A career as a Facilities Maintenance Technician plays a crucial role in maintaining the lives and careers of communities, keeping buildings running smoothly, solving challenges ranging from construction to plumbing to electrical work, and ensuring the comfort and safety of occupants. Join a dynamic career that offers constant learning opportunities in a field critical to public health and safety.
Education & Training
The required certification needed to work as a Facilities Maintenance Technician varies depending on your state and county of employment. Regardless, all prospective technicians must have some experience in the field, be it through an educational program or an apprenticeship.
While a building maintenance degree or certification is not always a necessity, many states do require licenses to work with plumbing and electricity. Prospects often obtain these certifications through trade schools and universities. Workers may learn basic repair skills on the job, however expanding their knowledge and abilities through educational programs can increase their chances of receiving better pay and job opportunities.
How long does it take?
Penn Foster certificate programs can be completed remotely, and take about 9 months. Other students may choose to earn a 2-year Associate’s degree instead.
Those with prior work experience in a skilled trade may forego prerequisite education altogether, instead using their previous certifications in related fields as credentials when seeking employment as an apprentice.
Different educational and vocational training pathways may vary in their completion time. Prospective Facilities Maintenance Technicians must have a high school diploma or GED before pursuing education at a vocational, technical, or community college.
How much does it cost?
The Penn Foster programs highlighted above cost about $1000.
Program costs vary drastically depending on the certificate or degree level you may pursue. Short courses that cover individual topics, such as AutoCAD and other software, may range from tuition of $50 to $500 and may take from a few days to a few weeks to complete.
Longer and more in-depth certification programs that cover foundational skills required for a career in facilities maintenance may range from $1,200 to $9,000. For an Associate’s degree program that typically takes up to 2 years, tuition may vary from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the institution and the medium.
What will you study?
A course in facilities maintenance should cover:
- Hand and Power Tools: how to properly wield tools and equipment safely and effectively, as well as various tools and their purposes, including how to best choose a tool for the job.
- Maintenance and Troubleshooting: common problems you may encounter and how to address them, in addition to troubleshooting situations where a technical issue may not necessarily be evident.
- Fundamentals of HVAC/R: how to perform common repairs and sanitization of HVAC/R systems, as well as their components and function.
- Electrical Fundamentals: how to perform basic electrical repairs and engage in construction practices mindful of surrounding electrical components.
- Customer Service: how to communicate with customers empathetically, relaying information about maintenance and troubleshooting in a simple, comprehensible manner.
Benefits of taking a class
Enrolling in a Facilities Maintenance Technician certification course offers students a competitive advantage, both in their education and when pursuing employment:
- Credentials: Though most certification programs are offered online, many of them partner with local vocational schools or community colleges, offering learners the flexibility and guided support they may need to attain a well-rounded education at their own pace.
- Time: Certification programs are typically completed in under a year, allowing students to balance their prerequisite training between classroom learning and hands-on work as an apprenticeship.
- Start Earning: Unlike students in full-length degree programs, completing a certificate in under a year may grant prospective Facilities Maintenance Technicians the ability to start earning an income earlier, potentially even paying back their initial educational investment while still undergoing training.
How Much Can You Make?
Salaries for Facilities Maintenance Technicians nationwide typically fall between $39,000 and $49,500 and average at $43,899, according to salary.com.
Certification and Exams
A career as a Facilities Maintenance Technician entails a versatile skillset that may be applied to construction work, HVAC maintenance, plumbing repairs, and electrical work. Because of this, Facilities Maintenance Technicians don’t have to pass a specific examination that encompasses all skills necessary for a career in the trade, unlike other skilled trades.
All prospective Facilities Maintenance Technicians must have a high school diploma or GED and at least 1 year of experience, including vocational training, in a related trade. Prerequisite skills required before seeking employment as a Facilities Maintenance Technician primarily entail a basic knowledge of electrical systems, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and working with power tools.
Mandatory certifications may depend on the state and county of employment. Some employers may not even require certifications beyond verified work experience or a completed apprenticeship or educational program, though additional certifications may increase your success when seeking employment.
