Maintenance Technician Training

Well-trained and highly skilled maintenance professionals play a critical role in maintaining safe, productive, and orderly facilities. Maintenance technicians perform a wide range of vital functions including routine equipment inspections, scheduled preventive maintenance (PM) tasks, emergency equipment repairs, and much more.

These maintenance activities help to prevent equipment failure, mitigate safety risks, ensure regulatory compliance, reduce unplanned downtime, sustain operational continuity, and more. This underscores the far-reaching importance of effective maintenance technician training.

Your organization’s performance, productivity, and growth depend on the knowledge, skill, and reliability of your maintenance personnel. In the discussion below, we take a closer look at the indispensable role that maintenance technician training plays not just in the effectiveness of your maintenance program but in the long-term success of your organization as a whole.

Maintenance technicians: the basics

Maintenance technicians provide a broad set of critical services for ensuring proper function, regular upkeep, and improved longevity of physical assets including machinery, equipment, and the broader facilities containing these assets. 

Below, we take a closer look at some of the key roles and responsibilities that maintenance technicians will commonly take on in the performance of these services.

  • Preventive Maintenance (PM) activities, including regular inspections; scheduled parts replacements; and routine maintenance tasks such as lubrication, calibration, and cleaning
  • Troubleshooting and repairs, including testing of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; replacement of faulty components; and the use of diagnostic tools to identify potential performance issues
  • Safety compliance, including alignment with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards; implementation of proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures during maintenance; and performance of routine safety inspections 
  • Facility maintenance, including upkeep of exterior and ground; routine maintenance of critical systems such as HVAC systems and fire safety systems; and compliance with building codes
  • Documentation of maintenance activities, including details on the work performed, parts used, and time spent

What skills do maintenance technicians need? 

As the section above demonstrates, maintenance technicians will typically be expected to perform a wide range of functions with competence and consistency. Below, we take a look at some of the essential attributes that help technicians excel in the performance of these responsibilities.

  • Technical skills should include:
    • Knowledge of basic electricity, mechanical, plumbing, and HVAC systems
    • Proficiency with hand tools, power tools, and diagnostic equipment
    • Welding, metal fabrication, and other repair techniques
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills should include:
    • Troubleshooting and diagnostic abilities
    • Attention to detail in the performance of maintenance tasks and inspections
    • Proficiency in generating relevant technical documents as well as interpreting technical manuals, blueprints, and schematics
  • Safety and compliance skills should include: 
    • Knowledge of safety regulations and industry best practices
    • Understanding of local, state, and federal regulations
    • Knowledge of emergency procedures, as well as the fundamentals of first aid administration
  • Organizational skills should include:
    • Maintenance planning and task scheduling
    • Critical assessment and task prioritization
    • Inventory management tracking for spare parts, materials, and tools

Different types of maintenance technicians

The skills outlined above are valuable regardless of industry. However, many maintenance workers are trained with highly specialized skills in specific areas of maintenance. The following are a few examples of the different types of maintenance technicians that your organization might require: 

  • Mechanical maintenance technicians specialize in mechanical systems and will typically perform functions like inspecting, diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining machinery such as engines, pumps, and conveyor systems.
  • Electrical maintenance technicians specialize in electrical systems and their components and will perform functions like installing, inspecting, and repairing electrical wiring, fixtures, and control systems in compliance with electrical codes and safety standards.
  • HVAC maintenance technicians specialize in climate control systems and will typically perform functions like installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC systems and components.
  • Industrial maintenance technicians specialize in heavy machinery and production equipment, and will typically perform functions like inspections, testing, and preventive maintenance for industrial machinery
  • Facility maintenance technicians are responsible for the overall upkeep of buildings and facilities and will typically perform functions like routine maintenance on building systems, safety inspections, and building code compliance audits.

Maintenance technician training: popular programs and certifications 

While most organizations in asset-intensive industries will provide internal training, maintenance technicians can expand on their skills, knowledge, and expertise by participating in certain training and certification programs. Earning professional certifications can enhance qualifications for leadership opportunities and specialized maintenance roles.

