Installation Maintenance And Repair

If you have a talent for mechanics and machinery, you can put your skills to practical use! We rely on important equipment to connect ourselves to the world. Anyone who has had a car, phone, or television stop working knows the value of an experienced, efficient mechanic to return your life to working order again. If there’s a machine, there needs to be a machine-fixer. Keeping a complex machine (and/or technology) functioning correctly takes regular, consistent work and attention. This work may come in the form of regular visits to the site or from digital or electronic supervision from a distance. But there is a massive difference between repairing an airplane and repairing, say, an air conditioner.

Workers in this industry have the power and ability to restore and repair items to a working, reliable state. These jobs require both skill with machinery and technology. In decades past, there was a wider separation between physical machinery that needed mechanical repair, and those that require digital, electronic, and computerized technology. There is far more overlap now, but if your skills and talents skew to one side more than the other, there are opportunities to find work that is a good fit.

The training and expertise required for advanced work in the field of aviation is far more exhaustive because of the licenses and regulations required to qualify for work. (Anyone who has ever flown in a plane is grateful.) Fortunately, there are many different categories of installation and repair careers, providing different options to choose from when deciding on a career. Depending on the kind of work, the required education and training can be relatively brief or highly intensive.

Job duties may include:

  • Inspecting equipment and evaluating its physical and working condition
  • Assessing the time, labor, and cost of installation or repair work
  • Troubleshooting solutions when the problem with a machine is unclear
  • Repairing or replacing physical parts or computer programs that the item needs to function
  • Explaining problems and offering solutions to customers, or installing new equipment in their home and property

BECOMING AN INSTALLATION MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR TECHNICIAN

The path to a career in this category depends less on what your skills are than how you want to use them.

A four-year college degree is not typically necessary, but future workers still need a thorough education. Just how thorough depends on the kind of mechanist, machinist, or technician you wish to be. Because several of these categories of focus involve critical and intricate work, workers frequently need licenses and certifications in order to work professionally. Graduation from a formal educational program can add to a resume when applying for jobs, because the employer knows the person has been thoroughly trained.

Enrolling in accredited training programs or schools can speed along the process, and can provide specific help in getting the future worker prepared for certification, licensing, and other requirements. Alternatively, on-the-job training may be offered, where the worker starts at an entry-level positions, learns as he or she works, until he or she is ready to be promoted or take exams for certification. For less complicated work, like with general household repair jobs, it may be enough for entry-level workers to shadow experienced ones and learn skills on the job. More formal apprenticeships may also be offered for longer periods.

To truly be proficient and efficient, the worker must have thorough understanding of the materials and technology he or she works with, along with detailed knowledge about safety rules, policies, and practices. The training doesn't truly end for this occupation. As technology continues to evolve, workers must keep up to date with new models, applications, and technologies. This may require additional classes or training, or simply self-education.

IMPORTANT QUALITIES

  • Customer-service skills Much of the work in this industry is specifically for a customer-installing, maintaining, or repairing a person's car, refrigerator, computer, or appliance. Knowing how to interact with customers, how to explain assessments and fees, and solve problems is a critical, overlooked aspect of these jobs.
  • Detail oriented. The bigger the job, the more parts involved. Machines and technology involve complex designs and structures and problems arise when even the smallest piece malfunctions. Workers need to be able to focus and have a critical eye for all parts of the project.
  • Dexterity. Because so much of the work is physical, workers know they will have to get their hands dirty. Pieces, parts, and technology can be delicate and the work precise.
  • Physical stamina. The mechanical side of the work can be very physically demanding. Machinery and parts must be hauled to the place of installation or replacement, with heavy equipment making the process tiring. The job isn't done until the new fridge makes it from the trunk to the kitchen, no matter how tired you are!
  • Problem-solving skills. In order to fix something, you have to understand how and why it broke in the first place. Isolating problems and coming up with practical, workable solutions is important, especially when the work only requires one person's effort.

JOB OUTLOOK

Jobs are expected grow at about the same rate as the national average for all jobs, depending upon the specific focus of the work. Overall, a quality education from a reputable program can help a worker be more competitive when applying for jobs. Workers who enter the business with a degree or certification will have an advantage over those who are hoping to learn on the job in entry-level positions.

 
  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft. They also may perform aircraft inspections as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).'

High school education or equivalent $55,230
Automotive body and glass repairers Automotive body and glass repairers

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.'

High school diploma or equivalent $37,680
Automotive service technicians and mechanics Automotive service technicians and mechanics

Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.'

High school diploma or equivalent $36,610
Computer, ATM, and office machine repairers Computer, ATM, and office machine repairers

Computer, ATM, and office machine repairers install, fix, and maintain many of the machines that businesses, households, and other consumers use.'

Some college, no degree $36,620
Diesel service technicians and mechanics Diesel service technicians and mechanics

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, or overhaul buses, trucks, and anything else with a diesel engine.'

High school diploma or equivalent $42,320
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers Electrical and electronics installers and repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install, repair, or replace a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries.'

Postsecondary non-degree award $51,220
General maintenance and repair workers General maintenance and repair workers

General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings. They work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems.'

High school diploma or equivalent $35,210
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers—often called HVACR technicians—work on heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems that control the temperature and air quality in buildings.'

Postsecondary non-degree award $43,640
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.'

High school diploma or equivalent $43,820
Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers and millwrights Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers and millwrights

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.'

High school diploma or equivalent $45,840
Line installers and repairers Line installers and repairers

Line installers and repairers install or repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics.'

High school diploma or equivalent $58,210
Medical equipment repairers Medical equipment repairers

Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair patient care equipment.'

Associate's degree $44,570
Small engine mechanics Small engine mechanics

Small engine mechanics inspect, service, and repair motorized power equipment. Mechanics often specialize in one type of equipment, such as motorcycles, motorboats, or outdoor power equipment.'

High school diploma or equivalent $32,640
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, also known as telecom technicians, set up and maintain devices or equipment that carry communications signals, connect to telephone lines, or access the Internet.'

Postsecondary non-degree award $54,530
Wind turbine technicians Wind turbine technicians

Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, install, maintain, and repair wind turbines.'

Some college, no degree $45,970
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Ref: bls.gov
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