As the saying goes, prevention is the best medicine.
And this applies not only to us but also to the many tools, equipment, and utilities we use in our everyday lives and at work.
Today, we’re talking about the “doctors” of the technical world – maintenance technicians.
In this article, we’ll discuss the maintenance technician’s job description, necessary skillset, employment and career growth, salary, and more.
Maintenance Technician Job Description
In general, the responsibilities of a maintenance technician include:
Reviewing work orders
Documenting completed tasks
Preventing hazards by monitoring equipment, following SOPs (standard operating procedures) and best practices.
However, their specific responsibilities depend on their employer’s industry, company size, and budget.
Based on these factors, maintenance technicians in small companies tend to be “jacks-of-all-trades”, while their colleagues working in mid-to-big size companies typically specialize in specific aspects of the facility (electricians, plumbers, etc.)
Depending on their place of employment, maintenance technicians can be divided into several types:
1. Plant Maintenance Technicians
Specialize in manufacturing plants and other industrial locations. They need to be well acquainted with the unique plant systems and assets (manufacturing lines, motors, conveyor belts, etc.).
2. Building Maintenance Technicians
Specialize in private accommodations like skyscrapers and apartment complexes. They need to have a wide knowledge of associated property utilities (HVAC, plumbing, electricity, etc.).
3. Facilities Maintenance Technicians
Specialize in commercial facilities such as restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and offices. They need to be comfortable with both general utilities (HVAC, plumbing, electricity, etc.) and specialized assets.
4. Public Works Maintenance Technicians
Typically employed by organizations within the public sector like governments, municipalities, and so on.
They tend to work on public areas such as roads, sidewalks, and official buildings. To do so, they need to have a thorough understanding of both general utilities, as well landscaping, and the use of heavy machinery and tools.
5. Equipment and Machinery Technicians
Equipment technicians use their knowledge of tools, engines, electrical wiring, hydraulics and pneumatics to install, repair or replace parts on machines.
They also perform regular inspections & checks to identify and correct equipment malfunctions.
Maintenance Technician Necessary Skills
As mentioned above, maintenance technicians share some basic responsibilities, regardless of their industry and place of employment. To account for this, they need to have a basic set of skills, including:
A basic understanding of utilities (HVAC, plumbing, electricity, etc.)
General knowledge of common maintenance techniques and best practices
The ability to work with standard maintenance tools, equipment, and light machinery
Problem-solving and the ability to think on their feet
General physical fitness and good health
Communication skills necessary to work with their supervisors and colleagues
The ability to follow manuals and guides
Self-sustainability for when there are no direct commands
A good grasp of standard health and safety principles
Digital technology skills to create and submit work orders or reports
Requirements to Become a Maintenance Technician
Besides the skills outlined in the section above, there are only a few other requirements to become a maintenance technician. Typically, there is no need for higher education, apart from a high-school diploma.
Employees and contractors tend to receive all additional necessary training on the job.
However, there are a few things a person can do to improve their career outlook in this position.
Certifications are in no way necessary to become a maintenance technician. However, they can help you land a job in a specific industry and improve your salary options. Recommended certifications include:
Certified Maintenance Technician (CMT)
Certified Maintenance Manager (CMM)
Master Certified Electronics Technician (CETma)
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRT)
Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CMAT)
It’s a great challenge to organizations but maintenance technicians too as they are expected to perform more tasks with less people.
And this include the necessity to increase first-time fix rates as technicians won’t be able to get back repeatable.
But technology can help there.
As Ben Liew revealed, Chief Network Officer in OptiComm, their workers use mobile solution to conduct on-site signal checks. That enables them to rectify any issues on the same visit, rather than it results in two visits.
“Through the app, we are able to automatically approve or fail the job based on the signal quality input. If the signal quality is lower than expected, the field tech can immediately rectify the issue and bring it up to our standards,” Ben added.
This means that companies need to invest in new technologies like automation and digital tech if they want to maintain their productivity levels.
There are three main ways in which an organization can use technology to address this challenge:
1) Invest in digital solutions to simplify routine tasks such as inspection, reporting and administration
2) Improve productivity by using intelligent devices such as smart headsets or IoT devices
3) Use digital tools like manuals or guides to speed up onboarding and provide knowledge to technicians
Maintenance Technician Career Outlook
The question then is, how much can you expect to make in the industry?
The average maintenance technician can expect to make around $40,850 per annum in the US.
Certified and experienced technicians can see their yearly salary go up to $53,150, while those just starting out will bring home around $32,020.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the rates vary wildly. In the UK, an average maintenance technician will make £30,332, in Ireland €45,000, and in Luxembourg €31,859.
How to Make the Maintenance Technician Career Work for You
Make no mistake, the work of a maintenance technician is no easy thing. But retiring workforce will increase the demand for skilled workers in this area.
So if you develop the right skills, that may lead to an attractive career in the sector.
So our last tip is: Hands-on professions in maintenance have new abilities in their disposal to streamline their work. It’s time to learn that.