electrician performing maintenance

What Is a Maintenance Electrician?

electrician performing maintenance

What are your career options after you finish your electrician training program?

Electricians ply their trade everywhere from homes to businesses to factories, so you have several career paths to choose from.[1] You could work as a new construction electrician helping to erect houses and office buildings. Taking a position as a power plant field technician is another option. Yet another route you could go is to become a maintenance electrician.

Learn more about what a maintenance electrician job could hold in store for you in this article.

What Does a Maintenance Electrician Do?

One thing you can count on with electrically powered lighting, control and communications systems is that they’ll need regular maintenance throughout their lifetime. Did you know that the rate of failure for electrical components that don’t receive routine, preventative maintenance is three times higher than for equipment that does?[2]

That’s why maintenance electricians are needed in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. These professionals perform regularly scheduled maintenance on electrical systems. Due to normal wear and tear on the equipment, making repairs is also a standard task for maintenance electricians.[3][4]

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Maintenance Electrician Skills

electrician work

  • Communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Critical thinking
  • Analysis
  • The ability to focus on small details
  • Mechanical skills[5]

Maintenance Electrician Tasks

  • Testing electrical system
  • Troubleshooting electrical problems
  • Diagnosing issues with electrical equipment
  • Performing necessary repairs
  • Replacing wiring, breakers and switches[6]

Maintenance Electrician Tools

  • Hand and power tools: conduit benders, screwdrivers, drills, saws and wire strippers.
  • Testing equipment: ammeters, thermal scanners, voltmeters and cable testers.[7]
  • Protective gear: safety glasses, hard hats and fire-resistant clothing.[8]

Maintenance Electrician Work Settings

  • In-house: The electrician is an employee of a residential facility, commercial building or factory, regularly performing maintenance onsite.
  • Property managers or service agencies: the electrician makes service calls to a variety of worksites throughout the day to service and repair equipment.[9]

What Is a Maintenance Electrician’s Salary and Job Outlook?

How much could you make as a maintenance electrician? PayScale survey data shows a range of annual salaries of between $36,136 and $76,713. Compare this to the range for all electricians in 2017 reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): between $32,180 and $92,690.[10]

Reasons for variation in earnings include location, experience and skills.

Cities With Above-Average Salaries for Maintenance Electricians

  • Chicago: $63,423 ($10,856 above the national average)
  • Kansas City: $62,723 ($10,155 above the national average)
  • Cincinnati: $62,136 ($9,569 above the national average)
  • Los Angeles: $61,479 ($8,912 above the national average)
  • Houston: $60,140 ($7,572 above the national average)[11]

Maintenance Electrician Salaries by Experience

  • Entry-level (0-5 years): $45,000 a year
  • Mid-career (5-10 years): $51,000 a year
  • Experienced (10-20 years): $53,000 a year
  • Late-career (20+ years): $53,000 a year[12]

Skills Correlated to Above-Average Income

  • Troubleshooting for electrical systems
  • Programmable logic controllers/automation
  • Plant maintenance[13]

Electrician Job Growth

While data on job growth for maintenance electricians isn’t available, the BLS indicates jobs for all electricians should be added at a rate of 9 percent through 2026. This is slightly higher than the 7-percent job growth projected for all occupations. [14]

The BLS states that electricians with a diverse skillset may enjoy the best job opportunities. Desirable skills include:

How to Become a Maintenance Electrician

maintenance electrician training class

Similar to the career path for all electricians, electrician training at a technical school is one step in several to working as a maintenance electrician. Here’s a breakdown of 5 steps you can take to get to where you want to be:

  • Step 1: High school diploma or GED.
  • Step 2: Technical training to acquire basic knowledge of electrical systems equipment.
  • Step 3: Electrician apprenticeship in the maintenance field to gain experience.
  • Step 4: Electrician license, depending on the state.[16]
  • Step 5: Local electrician union membership.[17]

Why Become a Maintenance Electrician?

If you like fixing things and are looking for a career path with healthy job prospects in the coming years, then becoming a maintenance electrician could be a good choice for you. While some electricians focus on installing new electrical systems, maintenance electricians primarily focus on routine maintenance and repair.[18]

As the statistics above highlight, there is room for career advancement in this field and job growth should be slightly faster than average.

However, becoming a maintenance electrician is just one possibility after trade school. There are also positions for those with wiring skills in green construction.

Additional Sources