|Number of Jobs:||142,000|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Social Services Jobs||#9|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#40|
When reading job reviews from those who work as maintenance and repair workers, three virtues stand out: autonomy, variety, and security. Do you like to make your own hours or work a less-than-traditional schedule? Many maintenance and repair workers are given a wide berth to work independently. Are you trying to stay away from a Groundhog's Day routine? You're in luck—these professionals could fix plaster inside one day and paint shingles outside the next. Are you hoping to find a vocation with promising prospects? Then keep in mind that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects this profession to grow by 11 percent between 2010 and 2020. With the proper training, you could be one of the 1.2 million people earning a paycheck as a maintenance and repair worker before this decade's end. The 11-percent growth translates to more than 140,000 jobs in the next seven years, with the best opportunity for those with prior experience.
Let's not make it sound like a cakewalk, though. All the "odd jobs" that a Mr. or Mrs. Fix-It might tackle add up to a lot of skilled trades expertise. Ted Tenenbaum, owner of a Mr. Handyman franchise in the Studio City area of California, says general maintenance and repair workers are like "doctors for your home. They need to have the ability to analyze the problem and find the best solution even when there may be many options. And sometimes they need to be creative when a solution isn't so obvious." They need to be in good physical shape to endure standing, squatting, and stooping for long periods of time, plus be able to lift heavy objects and work with complex tools. It's imperative that they also possess a better-than-basic knowledge of trades that range from carpentry to electrical work to plumbing; not to mention a little customer service savvy and computer know-how.
The jack-of-all-trades nature of a maintenance and repair worker's responsibilities doesn't translate into serious coin. The median salary for workers in 2011 was a little more than $35,000 a year, while the highest-paid were earning less than $60,000. The lowest-paid made around $20,820 last year. California maintenance workers make top dollar—the metro areas of San Francisco, Napa, and San Jose are currently the best-paying in the country.
Most who enter this profession start out working as an apprentice for months or even years before cultivating the expertise to work independently. And when they are ready to do so, they most likely will have to obtain a license. Requirements vary by state; some might demand additional training in electrical and plumbing work. Many companies prefer to hire workers with at least a high school diploma and the lowest level of certification (Certified Maintenance Technician). Tenenbaum says his business prefers to employ people who have worked for at least 15 years in skilled trades.
"A lot of skilled trades people show up for a handyman interview wearing clothes that you wouldn't want your plumber to wear. I actually had an applicant show up eating a sandwich," Tenenbaum says. Instead, dress like you're seeking employment as a banker. And show a little personality. Tenenbaum says the repair men and women with the most longevity are the ones that are the most pleasant to have around. "They display a sense of humor and a love for their work. We even have a handyman who whistles while he works," he notes.
|Stress Level||Above Average|