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Career and Education Opportunities for Highway Maintenance Workers in Bakersfield, California

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for highway maintenance workers in the Bakersfield, California area. Currently, 3,800 people work as highway maintenance workers in California. This is expected to grow by 21% to 4,600 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for highway maintenance workers, which sees this job pool growing by about 8.5% over the next eight years. In general, highway maintenance workers maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way.

Highway maintenance workers earn about $23 per hour or $48,370 per year on average in California and about $16 per hour or $34,000 annually on average nationally. Earnings for highway maintenance workers are better than earnings in the general category of Paving in California and not quite as good as general Paving category earnings nationally.

There are eight schools of higher education in the Bakersfield area, including one within twenty-five miles of Bakersfield where you can get a degree to start your career as a highway maintenance worker. Highway maintenance workers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a highway maintenance worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Highway Maintenance Worker

Highway Maintenance Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, highway maintenance workers maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. They also duties include patching broken or eroded pavement, repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences.

Highway maintenance workers set out signs and cones around work areas to divert traffic. They also flag motorists to warn them of obstacles or repair work ahead. Equally important, highway maintenance workers have to drive trucks to transport crews and apparatus to work sites. They are often called upon to clean and clear refuse from culverts and other drain structures. They are expected to drive trucks or tractors with adjustable attachments to sweep refuse from paved surfaces, mow grass and weeds, and remove snow and ice. Finally, highway maintenance workers perform roadside landscaping work, such as clearing weeds and brush, and planting and trimming trees.

Every day, highway maintenance workers are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. It is also important that they maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements.

It is important for highway maintenance workers to inspect and repair drainage systems and other structures. They are often called upon to position and remove snow fences used to inhibit the accumulation of drifting snow on highways. They also apply poisons along roadsides and in animal burrows to remove unwanted roadside vegetation and rodents. They are sometimes expected to apply oil to road surfaces, using sprayers. Somewhat less frequently, highway maintenance workers are also expected to inspect markers to confirm accurate installation.

They also have to be able to measure and mark locations for placement of markers, using tape, string, or chalk and blend compounds to fashion adhesive mixtures used for marker installation. And finally, they sometimes have to paint traffic control lines and position pavement traffic messages, by hand or using machines.

Like many other jobs, highway maintenance workers must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Bakersfield include:

  • Black Top Paver Operator. Operate equipment used for applying concrete, asphalt, or other materials to road beds, parking lots, or airport runways and taxiways, or equipment used for tamping gravel, dirt, or other materials. Includes concrete and asphalt paving machine operators, form tampers, tamping machine operators, and stone spreader operators.
  • Track Layer. Lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. Includes ballast cleaning machine operators and road bed tamping machine operators.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Highway Maintenance Worker Training

Bakersfield College - Bakersfield, CA

Bakersfield College, 1801 Panorama Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93305-1299. Bakersfield College is a large college located in Bakersfield, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,028 students. Bakersfield College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation.

CERTIFICATIONS

Crane Operator Certification: NCCER and NACB have collaborated to develop the Crane Operator Certification Program.

For more information, see the National Center for Construction Education and Research website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Asphalt: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged specifically in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Concrete: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Soils: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Construction: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in the inspection (monitoring) of highway construction projects.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Maintenance: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in the inspection/supervision of street and highway maintenance activities.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Materials: This certification program is for highway engineering technicians involved in laboratory and field testing of highway materials such as aggregates, asphalts, concrete, soils, paints, and metals.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Surveys: This certification program is for engineering technicians involved in field and/or office aspects of highway surveying.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Traffic Operations: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in traffic studies and traffic control.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway System Maintenance and Preservation: This certification is designed for engineering technicians who perform and inspect highway system maintenance and preservation work; the program is applicable to both private and public sector technicians.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield, California photo by Bobak

Bakersfield is situated in Kern County, California. It has a population of over 321,078, which has grown by 30.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bakersfield, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Bakersfield are valued at $191,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,038 new homes were built in Bakersfield, down from 1,820 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Bakersfield are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 19.3% of Bakersfield residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Bakersfield is 10.1%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Bakersfield residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Cornerstone Community Church, Coronado Gardens Missionary Baptist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are some of the churches located in Bakersfield. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Bakersfield is home to the Mesa Marin Raceway and the Avenue Oaks Country Club as well as Beale Park and Kern County Fairgrounds. Shopping centers in the area include Sagebrush Shopping Center, White Lane Plaza Shopping Center and Benton Park Shopping Center. Visitors to Bakersfield can choose from Best Western Heritage Inn, Best Western Hill House and America's Best Inn Bakersfield for temporary stays in the area.