Building Maintenance Technician: Associate Degree & Online Training Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate degree in building maintenance technology? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and building maintenance technology programs.
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Studying Building Maintenance Technology: Programs at a Glance

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general maintenance and repair workers don't need more than a high school diploma to get started in the field. An associate degree in building maintenance technology or facilities maintenance is for individuals who'd like to expand their knowledge of a building's operating systems and learn basic maintenance tasks. Online courses and certificate programs can give workers specialized training in various maintenance areas, such as facilities and building maintenance.

Maintenance technicians inspect, troubleshoot and repair electrical, plumbing, mechanical and air-conditioning systems for places such as apartment complexes, churches, hospitals, college campuses and hotels. Other duties may include unclogging drains, painting walls, repairing roofs and installing carpets. Building maintenance technicians may begin their careers by shadowing experienced maintenance workers before working independently. From 2010-2020, employment for general maintenance and repair workers was estimated to grow by 11%, according to the BLS. This increase may be attributed to the number of maintenance retirees.

Associate Online Training
Who is this degree for? Individuals with or without prior maintenance experience interested in increasing their knowledge of the field Individuals with maintenance experience who want to develop specialized skills
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - General maintenance and repair worker ($37,000)*
- Heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer ($46,000)*
Career paths for online training can be similar to those of the associate degree, although there might be more advancement opportunities for candidates with this training
Time to Completion 1-2 years full-time Varies by program
Common Graduation Requirements None beyond the associate degree required coursework Varies by program
Prerequisites None None
Online Availability Not at this time Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate in Building Maintenance Technology

Graduates from these programs receive a comprehensive education in the basic skills needed to repair and troubleshoot the various technical problems involved in building maintenance. You'll learn about all areas of maintenance, including electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, heating and mechanical systems. Some programs differentiate maintenance for residential and commercial facilities, while other curriculums address the systems generally. Given the scope of a building maintenance worker's job duties, some programs also offer instruction on repairing washers and dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers. Due to the complexity of some topics like electrical and air-conditioning controls, basic and advanced courses may be available within the program.

Pros and Cons


  • A degree may set you apart from other candidates with minimal education
  • Individuals still rely on building maintenance workers rather than purchasing new equipment
  • You'll gain formal education in areas that may not otherwise be available through on-the-job training, such as welding, drafting and first aid


  • Most building maintenance positions only require a high school diploma or on-the-job training
  • Related careers, such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians are trained through apprenticeships, which would make training in a degree program unnecessary *Employment of general maintenance and repair workers may fluctuate with the real estate market*
  • Buildings with automated problem detection systems may decrease the need for workers to inspect electrical or mechanical equipment

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

Aside from core technical classes, you'll also complete classes in math and English. Specialty classes may address blueprint reading, construction estimates, dishwasher maintenance and drafting. Some programs may explore maintenance in 'green' and sustainable buildings. In order to solve basic math equations that arise in making repairs, many programs include basic algebra and geometry classes. You can expect a physical science class to learn about basic energy and power as it relates to industrial systems. Common courses in these programs may include:

  • Gas heating
  • Electricity for HVAC
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Plumbing maintenance
  • Business communication

Online Degree Options

Associate degree programs in building maintenance technology aren't available online. You would need to complete your studies through a campus-based program. Your related options for distance learning in this field include building maintenance and management certificate programs. While not abundant, some schools have these programs, which cover some of the same content as associate degree programs.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Given the existence of digital programmable thermostats, you could set yourself apart by improving your computer skills. Building maintenance associate degree programs typically include 1-2 classes on basic computer applications or technology as it relates to digital electronics. The BLS notes that maintenance workers should know how to operate a central computer system due to many buildings relying on computers to control their mechanical systems.

Another way building maintenance workers can stand out is by obtaining voluntary certification, which may allow you to advance in your career, as well as demonstrate expertise in the field. The Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional credential can be earned through the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals after completing an application, paying the appropriate fee and passing an exam. There aren't any educational requirements for this certification.

Online Training Programs in Building Maintenance

Online training options in maintenance are available at academic institutions across the country. These programs are primarily designed for professionals with experience in the field, such as building managers, maintenance technicians and facilities supervisors. Students can learn basic skills in building maintenance areas, or build on their previous training.

Pros and Cons


  • Specialized training may help you stand out
  • A variety of online training options are available in this field
  • You will not be required to complete general education courses


  • You may be competing for positions against applicants with only a high school diploma and experience
  • Employment of general maintenance and repair workers may be directly impacted by fluctuations in the real estate industry*
  • The cost of completing online training may not result in an increase in salary or hourly wage

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

Your courses will primarily focus on building maintenance areas. The online program may be divided into modules or courses. Common course topics in these programs may include:

  • Safety
  • Basic electricity
  • Carpentry
  • Building systems maintenance
  • Maintenance management

Online Programs

Community colleges, universities, technical institutes and other academic institutions offer courses and certificates in building maintenance online. You may take your courses individually or complete a whole certificate program. These online programs are generally geared towards maintenance workers and other professionals who deal with the maintenance of a building, such as facilities managers. The course content is offered 100% online, which includes any exams or coursework required to complete the program.

Getting Ahead with This Training

The BLS notes that general maintenance and repair workers can demonstrate their training in the field through voluntary certification. Certification options, such as the Systems Maintenance Technician designation from BOMI International or Certified Facility Manager credential from the International Facility Management Association, can help illustrate proficiency. Requirements for these certifications can vary by organization, but generally include passing a test or exam to demonstrate skill.

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