Career Development

What Does a Utility Worker Do?

Find out what a utility worker does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a utility worker.

Utility workers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of water, gas, electricity, sewage, and other public utilities. They commonly work with heavy equipment and spend their days digging trenches, laying pipe, and installing new connections to homes and businesses.

Utility workers often have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders—they’re tasked with keeping the lights on, ensuring clean water flows from the tap, etc. This means they must be able to follow detailed instructions, read maps, and use technology such as computers or smartphones to track down information about customer requests or service issues.

Utility Worker Job Duties

Utility workers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Operating a forklift to move materials or equipment, such as lumber, pipes, and boxes of materials, from one location to another
  • Performing basic maintenance tasks such as cleaning equipment or replacing light bulbs, fuses, or filters
  • Inspecting electrical equipment such as motors, transformers, switches, circuit breakers, and fuses for defects and damage
  • Performing basic plumbing tasks such as replacing faucets, fixing leaks, and repairing toilets
  • Installing, repairing, and maintaining equipment in homes or businesses such as air conditioning systems, furnaces, water heaters, and cable television equipment
  • Maintaining a clean work environment by sweeping floors, cleaning walls, vacuuming carpet, removing trash, and performing other janitorial functions
  • Cleaning facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms, cafeterias, and meeting rooms in businesses, schools, hospitals, or other organizations
  • Repairing broken equipment such as stoves, boilers, heating systems, and plumbing systems
  • Performing routine maintenance on vehicles and equipment such as checking oil levels, changing filters, and rotating tires

Utility Worker Salary & Outlook

Utility workers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $49,500 ($23.8/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $105,000 ($50.48/hour)

The employment of utility workers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be limited by the increasing automation of some tasks, such as the installation and repair of utility lines and equipment. However, utility workers will still be needed to maintain and repair these automated systems.

Related: Utility Worker Interview Questions and Answers

Utility Worker Job Requirements

A utility worker typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Utility workers are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some utility companies may require their workers to have a post-secondary certificate in a field such as plumbing or electrical repair.

Training & Experience: Utility workers typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced workers. This training helps utility workers learn the specific procedures and safety standards for their role. Training may include how to operate equipment, how to perform specific tasks and how to handle waste and other materials.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Utility Worker Skills

Utility workers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable manner. This is important in the workplace because it allows you to work with your coworkers and supervisors to complete tasks. It also allows you to ask questions and understand directions.

Technical skills: Utility workers use a variety of tools and equipment to complete their work. They should have a basic understanding of electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems to be able to operate and maintain these systems. They should also have basic computer skills to be able to use software programs for tracking and reporting work.

Problem-solving skills: Utility workers often work in teams and may need to solve problems together. Having strong problem-solving skills can help you work with your team to find solutions to challenges. You can also use problem-solving skills to identify and fix issues with equipment or processes.

Organizational skills: Utility workers often perform a variety of tasks throughout the day, so having strong organizational skills can help you stay on task and complete your work efficiently. You may also be required to keep records of your work, so having good organizational skills can help you keep track of important documents and data.

Customer service: Customer service involves the ability to interact with customers in a friendly and helpful manner. Utility workers often work directly with customers, so having strong customer service skills can help you in your career. You can use your customer service skills to help customers understand utility billing, read meters and make payments.

Utility Worker Work Environment

Utility workers are employed in a variety of settings, including power plants, water treatment facilities, and gas and oil pipelines. They typically work full time, and some positions may require shift work, overtime, and on-call duty. Utility workers are exposed to a variety of conditions, including loud noise, extreme temperatures, and hazardous materials. They may work outdoors in all weather conditions and may be required to climb, crawl, and lift heavy objects. Some utility workers are exposed to radiation.

Utility Worker Trends

Here are three trends influencing how utility workers work. Utility workers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of the Gig Economy

The gig economy is growing rapidly, as more and more people are turning to freelance work as a way to make ends meet. This trend is having a major impact on the utility industry, as many utility workers are now finding work through online platforms.

Utility workers who are able to adapt to this new economy will be in high demand, as they will be able to provide services to a wide range of customers. Additionally, those who are able to develop strong relationships with clients will be better positioned to secure long-term contracts.

More Focus on Energy Efficiency

As energy costs continue to rise, utilities are placing a greater focus on energy efficiency. This means that utility workers will need to have expertise in areas such as heating, cooling, and lighting.

By understanding how to improve the efficiency of these systems, utility workers can help their company save money while also providing a better customer experience. In addition, they may also be responsible for installing new systems or products that help to reduce energy use.

Greater Use of Technology

The use of technology in the utility industry is increasing at a rapid pace. This is due to the fact that technology allows utility workers to do their jobs more efficiently and safely.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the industry, utility workers will need to learn how to use it effectively. This includes learning how to use software programs, install equipment, and manage data.

How to Become a Utility Worker

A career as a utility worker can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to start by learning about the different types of jobs that are available in this field. You may want to consider becoming an electrician, plumber, or HVAC technician. These jobs offer great opportunities for growth and can lead to management positions.

You should also consider attending trade school to get certified in your chosen field. This will give you additional skills and make you more marketable to employers. Additionally, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques used in your industry. This will help you provide better service to customers and increase your chances of promotion.

Advancement Prospects

Utility workers who start out in entry-level jobs can advance to positions of greater responsibility with more pay. Some of the common job titles people move up to as they advance in their career include water treatment plant operator, water distribution supervisor, wastewater treatment plant operator, and wastewater treatment supervisor. In order to advance, utility workers need to have the proper training and education, which they can obtain through on-the-job training, vocational schools, and community colleges.

Utility Worker Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are the leading provider of water, electricity, and gas in the area. We are looking for a qualified utility worker to join our team and help us maintain this essential service for the community. As a utility worker, you will be responsible for reading meters, repairing and replacing service lines, and responding to customer inquiries. You must be able to work independently and be available for on-call shifts. A valid driver’s license is required.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Perform a variety of general labor tasks associated with the construction, maintenance, and repair of water and sewer lines
  • Assist in the installation of new water and sewer lines, taps, and meters
  • Repair leaks in water and sewer lines, using hand tools, power tools, and machines
  • Dig trenches to lay pipe for new water and sewer lines
  • Backfill trenches after pipes have been installed
  • Operate jackhammers and other equipment to break up old concrete or asphalt so it can be removed
  • Remove debris from work sites
  • Load and unload materials and equipment
  • Perform general cleaning tasks as needed
  • Follow all safety guidelines and procedures
  • Report any problems or concerns to a supervisor
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license with clean driving record
  • Ability to lift 50+ pounds
  • Basic math skills
  • Familiarity with hand and power tools
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Previous utility or construction experience
  • Experience working with underground utilities
  • CDL license
  • OSHA 10-hour certification
  • First Aid/CPR certification


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