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May 09, 2022 02:18 PM EDT

How to Build a Career as a Maintenance Technician in 2022?



(Photo : MemoryCatcher from Pixabay)

Has your mechanical aptitude led you to consider a career as a maintenance technician? Based on conversations with students, we estimate that many people do not know what maintenance technicians do or how they differ from engineers. 

Maintenance technicians are essential to the business world and engineering, and the field will only continue to grow in the future. Here is a brief rundown of what maintenance technicians do and why a career in this profession is an excellent choice.

Choose a Career Path

If you are not so sure what job route to choose, there is a simple approach to narrow down your choices. Check out the list below to learn about the many professions tied to a high-demand ability or aptitude.

Here are some hints for how to narrow down your search:

  • If you like working on projects, then being a maintenance technician may be a good option.

  • If you enjoy applying math principles to solve problems, then mechanical engineering may be a good option.

  • If you are good at communicating with coworkers and customers, then a sales representative may be a suitable career option.

Get Training and Certification

It is never too late to learn a new trade. But finding a job that fits your skillset is not always easy. And that is why it can be valuable to do some research before you get on a career path. One of the ways to do that is by taking classes or getting training in advanced maintenance tech, even if it does not cover what you want to do now. You can also get certified in defined trades by attending an accredited school through an apprenticeship program. 

In this way, when employers come looking for qualified people with these specific skills, you'll have the training and certification they are looking for on your résumé. Once you have completed all the related courses and class requirements for these advanced jobs, you can look for an employer who will hire you as a journeyman (or someone skilled enough to become one) with experience doing what you want to do next: fixing things!

Market Yourself

But what if you have a knack for math or have seen your name in the newspaper once? What if you are great with a hammer and nails? What if you love fixing things, and you fix things well? If any of these descriptors describe you, the future is bright for you.

That is right: Today, it is not uncommon to find maintenance technicians working with relatively modest means, even on the highest of floors.

Times are changing, but those days are still very much here today. It makes no difference whether you are competent at everything or not: your abilities will be needed somewhere in the world, no matter how different you may appear from the next person who can fix anything. If that door opens for you, then let it open wide! A career as a maintenance technician is not as hard as it sounds.

Make Connections

Despite the common misperception that maintenance technicians are primarily bland and middle-management positions. But in reality, these folks are an essential part of the tech industry. Without the work of maintenance technicians, there would be no computers in our homes or businesses, no Internet connections that we would all have to resort to using items like pencils and rocks for computation. Maintenance technicians provide vital upkeep to IT infrastructure, so you must maintain or build new contacts within your company and other industries.

That is where making connections come into play. You are not only going to need others inside your own company as coworkers; you will also be able to find work outside of your current job. Take advantage of opportunities by learning more about what those outside the company and with whom you want to work are doing. It could mean attending conferences, training sessions, and joining associations and industry trade groups. Also, improving your social media presence, working with mentors who can help guide you through various opportunities, and networking with these individuals are helpful once you are ready for them.

Find a Mentor

There is no doubt about it: becoming a maintenance technician is an uncertain journey. You might face new hurdles and challenges at every turn. And you will need to find ways of dealing with these obstacles that suit your personality. Having a mentor helps make this process go more smoothly, especially when knowing what you don't know is crucial, but there are so many ways to learn how to become a great maintenance technician.

Subject matter experts can give you the real deal on everything from equipment manuals and code requirements to when you are ready to take your next test. Your peers likely have formal and informal knowledge they would love to share with you, if only they had the time and opportunity. If you are lucky (or charming), maybe even your supervisor will give you some pointers on getting ahead in your field. Finally, taking field trips and shadowing will go a long way toward helping you understand all aspects of the job. Remember that whatever information or insight another maintenance technician gives you is not 100% reliable until verified by someone else.

As long as we are talking about mentors, do not forget that they can be found outside of just your immediate profession! For example: think about how helpful an experienced gardener could be in advising on how to keep plants healthy? Or an automotive engineer could help explain some of the most complicated machinations involved in repairing engines? They are everywhere, all around us, breathing in our oxygen, taking up space on Earth with their mass. Enjoy them while they last because eventually, we will kill them off. We have got big plans for our Earth's future after all.

Grow Your Skillset

You're ready to step into the maintenance field but do not know where to begin. The good news is there are many ways you can get started. One of the most straightforward is to use your skills from previous jobs and courses you have already taken. Your knowledge in CAD design and CMS software will come in handy on the job. Maybe something else based only on experience will help you stand out in an interview, like knowing how to properly operate a forklift or other piece of equipment needed for construction site cleanup. 

Although there is no formal training required for all jobs in maintenance, many employers prefer to see candidates with some education under their belt. Fortunately, many community schools offer programs that can assist you in gaining the necessary skills to begin this exciting career path.

Start Your Journey to be a Maintenance Technician

Now that we've looked at all the reasons you should consider a career as a maintenance technician, it may be time to ask yourself: "Where do I start?" Luckily, there are many opportunities for aspiring technicians to gain hands-on experience. If you're in high school and interested in this field, try taking courses in science and math. If those subjects aren't your thing, try taking electives like woodshop or auto shop.

As someone researching this career path later on in life, you can train yourself by taking any opportunity to perform minor fixes around your home: replacing fuses, tuning up lawnmowers, and testing smoke detectors. Volunteering for an organization that organizes events or maintains facilities, such as a church or community center, is another fantastic way to learn more about the ins and outs of property management.

If you are ready to put down roots and begin your career as a maintenance technician post-graduation or post-retirement (if applicable), remember that there's plenty of room for growth. From an entry-level position with little responsibility and low pay to something with more prestige and greater responsibilities. The skills and knowledge acquired through these early jobs will serve you well throughout your tenure in this field. Don't be afraid to go slow as you gather experience.

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