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Maintenance Technician

Education and Training: Vocational training, state licensing
Average Salary: $33,716 per year or $16.21 per hour
Job Outlook: Excellent

Maintenance technicians are professionals who have specialized skills in multiple areas. The type of work a maintenance technician performs depends on the industry and the specialty. Some maintenance technicians work in hospitals or factories, while others work in office buildings, the military, or other industries.

Most maintenance technicians start out as helpers for other maintenance technicians. Licensing may be required to do specialized work. Additional education and certification are vital for professional success and advancement as a maintenance technician. Job duties can range from repairing motors or drives and electrical switches, fabricating equipment, welding parts, calibrating machinery, or controlling machine processes using software.

Education and Training Requirements

Specialized trade or vocational school training in several trade and industrial courses is necessary to gain advanced knowledge and professional advancement. Additionally, licensing is required by many states to do specialized work i.e. HVAC, plumbing, or electrical. Individuals who possess technical ability and aptitude, logic, reasoning ability, and manual dexterity are best suited to this job.

Some companies offer training to prospective maintenance technicians who want to work in their organizations. These maintenance technicians often go through a rigorous program that could be as long as 24 months. The type of training is determined by the employer, but can contain hydraulics, pneumatics, welding, mechanical, and electricity/electronics. Student’s competencies are evaluated by hands-on and written assessments. In addition, students may be required to go through testing by their peers at the factory prior to successfully completing the program. Once the training is completed, students are assigned their individual areas by plant management.

Maintenance technicians who work in other fields may go through a program that can range from nine months to a year. Their skills may be evaluated using a series of hands-on tests, written assessments, and also state competency exams. Some colleges offer maintenance technician training and many trade or vocational schools offer college credit for many of the courses students take to complete the maintenance technician program.

Certification is also available from the International Management Institute. The highest certification is Certified Maintenance Manager, followed by Certified Maintenance Professional and then Certified Maintenance Technician. In order to achieve certification, applicants must pass a written examination and meet other specified requirements.

Getting the Job

Although many workers gain knowledge on-the-job, formal training at a trade or vocational school is necessary to gain advancement and better pay. Maintenance Technicians that work at the factory level may have to endure prescreening that includes testing and an interview process while others may simply get hired based on their experience and/or education. Some organizations have internships or apprenticeships that can result in full-time employment while others have a probationary period, typically six months.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment should increase by 11 percent during the 2008-2018 decade. There is a growing demand for maintenance technicians due to retirement of existing maintenance technicians. Certification increases job prospect opportunities. Some maintenance technicians move into the education field and teach prospective maintenance technicians. In addition, many maintenance technicians advance into management positions over a period of time.

Working Conditions and Environment

The working environment is varied according to the type of industry. Those who posses the ability to do strenuous work, can withstand extremes of temperature, work in small environments, and stand for long periods of time are best suited to this job. Shift work is the norm for maintenance technicians. Some do experience burnout due to the hours and the stress of a rotating shift.

Salary and Benefits

According to the 2008 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, the median starting salary for maintenance technicians is $16.21. The highest starting salary is $25.94. Fifty percent of maintenance technicians earn between $12.44 and $21.09.

Health benefits packages vary from employer to employer. Maintenance technicians that work for organizations or corporations generally have benefits packages that include vacation and sick leave as well as pensions or 401(k) plans.

Where to Go for More Information

Where to Go for More Information
Erie Institute of Technology
940 Millcreek Mall
Erie, PA 16565
Phone: (814) 868-9900
Fax: (814) 868-9977

Great Plains Technology Center
Corporate Training Department
4500 SW Lee Blvd.
Lawton, OK 73505
Phone: (580) 355-6371
Fax: (580)250-5677

NRG Resources
95 Napier St. West
Thornbury, ON Canada
N0H 2P0
Phone: (519) 599-2425
Fax: (226) 665-0055

Pickaway-Ross Technology Center
895 Crouse Chapel Rd.
Chillicothe, OH 45601
Phone: (740) 642-1224
Fax: (740) 642-1398

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesConstruction & Skilled Trades