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Building Maintenance Workers

At a Glance

  • Use carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and masonry skills
  • Usually work for property management firms, hospitals, hotels, or universities
  • Are moderately physically active
  • May work evenings, weekends, and on-call
  • Train on the job

Career summary

Building maintenance workers keep buildings in good shape. They repair plumbing, electrical fixtures, machinery, and the structure of buildings.

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Building maintenance workers use carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and masonry skills to perform repairs and maintenance such as:

Maintenance workers do some work that is routine and can be scheduled. Other repairs are due to problems. When a problem is found, workers inspect the structure or equipment and figure out the cause.

Maintenance workers take apart machines such as heaters and fix them. Sometimes they replace worn or broken parts. Workers may also clean and lubricate parts. They use various hand and power tools to make repairs. They may also use welding torches to repair and construct parts. After making repairs, workers reassemble machines and test them.

Maintenance workers install, repair, and maintain systems that control the temperature in buildings. They set and adjust the controls of these systems. In newer buildings, workers maintain computer systems that control temperature and lights. Maintenance workers also insulate walls, windows, and pipes to reduce costs for heating and cooling. Workers may replace older heating and cooling systems with new systems that are energy efficient. They may also install and maintain boilers, and may repair or replace boiler parts.

Building maintenance workers keep track of work orders. They check prices with suppliers and estimate the cost of a job. They document all purchases.

Maintenance workers who work in smaller buildings often do all the repairs except for very difficult or large jobs. In larger buildings, they may specialize in a particular area such as heating and ventilation or do general maintenance.

Related careers

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to building maintenance workers.

Common work activities

Building maintenance workers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, building maintenance workers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Building maintenance workers frequently:

It is important for building maintenance workers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for building maintenance workers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Building maintenance workers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a building maintenance worker, you typically need to:

Education after high school

No formal training is required beyond high school. Some building maintenance workers take courses at professional-technical schools. They learn skills in trades such as plumbing and construction.

On-the-job training

Most building maintenance workers receive training on the job from an experienced worker. You begin by doing simple tasks such as fixing leaky faucets and changing light bulbs. Gradually you progress to more complex tasks, such as repairing machinery or creating parts. You need about one year to be fully trained in this occupation, although the length of training varies by employer. In large buildings that have maintenance crews, you may specialize in one type of repair. In smaller buildings that have only one worker, you need all-around skills.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Many employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent. They also prefer applicants who have related work experience. Employers provide training to people they hire as helpers. Depending on the employer, applicants may need skills in welding, carpentry, and electrical wiring. Some may need some electronics background to operate equipment with computer controls.

Employers often require applicants to pass background checks and drug tests. Background checks are required because building maintenance workers often have access to private residences and offices.


Cooperative work experience is helpful.

Costs to workers

Some workers may be required to join a union and pay an initiation fee and dues.


Some employers may require a commercial driver's license. Workers, whose job duties include grounds maintenance, may be required to obtain a pesticide operator's license.

For information on pesticide application licensing, contact:

Washington State Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Management Division (external link)
PO Box 42560
Olympia, WA 98504-2560

