Best Social Services Jobs

Maintenance and Repair Worker

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Overall Score
(6.1 out of 10)

Number of Jobs

125,200

Median Salary

$35,210

Unemployment Rate

5.1 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Social Services Jobs #2
The 100 Best Jobs #34

When reading job reviews from maintenance and repair workers, three virtues stand out: autonomy, variety and security. Do you like to make your own hours and 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 Day” routine? You’re in luck –  professionals in this field are often called on to could fix an electrical  problem inside one day and paint shingles outside the next. Are you hoping to find a vocation with promising job prospects? Then keep in mind that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this profession – ranking No. 2 on our best social service jobs list – to grow by 9.4 percent between 2012 and 2022. With the proper training, you could be one of the nearly 1.45 million people earning a paycheck as a maintenance and repair worker before this decade’s end. The expected growth translates to more than 125,000 jobs, with the best opportunities for candidates who possess prior experience.

Let’s not make it sound like a cakewalk, though. All the “odd jobs” that a Mr. or Ms. Fix-It might tackle add up to a lot of skilled trades expertise. Ted Tenenbaum, owner of a Mr. Handyman franchise serving the Los Angeles area in 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 ranging from carpentry to electrical work to plumbing. A little customer-service savvy and computer know-how are always useful, too.

Salary

The jack-of-all-trades nature of a maintenance and repair worker’s responsibilities doesn’t usually translate into serious coin. The median salary for workers in 2012 was $35,210 a year, while the highest-paid earned about $57,260 and the lowest-paid made $20,920. The West Coast dominates in the pay department, with San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., and Kennewick, Wash., ranking as the top three highest-paying metropolitan areas.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $45,740
Median $35,210
25th Percentile $26,720

Training

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.

Reviews & Advice

“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 who 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.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility fair Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility good High
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Last updated by Jada A. Graves.


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