How much should I be spending on training for my maintenance team?

Like many questions, the answer to this one is that it really depends on a many factors. However, if you’re looking for a world-class benchmark, you can shoot for 4 percent of your total labor costs, which can be dedicated to training.

Many industry studies show that downtime can be significantly reduced with adequate training. For example, an electrical distribution equipment company projects that roughly three-fourths of unplanned shutdowns are caused by human mistakes.

The best place to start in making this decision is to evaluate or measure what you’re currently spending on training.

Training Metrics

You can calculate your average training cost per employee by simply dividing your total cost for training by the number of internal maintenance employees. Variations include looking at the measurements as a percentage of total maintenance costs as well as divided by job classification, depending on how you want to view your data.

When you’re looking at your total training costs, you should include all the wages paid during training as well as transportation, travel, registration and other fees, and material costs. Your maintenance employees should include all your direct, indirect, salaried, and hourly maintenance staff.

Possible Courses

The number and kind of training opportunities are numerous and varied. You definitely want to ensure that your maintenance team is trained on all safety requirements including OSHA, LOTO, and JSA. In addition, you may invest in leadership or managerial training for your maintenance managers as well as in CMMS, software, and strategy courses. Organizations such as FMEA and RCFA offer certifications in reliability-centered maintenance.

Maintenance technicians may benefit from technical skills training such as welding, balancing, and blueprint reading courses in addition to certifications in specific areas such as thermography and ultrasound. Many conventions and conferences also offer continuing education seminars and workshops that should be counted in overall training.

Example of Budget Breakdown

Your actual training budget will need to be based on your unique number of maintenance employees as well as selected training courses and certifications. However, here is a possible example:

Let’s say you have a maintenance team that includes one maintenance manager, three maintenance shift supervisors, and a dozen maintenance technicians. Over the course of the year, you might spend $2,000 on safety training, $7,000 on hydraulic systems training, $1,000 on team-building, $2,000 on CMMS training, and $4,000 for conference participation. That would average out to $1,000 of training expenses per year. If you have a total labor budget of $400,000, you’d be at world-class training expense levels.


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