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A maintenance foreman is charged with the task of overseeing employees and doing desk work such as making schedules, reading over plans and operations, checking blueprints and scheduling inspections. Some maintenance supervisors may work alongside other maintenance employees, but that depends on the needs of the company. To become a maintenance foreman, having a college degree in business or classes that emphasize blueprint reading and other business tasks will come in handy, but experience is the primary asset needed. Most foremen start from the bottom and work their way up over the course of several years.
A person wanting to become a maintenance foreman will usually find there are no higher education requirements for the post, though some companies may require — or would prefer — to have a foreman who has at least some college, if not a college degree. There is no degree specifically designed for those wanting to become a supervisor, but it will help to concentrate on business classes and classes that teach students how to organize a project, read blueprints and carry out the leadership duties of a foreman. Vocational schools will also provide experience in maintenance work, which can help a person become a maintenance foreman quicker.
Knowing how to use a computer is a must to become a maintenance foreman in the early 21st century, because the foreman is in charge of more than just overseeing employees. The maintenance foreman will typically have to schedule employees and projects and will have to look over databases for information about the project. Many of the necessary computer skills will be taught to a worker during the course of the job, but being familiar with computers in general will boost a person's chances of getting the foreman promotion.
Some companies will need a foreman for more than just oversight and office work. The company may need someone to also work on a project directly, just as the other workers do. To this end, it is important to be familiar with all the tools used on the maintenance site and how fix a variety of problems. This makes a person more useful as a worker, shows he is familiar with all the duties of the hands-on portion of the job, and that he can be trusted as a foreman.
Before a person tries to become a maintenance foreman, he usually starts as a regular maintenance worker. He starts at the bottom, gains experience, and shows he has the acumen and responsibility to run the operation. Instead of just getting the job done and hoping to be noticed in the process, a person can ask higher-ups about possible promotions, what it would take for him to get a maintenance foreman position, and if they can teach him anything about the office portion of the job that he may not know.