Field Service Representatives
Field service representatives work with electronic meters and allied equipment that measure the amount of gas, electricity, or water consumption of customers. They install and maintain the equipment. They turn meters on and off. They also rebuild, remove, inspect, clean, repair, adjust, or change meters and other regulators. They trace and tag house lines and replace dial glasses. If commercial or residential problems arise, they may be called upon to investigate the situation or verify the accuracy of meters. They talk with customers and recommend changes to their house wiring or service lines.
Field service representatives sometimes shut off service to particular buildings and then communicate with a repair crew regarding the exact repairs needed. When emergency repairs are needed, they may perform these themselves. Some collect money from customers whose accounts are delinquent. Others are notified of possible illegal service tapping and investigate the complaint. They usually work alone and often in hot or cold weather. They follow detailed safety codes, but may expose themselves to some physical risk because of their proximity to high voltage wires or gas leaks.
Field service representatives should have excellent social skills because they need to be able to interact in a courteous manner with customers. They are also the main public relations representatives of their employer. They should be in good physical condition and have excellent manual dexterity.
Field service representatives typically earn between $11 and $18 per hour. Pay scales depend largely on the type of employer. Journey-level pay is usually between $15 and $23 per hour. Representatives usually work a typical 40-hour work week, and they may work overtime during the middle of winter and the middle of summer. Benefits may include sick leave, paid vacation, retirement plans, and insurance.
Training and Education
Employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants who studied electrical theory, hand tool usage, algebra, and mechanical drawing in high school often have an advantage. Most employers offer a mix of on-the-job and classroom training under the supervision of journey-level workers. Trainees learn electronics technology and the installation and repair of meters with built-in microcomputer chips. Applicants who are bilingual are in great demand. Those who show great talent in their jobs may advance to supervisor, meter technicians, or meter installers. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.
The employment growth for field service representatives is expected to be much slower than the average. This is due to high wages and relative stability of these jobs, making them very desirable. Most utility companies have waiting lists for positions. Most job openings will result from workers who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.