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Maintenance Engineer

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree and licensing
Average Salary: $88,570 per year
Job Outlook: Faster than average

Maintenance engineers are responsible for making sure that equipment operates efficiently and within company specifications. Typical duties of a maintenance engineer may include assigning work orders to staff, performing preventive and maintenance work, and presenting reports to staff regarding equipment performance.

In addition, a maintenance engineer may design, develop, or troubleshoot equipment. Although many maintenance engineers work in factories, maintenance engineers can also be found in hospitals, universities, public schools, local and federal government, and public works companies.

A bachelor’s degree is required to become a maintenance engineer. A maintenance engineer must be well versed in math, science, and engineering fundamentals. They must also have good technical skills, communication skills, project management skills, and the ability to handle stress and work long hours.

Education and Training Requirements

High school courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, as well as courses in English, social studies, and humanities are strongly recommended. A bachelor’s degree in an area of engineering is required for most engineering positions. Although most engineers specialize, most engineers can and do work in more than one engineering discipline i.e. mechanical, electrical and electronics engineering, aerospace, etc.

Most entry-level maintenance engineers will work under the supervision of a more experienced engineer in addition to receiving company training. As their proficiency increases, they receive more responsibility until they are allowed to work independently.

Maintenance engineers are expected to stay up-to-date with new technology via continuing education. In addition, continuing education is a requirement for some certifications to remain active. Internships and apprenticeships are common and can lead to full time employment.

Although certification is not mandatory, certification can bring additional employment opportunities. The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals offers certification as a Certified Maintenance Professionals (CMPs) and the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE) offers certification as a Certified Plant Maintenance Managers (CPMM). Both agencies require applicants pass a written test in addition to having specific work and academic requirements. Also, engineers must obtain licensing from an ABET accredited engineering program if they offer their services directly to the public.

Getting the Job

Getting the job of maintenance engineer is the same as any other industry. Those who have experience, education, licensing, and certification will have the greater opportunity for employment and advancement. Apprenticeships and internships, where one works under the supervision of a more experienced engineer can help one get their foot in the door.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment prospects for the engineering field are good due to the need to replace positions that become vacant due to staff retiring, leaving, or being promoted. Some maintenance engineers move into specialist, teaching, sales, or other managerial positions.

Working Conditions and Environment

The working environment for a maintenance engineer is diverse. Some maintenance engineers work onsite at construction sites, while others work in offices or factories. In addition, some maintenance engineers travel to multiple worksites and overseas sites. Maintenance engineers generally work a 40 hour work week. However, overtime may be required to complete deadlines or handle maintenance issues.

Health benefits packages vary from employer to employer. Maintenance engineers that work for organizations or corporations have benefits packages that include vacation and sick leave as well as pensions or 401K plans.

Salary and Benefits

According to the 2008 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the median salary for maintenance engineers was $88,570. The lowest 10 percent made $49,270, the lowest 25 percent made $67,360, the highest 25 percent made $110,310, and the highest 10 percent made $132,070.

Where to Go for More Information

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
111 Market Pl., Ste. 1050
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (410) 347-7700
Fax: (410) 625-2238

Association for Facilities Engineering
12801 Worldgate Dr., Ste. 500
Herndon, VA 20170
Phone: (571) 203-7171
Fax: (571) 766-2142

John A. Logan College
700 Logan College Rd.
Carterville, IL 62918
Phone: (618) 985-3741
Fax: (618) 985-4825

Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Certifying Organization
8400 Westpark Dr., 2nd Fl.
McLean, Virginia 22102
Phone: (800) 950-7354
Fax: (703) 610-0249

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