Though apprenticeships are optional when pursuing a career as a Facilities Maintenance Technician, they can be a great way for prospective technicians to gain work experience without any prior employment or education in a skilled trade. Even future technicians who have completed educational programs may benefit from an apprenticeship, as it offers valuable work experience that a degree or certificate program may not be able to provide.
Facilities Maintenance Technicians may also have the opportunity to gain additional certifications in specific fields relevant to their careers. The time it may take to achieve these certifications varies, and they certainly aren’t necessary to be employed.
Still, they may enable you to work in more specific or technically advanced fields, which, in turn, may offer higher salaries.
Some of these certifications include:
- Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRP)
- Building Systems Maintenance Certificate (SMC)
- Building Operator Certification (BOC)
- HVACR Certification
One example of an additional certification program Facilities Maintenance Technicians may pursue is the HVAC/R Maintenance Technician Certification, offered by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). This program typically takes about 6 months to complete.
Multiple certification levels are offered, and earning this certification upon exam completion validates that an individual has the skills necessary to service, maintain, and repair HVAC and refrigeration systems.
Other certification programs you may choose to pursue are Industrial Maintenance Tech Certification programs. These are offered by various providers, depending on your location of residence. Depending on the certification level, these programs take 40 to 160 hours to complete.
IMT Certification Programs offer 3 exam levels:
- A Basic Industrial Maintenance Technician exam
- An Advanced Industrial Maintenance Technician exam
- A Master Industrial Maintenance Technician exam
Each level comes with specific permissions and varying levels of advancement regarding course content. However, each program primarily addresses proper protocol Industrial Maintenance Technicians may need to perform their job effectively and safely.
Specific technical programs in electrical work, plumbing, and automotive maintenance are also available to Facilities Maintenance Technicians seeking a clearer career path.
A Facilities Maintenance Technician is responsible for servicing, maintaining, and troubleshooting all operational systems involved in a building’s HVAC/R and plumbing systems. However, their work may occasionally involve electrical and construction work as well.
Specific work may include installing, repairing, and replacing HVAC/R systems’ components, including boilers, chillers, pumps, motors, refrigeration systems, and surrounding plumbing according to construction plans, building codes, and local and statewide laws. Other work may include general construction, including maintenance of adjacent fixtures and systems, and general repairs.
Job Duties & Responsibilities
In many ways, repair technicians are responsible for the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at a business. Some of this work includes important tasks such as:
- Performing inspections
- HVAC maintenance and repair
- Servicing plumbing, refrigeration and electrical systems
- Repairing boiler systems
- Regular cleaning and general upkeep
- Performing exterior repairs and grounds work
What Types of Skills Should Building Maintenance Employees Possess?
Building maintenance jobs often involve working in direct contact with others. This can include customers at a shopping mall or outlet store, the staff of an office or simply other repair technicians. As such, maintenance employees must be able to act professionally and courteously while performing their job duties.
While it is essential for maintenance employees to have extensive knowledge of repair, it is also important to constantly learn new skills. As technology changes, so too do the tools people must use to maintain it. Staying up-to-date with the necessary codes and changes to things like heating and electrical systems is imperative.
Perhaps most important of all, employees in the maintenance field must understand the complex systems they encounter on a daily basis. In addition to allowing them to perform their jobs faster and successfully, a vast bank of knowledge also keeps them and everyone else safe.
Since all commercial, residential and industrial businesses must remain safe and functional at all times, careers in building maintenance are always in demand. As communities expand and the construction of new stores, housing and factories increases, so too does the need for this thriving field.
Do Building Maintenance Employees Have Any Other Options?
Since the field of building maintenance is so broad, there are many different jobs an employee can perform. Any company that needs electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists is an option. There is also the possibility of branching out on your own and starting a maintenance company as a private contractor.
What are Alternate Careers for Building Maintenance Employees?
Other careers that maintenance employees can perform include welding, carpentry, boiler making and construction. If a person’s certification level is high enough, they can increase their scope to include management and supervisory roles within these related fields.