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Appliance Service Worker

Appliance Service Worker

Education and Training: High school plus training

Salary: Median—$32,180 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Appliance service workers fix and sometimes install the wide variety of gas and electric appliances used in the home. They work on large appliances like refrigerators and freezers, as well as on small appliances such as toasters, blenders, and irons. Some service workers specialize in either gas or electric appliances. Others work on one particular group of appliances, such as clothes washers and dryers.

Field workers usually travel to a customer's home to repair large appliances. Bench workers repair appliances that are brought into an appliance repair shop. These shops may be independent repair shops or they may be part of an appliance or department store. Appliance manufacturers, wholesalers, and gas and electric companies sometimes have repair services and shops as well.

When they are called on to fix an appliance, service workers ask the customer about the problem. The customer may want an estimate on how much the repair will cost. Service workers try to find the problem by operating the appliance. They use special equipment, such as voltmeters, to check the power source and the electrical connections. They take the appliance apart and replace worn or broken parts or make adjustments. They use basic hand tools, such as pliers and wrenches. At times they use special tools designed for particular appliances. When appliance service workers install a new appliance, they often teach the customer how to use and care for it.

Education and Training Requirements

Employers usually prefer to hire high school graduates. Courses in mathematics, electronics, physics, mechanics, and shop are helpful. Some vocational high schools offer training in the repair of appliances. Interested candidates can also take a formal course in a technical school or two-year college. Another option is to take correspondence courses in such subjects as electronics, machinery, and motors. Most service workers, however, receive on-the-job training. This training can take up to three years. Appliance distributors, repair shops, or department stores can train interested workers in this field. Trainees usually start as helpers and learn from experienced workers. Trainees may also receive some formal classroom instruction. Some organizations offer certification as an appliance repairer, which can increase a worker's qualifications.

Getting the Job

Prospective appliance service workers can apply directly to repair shops, to appliance dealers and manufacturers, and to gas and electric companies for a job. They can also answer newspaper classifieds and search job banks on the Internet. Vocational or trade schools may be helpful in locating jobs. Candidates may also want to register with a state or private employment agency.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Appliance service workers can become supervisors or managers in repair shops. With some extra training they can become parts managers or dispatchers in large firms. Some experienced workers become teachers in vocational schools or teach other workers how to fix new models of appliances. A few become sales-people or technical writers of service manuals. Appliance service workers can also go into business for themselves if they have enough capital.

The demand for appliance service workers is expected to increase slower than the average through the year 2014. Many job openings will still be created to replace workers who leave the field. The increase in the purchase of household appliances will result in additional jobs becoming available. However, more of the new and improved appliances that appear on the market contain electronic parts, which reduce the frequency of repairs.

Working Conditions

Bench workers generally work in shops that are quiet and well lighted. Field workers work in customers' homes, so their working conditions vary. Field workers often have to work in uncomfortable positions when they repair large appliances that are hard to move. They may have to lift heavy appliances. They must also be able to handle the questions and complaints of customers. Field workers often spend a large part of their workday driving. Both field workers and bench workers usually work without direct supervision.

Appliance service workers handle small tools and parts. They must have mechanical ability and work well with their hands. There is some danger of injury when they work with appliances. Appliance service workers often work more than forty hours a week, but they receive extra pay for overtime.

Where to Go for More Information

Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
1111 19th St. NW, Ste. 402
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 872-5955

National Appliance Service Association
P.O. Box 2514
Kokomo, IN 46904
(765) 453-1820

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings vary depending on skill, location, the type of employer, and the kind of appliances serviced. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers earn a median salary of $32,180 per year in this field. Employers generally provide benefits that include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and pension plans. Self-employed appliance service workers provide their own benefits.

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