required to have finished high school or earned a GED. Because this field is highly technical, applicants are recommended to have academic training in algebra, geometry and the sciences.
Professionals perform administrative and technical functions, including keeping track of maintenance costs and keeping up-to-date on the preventative maintenance on all types of equipment. In order to counteract a building's dilapidation, students learn about:
- Site preparation
- Construction safety
- Cost estimation
- Project management
- Construction materials
Bachelor of Science in Building Construction Technology
These 4-year programs--some of which offer concentrations in commercial and industrial building management--require students to learn about industrial safety, construction process supervision and labor relations. At this level, students begin to learn more about managerial skills like contract administration, business and the legal ramifications of certain actions. Degree-completion programs exist for students who have previously completed an associate degree program.
Applicants are required to have completed high school or the equivalent. Because of the hands-on nature of these programs and the physically demanding nature of this field, applicants must be in good physical health and have the ability to lift up to 100 lbs.
Because managers need to negotiate conflicts, contracts and cost options, communication skills are emphasized in these technical programs. In addition to learning about marketing, public speaking and literacy skills, students learn:
- Computer-aided design
- Construction accounting
- Cost estimating
- Technical documentation
Popular Career Options
All types of facilities--like national parks, airports, hotels and office buildings--require the services of maintenance managers. Graduates of bachelor's training programs are qualified to work as:
- Building engineers
- Maintenance managers
- Technical maintenance managers
Prisons, schools, nursing homes, post offices all employ mechanically minded professionals to prevent the need for emergency repairs. Jobs where professionals can design and work on construction, plumbing, and electrical projects include:
- Construction-site worker
- Building maintenance technician
- Electrical supply salesperson
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As of the 2018-2028 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, general repair and maintenance workers were projected to see a 6% jump in employment opportunities for the decade (www.bls.gov). The same organization reported that, as of May 2018, the approximately 1.4 million professionals in this field earned an annual median wage of $38,300 .
Other programs can prepare individuals for leadership or management roles in the maintenance field. These include:
- Associate of Applied Science in Facilities Management
- Associate of Arts in Property Management
- Associate of Science in Construction Management
Individuals who have a desire to work in construction, electrical, surveying, or a variety of other hands-on careers will gain valuable and practical skills by pursuing a degree program.