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Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Maintenance and repair workers, general (SOC 49-9071)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $12.57 $15.97 $20.49 $26.65 $31.54
Monthly $2,178 $2,768 $3,551 $4,618 $5,466
Yearly $26,140 $33,210 $42,610 $55,420 $65,610
    Bellingham Hourly $12.48 $15.93 $20.89 $26.78 $31.83
Monthly $2,163 $2,761 $3,620 $4,641 $5,516
Yearly $25,949 $33,146 $43,443 $55,704 $66,206
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $12.73 $14.78 $19.00 $25.90 $31.81
Monthly $2,206 $2,561 $3,293 $4,488 $5,513
Yearly $26,480 $30,748 $39,527 $53,866 $66,165
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $11.04 $12.18 $14.44 $20.48 $27.62
Monthly $1,913 $2,111 $2,502 $3,549 $4,787
Yearly $22,960 $25,320 $30,049 $42,604 $57,452
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $12.07 $13.83 $19.06 $25.72 $31.50
Monthly $2,092 $2,397 $3,303 $4,457 $5,459
Yearly $25,118 $28,750 $39,644 $53,497 $65,518
    Longview Hourly $12.94 $15.80 $20.57 $27.60 $34.45
Monthly $2,243 $2,738 $3,565 $4,783 $5,970
Yearly $26,934 $32,871 $42,797 $57,420 $71,646
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $12.76 $15.85 $21.05 $25.57 $29.86
Monthly $2,211 $2,747 $3,648 $4,431 $5,175
Yearly $26,546 $32,974 $43,783 $53,177 $62,103
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $12.46 $15.79 $19.54 $26.58 $30.28
Monthly $2,159 $2,736 $3,386 $4,606 $5,248
Yearly $25,908 $32,855 $40,638 $55,273 $62,969
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $13.58 $17.01 $21.62 $28.10 $33.66
Monthly $2,353 $2,948 $3,747 $4,870 $5,833
Yearly $28,260 $35,372 $44,966 $58,434 $70,021
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.54 $14.86 $18.72 $24.16 $29.77
Monthly $2,173 $2,575 $3,244 $4,187 $5,159
Yearly $26,074 $30,902 $38,930 $50,246 $61,928
    Vancouver Hourly $12.84 $15.67 $19.47 $24.80 $30.93
Monthly $2,225 $2,716 $3,374 $4,298 $5,360
Yearly $26,721 $32,594 $40,493 $51,570 $64,342
    Walla Walla Hourly $12.18 $15.38 $20.36 $27.82 $32.75
Monthly $2,111 $2,665 $3,528 $4,821 $5,676
Yearly $25,323 $31,986 $42,355 $57,871 $68,120
    Wenatchee Hourly $12.49 $14.43 $18.21 $24.57 $29.56
Monthly $2,165 $2,501 $3,156 $4,258 $5,123
Yearly $25,977 $30,029 $37,890 $51,107 $61,480
    Yakima Hourly $12.00 $13.50 $19.21 $24.86 $28.90
Monthly $2,080 $2,340 $3,329 $4,308 $5,008
Yearly $24,958 $28,091 $39,971 $51,699 $60,097
United States Hourly $11.32 $14.21 $18.42 $24.09 $30.00
Monthly $1,962 $2,463 $3,192 $4,175 $5,199
Yearly $23,540 $29,560 $38,300 $50,100 $62,400

Wages vary with the employer, duties, and skill of the worker. Wages are higher in government and hospital jobs, and lower in real estate and hotel or motel jobs. Some workers are members of unions. Union members often receive higher wages than non-union workers.

Building maintenance workers who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Maintenance and repair workers, general (SOC 49-9071)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 37,509 12.4% 16.1% 4,799
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 1,937 11.8% 13.4% 244
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 1,142 10.3% 8.6% 139
    Benton and Franklin Counties 1,448 12.1% 15.0% 183
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 1,412 11.6% 11.9% 177
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 2,450 13.0% 15.2% 318
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 2,651 11.6% 14.1% 332
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 2,125 10.2% 14.6% 259
    King County 12,997 12.4% 19.6% 1,664
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 1,924 12.4% 13.8% 246
    Pierce County 4,742 15.7% 15.2% 647
    Snohomish County 2,432 8.7% 12.4% 286
    Spokane County 2,165 12.5% 13.9% 277
United States 1,488,000 5.7% 5.2% 156,900

National employment

Building maintenance workers are employed in almost every industry.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand increases as the real estate market gets better. When people sell houses they need to get things repaired or have renovations done. Demand is also strong due to repairs of foreclosed and distressed homes caused by the recession.

This occupation is very large and has a high rate of turnover. Thus, many openings will occur as current workers change jobs or retire.

Other resources

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (external link)
4755 East Philadelphia Street
Ontario, CA 91761
Service Employees International Union (external link)
1800 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster