Companies today work with a lot of machinery and electronic equipment for a number of unmanned and production tasks. All of these machines come with routine maintenance responsibilities. That’s where the maintenance technician job description comes in.
The modern maintenance service technician is an important part of a company's technical framework.
However, such jobs (as well as maintenance tasks) require a greater range of skills today. If you're looking to apply for this position, it pays to know the full set of requirements that the job type comes with.
In this article, I'll go over what a maintenance technician does, what duties come with the job title, and what an average technician earns. We'll also go over the perks and benefits.
Let's take a look.
What is a Maintenance Technician? [Job Overview]
Simply put, a maintenance technician is someone who keeps running equipment in good health and makes repairs to machinery as needed.
They perform problem-solving and maintenance work on an on-call or scheduled basis, while also working on and contributing to long-term maintenance plans.
Also called a maintenance worker or general technician, these professionals ensure the consistent upkeep of all mechanical hardware.
The 'maintenance' aspect of the job applies to several technical disciplines, such as facility maintenance, HVAC and electrical systems maintenance, and building maintenance.
Here is a brief overview of their responsibilities:
- Perform maintenance procedures on all relevant equipment and production systems
- Troubleshoot entire machine unite or specific parts
- Develop preventive maintenance plans and schedules
- Assist maintenance supervisors and maintenance teams in performing routine repairs
- Diagnose deep-rooted problems with the current machinery
- Allocate tasks to junior maintenance technicians [for senior officials]
Furthermore, a maintenance technician may have their responsibilities, according to their qualifications, maintenance experience, and specific areas of expertise.
Most experienced maintenance technicians also work as technical staff leads and junior engineers.
The current trend of skill diversification allows a single technician to work in several capacities and automate tasks that don't require their immediate attention every time.
Primary Responsibilities of a Maintenance Technician in 2020
Maintenance technician jobs in the United States are different than what they used to be.
Today, both full-time and part-time technicians are involved in a variety of technical areas and cross-functional operations. This adds further responsibility to the standard set of tasks that a technician is expected to perform.
However, before they get into the finer tasks, today's maintenance technicians need to perform a few basic types of maintenance.
Here are the 4 prime responsibilities of today's maintenance technicians.
Preventative maintenance is any repair or monitoring that's regularly done to prevent malfunctions and increase the functional life of machinery.
This sort of maintenance is performed on a scheduled or planned basis, with the schedule being set as per the requirements of the machines.
To perform preventive maintenance, a maintenance technician has to:
- Perform periodic maintenance according to timely repair schedules.
- Work with maintenance mechanics to develop appropriate repair schedules.
- Perform maintenance after a pre-decided number of operation cycles.
- Develop effective maintenance plans to save resources.
- Work with various maintenance stakeholders to keep machinery functioning flawlessly.
Preventive maintenance falls between routine and emergency maintenance, in terms of how complex it is.
Predictive maintenance is done with the expectation that any unit of machinery may fail at a later date, after factoring in its daily usage and time in operation.
It's one of the most common forms of maintenance for modern industrial and technological equipment.
To perform predictive maintenance, a technician has to:
- Install and observe performance tracking tools and software to narrow down potential causes of equipment failure.
- Monitor assets in real-time to determine asset health and working capacity.
- Perform multiple types of checks and tests on all equipment, to ensure that there are no potential problems.
- Work with senior maintenance engineers and management to implement more cost-effective methods of maintenance.
Predictive maintenance is usually done to minimize the costs of repairs in the future, and reduce instances of emergency maintenance.
General Mechanical Maintenance
General maintenance is performed outside of a schedule and is a common form of maintenance for companies with more industrial machinery.
Electricians, plumbers, and apartment maintenance technicians are prime examples of general maintenance technicians.
The more unscheduled nature of general maintenance makes it ideal for freelance mechanics and engineers who are just starting out in their respective fields.
While technicians are generally associated with industrial work, IT professionals can also fall under the category, which makes them an important part of any company's technical staff.
Soft Skills for Maintenance Technicians in 2020
Being a technician responsible for maintaining expensive machines requires more than just qualifications and broadly applicable skills.
Here are some of the most important soft skills for modern maintenance technicians:
- High-Level Technical Knowledge: Basic technical expertise is an obvious requirement for any technician. However, a technician in 2020 needs to know the latest tech trends and tools in the industry. In addition to that, they should know how to maintain more modern equipment.
- Flexible Set of Skills: Maintenance technicians should have expertise with a variety of power tools and hand tools. Furthermore, they should be able to function in the role of a supervisor, manager, or coordinator, as well as use work order and enterprise asset management software.
- Attention to Detail: Being responsible for expensive equipment requires excellent attention to even the tiniest details of the task. This is to avoid any and all instances of human error that may result in equipment failure.
- Effective Problem Solving Skills: A technician employed by a company will be provided with a set of tools according to their jobs. They should know the full set of capabilities of tools, and how to use them effectively in any situation, no matter how challenging.
- Communication Skills: Most on-site technicians have to be in non-stop communication with technical staff. Modern maintenance technicians need to know how to collaborate seamlessly with other departments to eliminate downtime.
Furthermore, technicians in 2020 should have a working knowledge of most maintenance software systems.
If they are able to implement a software system that enables the company to streamline operations, they may advance their careers quicker.
Typical Qualifications of a Maintenance Technician
Any type of industrial or domestic technician usually comes to that position after getting a technical or engineering degree, or vocational diploma in a relevant technical field.
Generally, a maintenance technician should have the following qualifications:
- Bachelor's degree in a valid technician field
- Advanced diploma with requisite on-site training
- An associate degree with at least 2 years of relevant experience
- Extensive work experience along with a valid certificate
Furthermore, a modern technician should have practical knowledge of high-tech machinery that modern companies are using, and preferably a vocational course in their usage.
There are tons of accredited online courses that can help a candidate gain the skills they need to become the ideal technician.
Taking a few of these courses will not just upskill maintenance technicians, but it'll also prepare them for new maintenance-related tasks and greater challenges.
Maintenance Technician Salary and Perks
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a current maintenance technician in the US is $39,995, per year.
This can vary based on a candidate's individual qualifications and work experience, as well as the company's salary offer.
Additionally, several companies offer perks and benefits according to the complexity of the job. The basic benefits are life, health, dental, and injury insurance proportionate with how physically demanding their job is.
How to Become an Ideal Maintenance Technician
Technology has turned technicians into the most tech-forward professionals in a company.
Senior techs are trusting software to create and respond to work orders, while assistant and junior technicians are using computers to diagnose issues, instead of the traditional disassembly.
All of this is due to software systems letting technical professionals focus on improving the bottom line and overall asset quality, instead of putting in constant manual work.
Today, any working maintenance technician or candidate has to consider tech-affinity as a major job requirement.
Additionally, companies are looking for workers who can operate in an agile atmosphere with organizational aids such as DevOps in place.
In light of this, it pays to possess all the basic maintenance technician skills, know how modern technical teams operate, and how to become a valued member of such teams.