Maintenance technicians seem to come from many different avenues to start their careers. Some graduate from high school and want to jump into a job immediately. They may start on a janitorial staff and work their way up. Others go to vocational school and pick up additional training in electrical or plumbing skills. A few might be naturally handy and trained under family member or in an apprenticeship model.
Regardless of how you start your career as a maintenance technician, you have many opportunities to advance as time marches on. Keep an eye out for what you really enjoy about your job, and find ways to immerse yourself in more of it.
Specialize in an Environment
The beautiful thing about maintenance is that you have so many potential environments to apply your skills. Perhaps you love working in a manufacturing shop environment and want to delve into the details of maintaining production line equipment. If you enjoy working around people, you might prefer to be the friendly maintenance technician that helps keep an apartment complex running. Technicians who would rather work outside than in a boiler room all day can find opportunities in landscaping, city street, or parks maintenance.
Become an Expert or Supervisor
As you gain experience in your area, you’ll have the opportunity to advance in your career either by becoming an expert in a particular skill or by supervising other technicians. If you really don’t like managing people but want to understand the intricacies of different HVAC systems, you can make yourself very valuable by learning more than the basic maintenance and repairs. However, you may find that you soon have a general knowledge of many aspects of facilities maintenance and would enjoy the challenge of handing the planning, strategy, and management of a facility.
Whichever direction you choose, be sure to check out related professional development opportunities and industry certifications to help you advance your career. You may be able to find continuing education programs at local colleges or vocational schools. Trade associations such as the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) offer opportunities such as earning the The Certified Facility Manager designation.