Be a Utility Meter Reader: Education and Career Information

Research the requirements to become a meter reader. Learn about the duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in utility meter reading.

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  • 0:01 Become a Utility Meter Reader
  • 0:32 Career Requirements
  • 1:19 Meet Basic Job Requirements
  • 1:40 Search & Apply for Jobs
  • 2:04 Training & Advancement

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Become a Utility Meter Reader

Utility meter readers monitor the usage of such resources as electricity, water, and gas. Readers typically walk or drive a specified route and record information that they read visually or digitally from indoor or outdoor utility meters. They must maintain high standards of accuracy. Meter readers may occasionally be hampered by poor weather conditions or unfriendly animals. They have some customer interaction, such as answering questions about service charges.

Career Requirements

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent
Experience Meter readers are often hired with no previous experience, though some companies prefer to hire experienced workers
Key Skills Ability to interact with customers and work independently, verbal and written communication skills, time management skills; physical stamina and manual dexterity; ability to read and operate meter reading equipment
Additional Requirements Valid driver's license
Median Salary (2015)* $38,510

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET Online, job posting (November 2012)

Step 1: Meet Basic Job Requirements

Companies that hire meter readers typically require candidates to have at least a high school diploma or to have earned an equivalent credential. Meter readers typically drive to the areas where they'll be reading meters, necessitating both a valid driver's license and a clean driving record. Some employers also require meter readers to use their personal vehicle while on the job.

Step 2: Search and Apply for Jobs

Online job boards often have listings for meter readers, but aspiring meter readers might also want to contact local utility companies and governments directly to find out if they're hiring. Some utility companies contract with staffing agencies to hire meter readers, so job seekers should also contact local staffing agencies to find out if they have any open positions.

Step 3: Training and Advancement

Employers usually provide on-the-job training. New hires work with experienced meter readers until the individual has the experience and confidence to work on a route of his or her own.

Meter reading can be a stepping stone to other, more lucrative utility-related careers. Community colleges and vocational schools often provide training in related trades such as electrical contracting or the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) trade.

When considering a career as a utility meter reader, remember that these individuals need a high school diploma, a driver's license with a clean driving record, and the ability to accurately read, record, and report data. This type of work requires the capability to work independently after a training period and to endure various types of weather on a day-to-day basis.

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