General Maintenance Mechanics


Employment Prospects


General maintenance mechanics are employed in factories, hospitals, schools, colleges, hotels, offices, stores, malls, gas and electric companies, government agencies, and apartment buildings throughout the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that there are about 1.5 million people working in the field. About 13 percent are employed in manufacturing industries and 21 percent work for real estate and rental and leasing companies. Others are employed in service industries, such as elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and nursing homes, and hotels, and utility companies. 

Starting Out

General maintenance mechanics usually start as helpers to experienced mechanics and learn their skills on the job. Beginning helpers are given the simplest jobs, such as changing light bulbs or making minor drywall repairs. As general maintenance mechanics acquire skills, they are assigned more complicated work, such as troubleshooting malfunctioning machinery.

Job seekers in this field usually apply directly to potential employers. Information on job openings for mechanic's helpers can often be found through newspaper classified ads, school career services offices, and the local offices of the state employment service. Graduates of trade or vocational schools may be able to get referrals and information from their school's career services office. Union offices may also be a good place to learn about job opportunities.

Advancement Prospects

Some general maintenance mechanics who are employed in large organizations may advance to supervisory positions. Another possibility is to move into one of the traditional building trades and become a craftworker, such as a plumber or electrician. In smaller organizations, opportunities for promotion are limited, although increases in pay may result from an employee's good performance and increased value to the employer.

Tips for Entry

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:,, and

Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.

Join a union to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.