Learn About Being a Maintenance Technician

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 10, 2019

What does a maintenance technician do?

A maintenance technician keeps a building or facility safe, tidy and in working order. They use a variety of skills to keep their properties in good condition. Common responsibilities for this position include:

  • Communicating daily with a facility’s management about issues in the building 

  • Responding to building occupants’ requests for service and maintenance

  • Evaluating and repairing any plumbing not in good working order

  • Making sure that electrical systems are in safe and working condition

  • Cleaning and performing routine maintenance on HVAC systems 

  • Staying current on safety measures for fire, carbon monoxide and other alarms

  • Working with and maintaining tools and equipment necessary to perform work duties

  • Helping evacuate the building or facility in case of an emergency

  • Painting and fixing up parts of the building or facility that may be in disrepair

  • Contacting outside experts if required to handle more specialized jobs

Average salary

Maintenance technicians can be full-time or part-time employees, and some may even live on the premises for which they work. Their salaries depend on their skills, experience and the size of the company for which they work. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $17.78 per hour

  • Some salaries range from $7.25 to $34.55 per hour.

Maintenance technician requirements

Becoming a maintenance technician involves completing a certain level of training and certification.

Education

An entry-level maintenance technician job typically requires a high school diploma or GED. Those who have an Associate’s in Building Maintenance Technology may have an advantage while searching for a job, while those who are interested in working for industrial facilities can pursue an Associate’s in Industrial Maintenance Technology. Some industrial technology degree programs are specialized further. For example, you may pursue a specialization in refrigeration or instrumentation. 

Training

Maintenance technicians can receive training while on the job by performing and perfecting their duties. They can also accumulate training in various aspects of the job, such as plumbing, painting or carpentry, by taking courses or apprenticing with someone experienced in the field.

Certifications

Acquiring certifications can show a potential employer that a maintenance technician has proven expertise in their field. Here are some examples:

Certified Maintenance & Reliability Technician

The CMRT shows that the holder has experience in preventative, predictive and corrective maintenance. The CMRT requires passing an exam to show competency in four areas: maintenance practices, preventative and predictive maintenance, troubleshooting and analysis and corrective maintenance. 

Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians

This certification is offered by the National Apartment Association. The course leading to the exam will teach a variety of skills related to maintaining apartments, including customer service, communication skills and how to process orders and details about HVAC, construction, painting, mechanical, appliance and lock and key services and repairs.

International Maintenance Institute Certification

This global organization offers three levels of certification for maintenance technicians working in skills trades and two levels of certification for those in maintenance management.

Building Systems Maintenance Certificate

The SMC tests prospective certificate holders on their understanding of HVAC, plumbing and other building systems and efficient energy management and water treatment.

Skills

Maintenance technicians need several developed soft and hard skills to help them excel in their careers. Here are some examples:

Mechanical skills

A maintenance technician will need expertise with a wide range of tools, equipment and systems. They will also need to be comfortable performing a wide range of complex projects, which could include fixing a building’s water system.

Technical skills

Even without specializing in a trade, a maintenance technician will need a working knowledge of plumbing, carpentry, painting and electric systems.

Physical strength

A maintenance technician’s job is physically demanding. They may be required to carry heavy loads, climb ladders to significant heights, squeeze through narrow spaces or adjust heavy objects. 

Diagnostic skills

A maintenance technician must identify problems and develop solutions. 

Time management skills

Maintenance technicians must prioritize tasks and create timelines for work completion. They will often have to combine short-term tasks with long-term projects. They will need to organize their time, while leaving enough time to accommodate regular maintenance operations. 

Communication skills

Maintenance technicians often need strong customer service skills to allow customers to feel that they are being listened to and their needs met. Maintenance technicians should also feel comfortable explaining the job, give clear deadlines and explain the next steps.

Maintenance technician work environment

Regardless of whether they work for a large office building, college dorm or small apartment complex, some aspects of a maintenance technician’s work environment will remain consistent. Maintenance technicians often work daytime schedules, but they may also sometimes work weekends and evenings. Those who live in the building in which they work may receive calls for service at irregular hours, including the middle of the night.

Although many maintenance technicians have a desk and office at which they can research solutions and retrieve customer service requests, most of their job will be done outside the office and throughout their facility. They spend a significant part of their day on their feet.

Maintenance technicians will often need to work with potentially hazardous equipment that they must thoroughly understand to secure their own safety and advise others. They may also need to pursue some level of continuing education, as maintenance technicians will encounter new issues and recertify in their programs. These programs will also help them learn about new safety protocols for themselves and others.

Maintenance technicians will also often find themselves in other people’s intimate surroundings, such as their desks and homes. They should be able to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner while maintaining their customer’s privacy and their own safety.

Maintenance technicians can find employment in a wide variety of places, including:

  • Office complexes

  • Malls, shopping centers and stores

  • Factories, plants and technical complexes

  • Schools and colleges

  • Scientific research facilities and laboratories

  • Movie theaters and other entertainment facilities, such as bowling alleys and game arcades

  • Hospitals, clinics and large practices

  • Apartment complexes

  • Assisted living facilities

  • Common facilities of master-planned communities, such as community and golf clubs 

How to become a maintenance technician

Here are some steps that you can follow to become a maintenance technician:

1. Pursue an education

A high school diploma or GED is a basic entry-level requirement for most maintenance technicians. Aspiring maintenance technicians can also pursue a two-year program from a community college or comparable program to receive an associate’s degree in their chosen area of building management.

2. Accumulate work experience

Much of a maintenance technician’s expertise comes from daily practice. For example, apprenticing themselves to a painter, plumber, electrician or another similar professional can help a maintenance technician starting out in the field to accumulate enough experience to apply for a job.

3. Earn relevant certifications

Maintenance technicians can study for exams to receive certifications from various organizations that will show their expertise and commitment to the field.

4. Create a resume

List your education, skills and job experience, with your most relevant and recent experience mentioned first, along with the names of your organizations and the time you worked at each. An effective resume will be tailored to the specific job for which you are applying.

5. Search for positions

Once you have found open positions that match your level of education and experience, carefully read the instructions for applying. Write a cover letter that summarizes the reasons you would be a good candidate for the job.

Maintenance technician job description example

We are a maintenance technician for a community college in the city of Chicago. As a maintenance technician for our school, you will be working with a part-time groundskeeper to manage the interiors and exteriors of a campus, which includes two high-rise academic buildings, a public courtyard and a dorm.

The ideal candidate will have experience with and knowledge of plumbing, electrical systems, HVAC and basic carpentry and will have excellent customer service skills. The position has a fixed schedule, but the technician will also be expected to remain on-call for evenings and weekends if needed. Qualifications include a high school diploma or GED and five years of experience. Candidates with an associate’s degree and CMRT will be given preference.

Related careers

If you’re considering a career as a building maintenance technician, you may also be interested in one of these related careers:

  • Building maintenance technician

  • Groundskeeper

  • Custodian

  • Handyman

  • Housekeeper

  • Facilities manager

  • Maintenance manager

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