Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Maintenance and Repair Workers

general maintenance and repair workers image
Workers use hand tools and power tools to fix appliances and equipment.
Quick Facts: General Maintenance and Repair Workers
2020 Median Pay $40,850 per year
$19.64 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2020 1,444,100
Job Outlook, 2020-30 8% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 117,000

Summary

What General Maintenance and Repair Workers Do

General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings.

Work Environment

General maintenance and repair workers often carry out many different tasks in a single day. They could work at any number of indoor or outdoor locations. They may work inside a single building, such as a hotel or hospital, or be responsible for the maintenance of many buildings, such as those in an apartment complex or on a college campus.

How to Become a General Maintenance and Repair Worker

Jobs in this occupation typically require a high school diploma or equivalent. General maintenance and repair workers often learn their skills on the job for several years. They start out performing simple tasks while watching and learning from skilled maintenance workers.

Pay

The median annual wage for general maintenance and repair workers was $40,850 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of general maintenance and repair workers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 152,300 openings for general maintenance and repair workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for general maintenance and repair workers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of general maintenance and repair workers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about general maintenance and repair workers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What General Maintenance and Repair Workers Do

General maintenance and repair workers
Workers are responsible for the upkeep of many homes and apartment buildings.

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

Duties

General maintenance and repair workers typically do the following:

  • Maintain and repair machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings
  • Fix or replace faulty electrical switches, outlets, and circuit breakers
  • Inspect and diagnose problems and figure out the best way to correct them
  • Perform routine preventive maintenance to ensure that machines continue to run smoothly
  • Assemble and set up machinery or equipment
  • Plan repair work using blueprints or diagrams
  • Do general cleaning and upkeep of buildings and properties
  • Order supplies from catalogs and storerooms
  • Meet with clients to estimate repairs and costs
  • Keep detailed records of their work

General maintenance and repair workers are hired for maintenance and repair tasks that are not complex enough to need the specialized training of a licensed tradesperson, such as a plumber or electrician.

These workers are also responsible for recognizing when a job is above their skill level and requires the expertise of an electrician; a carpenter; a heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanic or installer; or a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter.

General maintenance and repair workers may fix or paint roofs, windows, doors, floors, woodwork, walls, and other parts of buildings.

They also maintain and repair specialized equipment and machinery in cafeterias, laundries, hospitals, stores, offices, and factories.

General maintenance and repair workers get supplies and parts from distributors or storerooms to fix problems. They use common hand and power tools, such as screwdrivers, saws, drills, wrenches, and hammers to fix, replace, or repair equipment and parts of buildings.

Work Environment

General maintenance and repair workers
Many workers need safety gear when working with certain tools and equipment.

General maintenance and repair workers held about 1.4 million jobs in 2020. The largest employers of general maintenance and repair workers were as follows:

Real estate and rental and leasing 23%
Manufacturing 13
Government 12
Educational services; state, local, and private 8
Healthcare and social assistance 8

General maintenance and repair workers often carry out many different tasks in a single day at any number of locations. They may work inside a single building, such as a hotel or hospital, or be responsible for the maintenance of many buildings, such as those in an apartment complex or on a college campus.

General maintenance and repair workers may have to stand for long periods or lift heavy objects. These workers may work in uncomfortably hot or cold environments, in uncomfortable or cramped positions, or on ladders. The work involves a lot of walking, climbing, and reaching.

Injuries and Illnesses

General maintenance and repair workers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Common injuries include electrical shocks, falls, cuts, and bruises.

Work Schedules

Most general maintenance and repair workers work full time, including evenings or weekends. Some are on call for emergency repairs.

How to Become a General Maintenance and Repair Worker

General maintenance and repair workers
Beginners often work under the supervision of more experienced workers.

Jobs in this field typically do not require any formal education beyond high school. General maintenance and repair workers often learn their skills on the job. They start by doing simple tasks and watching and learning from skilled maintenance workers.

Education

Many maintenance and repair workers learn some basic skills in high school shop or technical education classes, postsecondary trade or vocational schools, or community colleges.

Courses in mechanical drawing, electricity, woodworking, blueprint reading, mathematics, and computers are useful. Maintenance and repair workers often do work that involves electrical, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning systems or painting and roofing tasks. Workers need a good working knowledge of many repair and maintenance tasks.

Practical training, available at many adult education centers and community colleges, is another option for workers to learn tasks such as drywall repair and basic plumbing.

Training

General maintenance and repair workers usually start by watching and learning from skilled maintenance workers. They begin by doing simple tasks, such as fixing leaky faucets and replacing lightbulbs. After gaining experience, general maintenance and repair workers move on to more difficult tasks, such as overhauling machinery or building walls.

Some general maintenance and repair workers learn their skills by assisting other types of repair or construction workers, including machinery repairers, carpenters, or electricians.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensing requirements vary by state and locality. For more complex tasks, workers may need to be licensed in a particular specialty, such as electrical or plumbing work.

Advancement

Some maintenance and repair workers decide to train in one specific craft and become craftworkers, such as electricians, heating and air-conditioning mechanics, or plumbers.

Other maintenance workers eventually open their own repair or contracting business. However, those who want to become a project manager or own their own business may need some postsecondary education or a degree in construction management. For more information, see the profile on construction managers.

Within small organizations, promotion opportunities may be limited.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. These workers interact with customers on a regular basis. They need to be friendly and able to address customers’ questions.

Dexterity. Many repair and maintenance tasks, such as repairing small devices, connecting or attaching components, and using hand tools, require a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination.

Troubleshooting skills. Workers find, diagnose, and repair problems. They perform tests to figure out the cause of problems before fixing equipment.

Pay

General Maintenance and Repair Workers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

$46,290

Total, all occupations

$41,950

Maintenance and repair workers, general

$40,850

 

The median annual wage for general maintenance and repair workers was $40,850 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,590.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for general maintenance and repair workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $47,580
Government 44,060
Educational services; state, local, and private 43,700
Healthcare and social assistance 39,550
Real estate and rental and leasing 38,720

Most general maintenance and repair workers work full time, including evenings or weekends. Some are on call for emergency repairs.

Job Outlook

General Maintenance and Repair Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

9%

Maintenance and repair workers, general

8%

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Employment of general maintenance and repair workers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 152,300 openings for general maintenance and repair workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Maintenance and repair work is closely related to the demand for home and building maintenance. Maintenance and repair workers will continue to be needed to upgrade and renovate older homes. Homeowners may invest in projects to accommodate their future living needs, allowing them to remain in their homes after retirement or to sell their property.

In addition to the work required for residential properties, maintenance and repair is also needed for nonresidential properties. For example, maintenance and repair workers will be needed to work on older commercial and public buildings. Older homes and buildings typically require more maintenance or repair, especially for pipes, insulation, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems.

Employment projections data for general maintenance and repair workers, 2020-30

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Maintenance and repair workers, general

SOC Code49-9071
Employment, 20201,444,100
Projected Employment, 20301,561,100
Percent Change, 2020-308
Numeric Change, 2020-30117,000
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of general maintenance and repair workers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Boilermakers Boilermakers

Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases.

High school diploma or equivalent $65,360
Carpenters Carpenters

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

High school diploma or equivalent $49,520
Construction managers Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Bachelor's degree $97,180
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install or repair a variety of electrical equipment.

See How to Become One $62,020
Electricians Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $56,900
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration and mechanics and installers Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers work on heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems.

Postsecondary nondegree award $50,590
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair piping fixtures and systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $56,330

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, General Maintenance and Repair Workers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/general-maintenance-and-repair-workers.htm (visited October 01, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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