  • The Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRT) exam is administered by the SMRP and is used to validate the knowledge and skills of maintenance and reliability technicians who carry out preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, and corrective maintenance programs.
  • The Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) exam is also administered by the SMRP and is used to validate the knowledge and skills of maintenance in five key areas: business and management; manufacturing process reliability; equipment reliability; organization and leadership; and work management.
  • Certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanic (CIMM) is offered by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) and recognizes the expertise of industrial maintenance mechanics in areas such as mechanical systems, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and maintenance management.

Best practices for training maintenance technicians

To build an effective maintenance program, you must first build an effective maintenance technician training program. In the section below, we highlight some of the proven best practices for establishing a successful maintenance technician training program.

  • Conduct a needs assessment, identifying specific skills and knowledge gaps on your maintenance team.
  • Develop a comprehensive training curriculum, with coursework covering essential areas of maintenance and including both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
  • Provide hands-on training, using real equipment and simulated scenarios to provide meaningful and practical training experiences.
  • Incorporate safety protocols, hazard recognition, and emergency response into all relevant aspects of your training programs.
  • Tap experienced technicians within your organization to share knowledge, provide on-the-job training, and act as mentors. 
  • Leverage technology-based training tools such as computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) to track training progress and assess learning outcomes.
  • Provide continuous education, creating ongoing opportunities to learn and participate in industry conferences, workshops, and certification programs.
  • Measure training program outcomes by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and using the data to identify areas for improvement. 

Subjects to incorporate in maintenance technician training

In addition to following the best practices outlined above, you’ll also want to consider incorporating the following essential subjects into your training course:

  • Technical instruction on:
    • Mechanical systems
    • Electrical systems
    • HVAC systems
    • Plumbing systems
    • Welding and fabrication
  • Preventative Maintenance training including:
    • Routine inspections
    • Regularly scheduled maintenance
    • Performance monitoring
  • Troubleshooting and repair including:
  • Safety protocols including:
    • Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures
    • Use and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Hazard recognition and mitigation
  • Compliance responsibilities including:
    • Local, state, and federal regulations
    • Environmental and safety standards
    • Industry-specific compliance requirements

Maintenance technician career paths

Maintenance technician training is an ongoing process. Qualified maintenance personnel may have numerous opportunities for skill development and career advancement both within their organizations and in their broader industries. Maintenance technicians may be able to participate in continuing education, gain hands-on experience, or pursue specialized certifications to seize career growth opportunities. 

Common advancement opportunities for qualified maintenance technicians may include: 

  • Maintenance supervisors, who will typically manage a team of maintenance technicians, coordinate maintenance activities, and ensure compliance with safety and regulatory standards
  • Maintenance managers, who will typically oversee entire maintenance departments, including managing budgets, planning maintenance schedules, and implementing policies and procedures
  • Reliability engineers, who will typically focus on improving the reliability and performance of equipment and systems by analyzing data, identifying trends, and implementing strategies to reduce downtime and increase efficiency
  • Facilities managers, who are typically responsible for the overall maintenance and operation of buildings and facilities including grounds, infrastructure, and equipment
  • Technical trainers, who typically develop training programs, conduct workshops, and provide hands-on instruction both for onboarding and continuing education

Maintenance training and CMMS platform

CMMS software can provide invaluable support in the development and administration of your maintenance technician training program. Leading-edge solutions like Limble can simplify the administration of training materials and streamline your overall management of maintenance training programs by:

  • Centralizing training data and documentation
  • Automating training schedules and tracking
  • Integrating advanced performance and skills assessments
  • Managing certification records, expiration dates, and alerts
  • Tracking training program task assignments
  • Generating detailed reports on training completion rates and assessment scores
  • Managing documentation and tracking certification status
  • Ensuring compliance with industry best practices, safety standards, and regulatory conditions

To find out how else a top CMMS solution can enhance your maintenance training program and drive improvements for your operation as a whole, download our Free CMMS Buyer’s Guide today!

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