Maintenance Worker Job Description and Position Overview

By Indeed Editorial Team

October 5, 2021

When looking for a trade, there are plenty of options and opportunities to specialize in a specific field. Maintenance work allows you to gain and apply knowledge in a wide range of specialties, giving you a great deal of job variety and responsibility. In this article, we explain what a maintenance worker is, what they do and the requirements and qualifications to become a building maintenance worker.

What is a maintenance worker?

A maintenance worker, often called a repair worker, maintenance technician or building maintenance technician, keeps buildings, their grounds and any equipment or machines housed there organized, clean and in working order. Owners or managers usually hire building maintenance workers to make sure their properties are kept in good condition. You often find them working in hospitals, stores, universities, offices, hotels and apartments. They provide additional assistance to visitors and other staff as needed.

Building maintenance workers usually work full-time and may have to be on call to respond to emergencies on evenings and weekends. In this profession, every day is different and necessitates different job duties. Maintenance workers often have to work inside and outdoors, depending on the day. Regardless of the location, this job often entails quite a bit of physical activity, like lifting heavy objects, climbing ladders and stairs, walking long distances and standing for extended periods of time. Additionally, a maintenance worker's duties often require them to work in uncomfortable or cramped positions in extreme temperatures.

Depending on the employer, building and size of the company they work for, building maintenance workers could work on their own and report directly to a building supervisor or work on a team of other maintenance technicians. These variables also influence whether they work on one or multiple buildings, like on a college campus or in an apartment complex.

Read more: Learn About Being a Maintenance Technician

What does a maintenance worker do?

To perform building upkeep and repairs, building maintenance worker's duties and responsibilities often include:

  • Maintaining records of any work and inspections done on-premises

  • Performing inventory on repair supplies

  • Keeping repair tools and supplies clean and organized

  • Setting up repair appointments with mechanics or electricians when needed

  • Making and installing new furniture or equipment

  • Ensuring all safety systems are functioning properly, including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Conducting routine maintenance on equipment and building systems

  • Completing safety checks on systems and equipment

  • Doing pest control, pool maintenance and landscaping

  • Performing general maintenance tasks for the building or buildings, such as window washing, drywall repair, plastering, carpentry, flooring repair, painting and more

  • Detecting, identifying and repairing building issues, like basic problems with the building's electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems

  • Responding to and completing tenant or supervisor maintenance requests.

Requirements to become a maintenance worker

The exact education and experience requirements to become a building maintenance worker may vary depending on the employer, but you generally need to satisfy these qualifications to get hired:

  • Education

  • Experience and training

  • Certifications and licenses

  • Skills

Education

To become a building maintenance worker, you usually only need a high school diploma or a GED. Many people in this field attend classes at community colleges, technical colleges or vocational schools to learn some basic repair skills. Some of the training these institutions offer that are beneficial for this occupation include courses in woodworking, drywall repair, plumbing and more. It can also help build maintenance workers to earn a two-year associate degree in building maintenance technology, facilities maintenance or a similar field.

Experience and training

Much of the training for this position takes place on-the-job. In some cases, building maintenance technicians work under a more experienced person in a construction or maintenance job. During this time, they learn essential skills like the proper way to use certain equipment and tools and the most efficient and effective methods for making repairs.

The wide scope of this profession requires that building maintenance workers have at least a basic understanding of a variety of areas and repairs, but some in this field choose to specialize in a specific area, such as electrical or carpentry. If you decide to pick a specialty, you can take classes at your local college to broaden your skill set and learn more specialized trades. This training and the advanced skill set you gain from it can make you more attractive to employers.

Certifications and licenses

Though certification is rarely a requirement to get hired as a building maintenance worker, obtaining a certification voluntarily from a professional program or organization could be beneficial. These types of programs usually take less than a year to complete and may include classes in preventative maintenance for HVAC systems. A few of the certifications that can be a helpful addition to a building maintenance worker's resume include:

  • General Industry Certification

  • Facility Management Professional

  • Maintenance & Reliability Certification

  • Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians

  • International Maintenance Institute certification

  • Building Systems Maintenance Certificate

These credentials usually require a certain amount of continuing education hours each year to maintain the certification and can provide building maintenance workers with more job opportunities. Additionally, depending on the state you live in, you may be required to have a license to work on certain systems, such as plumbing or electrical. To earn a license in one of these areas, you need to study the local codes and pass an exam.

Skills

To be an effective building maintenance worker, you should possess several soft and hard skills, including:

  • Communication skills: Maintenance workers often interact with tenants, customers and supervisors, so they need to be able to communicate in a way that is both clear and friendly.

  • Time management skills: In many cases, a building maintenance worker has to manage daily tasks and long-term projects. To do this effectively, they need to be able to prioritize tasks, create schedules and develop timelines for completing the work and organizing their time.

  • Diagnostic skills: Problem-solving and critical thinking are key in this line of work because maintenance technicians regularly have to diagnose issues and develop effective solutions.

  • Physical strength: This job can be physically demanding, requiring workers to adjust heavy equipment, squeeze through tight spaces, climb tall ladders and carry heavy objects.

  • Technical skills: Regardless of whether they decide to specialize in a trade, maintenance workers need a basic understanding of electric systems, painting, carpentry and plumbing.

  • Mechanical skills: This job necessitates expertise in a variety of systems, equipment and tools to effectively complete some of the more complex projects.

Jobs in maintenance

If you're interested in working in maintenance or finding a job in a related field, there are several options you might consider. Here's a list of 10 jobs in maintenance:

1. Maintenance technician

2. Electronic technician

3. Field service engineer

4. Welder

5. Facilities technician

6. Mechanic

7. Service technician

8. Building superintendent

9. Property caretaker

10. Machine operator


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