Highway Maintenance Worker Job Description, Career as a Highway Maintenance Worker, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Education and Training High school plus on-the-job training
Salary Median—$14.21 per hour
Employment Outlook Very good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Highway maintenance workers keep state, county, and city highways and roads in safe condition. They repair guardrails and snow fences; put up stop signs; paint dividing lines between traffic lanes; and fix potholes caused by weather or heavy traffic. When it snows, maintenance workers drive trucks and tractors with snowplows and blowers to clear the roads. After storms, they remove trees that have fallen across the road. Specific tasks vary with the location of the roads they maintain.
Education and Training Requirements
A high school education is preferred. A doctor's health certificate and a driver's license are often required. An applicant who wants to work in a large city or on state highways must take a civil service examination, which tests a worker's ability to read, write, and follow directions. Many small towns and cities do not give the written tests. A beginner is trained on the job by more experienced workers.
Some highway maintenance workers take courses to acquire special skills, such as tree climbing and tree cutting. Their employers may pay their tuition.
Getting the Job
Job seekers can apply directly to the town or county administrator or to the state highway commission. Civil service commissions, state employment services, school placement offices, newspaper classified ads, and job banks on the Internet are other sources of employment leads.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Highway maintenance workers can advance from the first grade of laborer to senior maintenance worker to other supervisory positions. Some workers go on to become highway inspectors.
Employment of highway maintenance workers is expected to grower faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. More new roads are being built throughout the country, requiring more maintenance workers. Job openings also occur when workers retire or leave the occupation.
Highway maintenance workers need to be in good health and have physical stamina. They work outdoors in snow, sleet, rain, and summer heat. Heavy snowfall and rain often require them to work at night to clear roads for morning commuters. They work as part of a team and can enjoy the companionship of other workers.
Earnings and Benefits
In 2004 the median wage for highway maintenance workers was $14.21 per hour. They are paid with tax money, so their earnings depend on the size and wealth of the community, county, or state in which they work. Wages are highest in large cities and for specialized work.
All highway maintenance workers receive health insurance, workers' compensation, and paid vacations and holidays. Many highway maintenance workers belong to unions.
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