It can be demoralizing to enter a career path, only to find few chances for advancement - after all, there's a reason we call them "dead end" jobs. Fortunately, the job of the maintenance technician isn't one of these. In fact, depending on how proficient the technician is, the field of maintenance is rife with opportunities for advancement, even if that advancement occurs within the same job title.
The easiest path to advancement for maintenance technicians is probably in the form of maintenance certifications.
Think about this like teachers: if you enter the workforce as a high school teacher, you make X amount of dollars initially. However, if you get more education, you can potentially make X + Y amount of dollars. You're still in the same career field, but your earning potential and advancement are increased due to your education and new skillset.
Maintenance technicians can do much the same thing. Getting certified increases your hire-ability and lends credibility to your skills. While this doesn't seem like career advancement, being a certified maintenance technician also increases the likelihood that you receive a promotion while improving your ability to perform effective maintenance work.
It's also possible to shadow a person in a higher position than you in hopes that you can advance to their role.
While apprenticeship seems somewhat outdated, in many manual professions it's a completely valid (and cost-effective) way of learning new skills. A maintenance technician can learn a ton by shadowing the person who oversees a facility's predictive maintenance, giving them a skill they didn't have before. And ultimately, new skills are the building blocks of receiving a promotion.
Becoming a maintenance supervisor
Overall, if there's a direct level up from maintenance technician, it's the position of maintenance supervisor, the person who coordinates a facility's technicians and makes sure everything is running smoothly.
Because maintenance supervisors oversee technicians, it makes a lot of sense that the pool of applicants is typically made up of maintenance technicians - they know their role and how it should work.
With that in mind, there are a few things technicians can do to increase their chances of being promoted to maintenance supervisor:
- Show interest in the position and be straightforward
- Show mastery of their current position
- Do research on the responsibilities of a supervisor
- Understand your product and your customers
- Seek continuous learning opportunities
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