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Restoration Technician Career Guide

What is a restoration technician?

A restoration technician is a professional entrusted with repairing, cleaning, and restoring homes or commercial properties that have faced physical damage, typically caused by natural disasters or accidents, such as fire or floods. These professionals work to return the affected buildings and structures to their original condition.

The role is crucial to both business continuity and personal welfare after emergencies. In a commercial context, quick and effective restoration allows businesses to recover and continue operations, thus minimizing the financial setback caused by the damages. For homeowners, the restoration work helps them regain the comfort and security of their homes rapidly and efficiently.

Duties and responsibilities

A restoration technician is responsible for assessing the extent and type of damage to a property and creating an effective plan to repair it. They execute the necessary repairs, which may include the cleanup of water, mold, fire, or smoke damage, drying out areas, sanitizing spaces, and conducting necessary demolition and structural repairs.

These technicians often coordinate with property owners, insurance adjusters, and other professionals in related fields. They also document progress and maintain detailed records on all actions taken and materials used throughout the restoration process.

Work environment

Restoration technicians typically work in environments with some form of damage. This could be in commercial buildings after a fire or homes that have suffered water damage due to flooding. Their work may require being in crowded, dirty, or damp areas, entering structures with unstable components, and handling hazardous materials with appropriate safety precautions.

Due to the nature of the disasters they deal with, they may also need to work outdoors, sometimes in unfavorable weather conditions. The work environment is often fast-paced, with a high expectation to complete tasks efficiently to mitigate further damage and assist in swift property recovery.

Typical work hours

Restoration technicians generally work full-time, but their job is far from a regular 9-to-5 position. Natural disasters and accidents don’t comply with standard working hours, so these professionals are often on call 24/7 to respond to emergencies as quickly as possible.

During large-scale restoration projects, technicians may need to work long hours, including weekends, to expedite the recovery process. The work hours can be physically demanding, adding another challenge to this profession.

How to become a restoration technician

This career guide section outlines how to become a restoration technician. Primary steps include completing your high school education, gaining relevant technical training and certifications, and building practical experience in the field.

Step 1: Complete high school education

Starting with a solid foundation in high school is the first step toward becoming a restoration technician. Those interested in this profession should focus on science, math, and manual arts during their secondary schooling. A high school diploma is a minimum educational requirement for most entry-level positions in this field.

Step 2: Obtain relevant technical training

Many obtain technical training through vocational schools or community colleges. Programs related to building construction, engineering, and related fields are beneficial. These programs often include hands-on training, allowing students to gain practical skills needed for success in this career.

Step 3: Gain relevant certifications

Certain certifications can significantly enhance one’s prospects. Certifications such as the Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT) certification or the Applied Structural Drying (ASD) certification offered by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) can provide a competitive edge in the job market.

Step 4: Secure an internship or entry-level job

Practical experience is a significant factor in becoming a restoration technician. Internships or entry-level jobs provide the chance to learn hands-on while being guided by experienced professionals. This step helps to improve technical knowledge, project management skills, and familiarity with industry best practices.

Step 5: Continue professional development

The restoration industry continually evolves with new techniques, materials, and technologies. Aspiring technicians should be committed to ongoing learning and professional development. This may involve attending industry seminars, achieving advanced certifications, or opting for relevant continuing education programs.

Step 6: Apply for positions as a restoration technician

Once you’ve gained enough experience, certifications, and continued professional development, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Craft a persuasive resume that emphasizes your relevant training and practical experience. Grow your network by attending industry events and connecting with professionals in the field for potential job leads.

How much do restoration technicians make?

Restoration technician salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. The scale of the disaster and the type of restoration job can influence their financial outcomes, as larger-scale disaster recoveries typically yield more income.

Highest paying industries

  • Fire & Water Damage Restoration – $56,000
  • Insurance Carriers – $55,500
  • Building Equipment Contractors – $54,600
  • Residential Building Construction – $53,400
  • Specialty Trade Contractors – $52,200

Highest paying states

  • Hawaii – $70,120
  • Massachusetts – $67,890
  • Washington – $67,370
  • Connecticut – $66,650
  • New Jersey – $59,320

Browse restoration technician salary data by market

Types of restoration technicians

This career guide section highlights the various career types and areas of specialization for restoration technicians. Below, we explore the unique attributes and responsibilities of each job title.

Water damage restoration technician

Professionals in this line of work specialize in repairs within buildings affected by water damage. They rid spaces of mold, replace damaged materials like drywall, and restore the site to its original condition. This occupation requires thorough knowledge of water clean-up techniques and mold remediation.

Fire damage restoration technician

Fire damage restoration technicians are tasked with cleaning up and restoring locations affected by fire. This role requires knowledge of soot and smoke clean-up, deodorizing methods, and reconstructive carpentry work to restore the property to its pre-fire condition.

Historic restoration technician

These technicians focus on preserving and restoring historic buildings and artifacts. In addition to the necessary skills in general restoration, these professionals must understand historical techniques and materials to ensure authenticity in structural and aesthetic repairs.

Carpet restoration technician

Occupying this role, professionals specialize in caring for and restoring carpets damaged by water, fire, mold, or general wear. They deeply understand carpet cleaning techniques, fiber types, and the restoration process of various forms of carpet damage.

Biohazard cleanup technician

Critical situations involving biohazards, such as crime scenes or areas affected by harmful substances, are handled by biohazard cleanup technicians. This job requires proficiency in biohazard remediation, the use of personal protective equipment, and strict adherence to biohazard compliance standards.

Top skills for restoration technicians

This section outlines the primary skills and traits needed for career success as a restoration technician. It captures an array of foundational knowledge and expertise needed to excel and make a significant positive impact in this role.

Technical knowledge and skills

An in-depth understanding of restoration machinery and tools is invaluable. Familiarity with cleaning and repair techniques and proficiency in executing procedures like moisture therapy, smoke odor elimination, and stain removal is vital for success in this profession.

Communication and interpersonal skills

Technicians constantly interact with clients to understand their requirements and explain the restoration process, making effective communication essential. Strong interpersonal skills aid in building rapport with clients, ensuring satisfaction, and fostering repeat business.

Physical strength and stamina

Due to the physical demands involved in restoration work—which might include lifting heavy equipment, working in cramped spaces, or standing for extended periods—physical strength and stamina are key attributes of a successful restoration technician.

Problem-solving abilities

Dealing with unique and unpredictable scenarios is a common part of the role. Hence, robust problem-solving abilities allow them to make informed decisions quickly and address complications efficiently.

Attention to detail

The ability to spot small inconsistencies or potential problems while conducting restoration tasks is pivotal. Attention to detail enables a technician to perform high-quality, comprehensive work and achieve client satisfaction.


Emergencies don’t adhere to schedules. As such, they must be adaptable and able to work in various environments and under differing conditions, including during nights and weekends and at short notice.

Restoration technician career path

Career progression often starts with gaining experience on the job and attending regular training programs to stay updated on the best practices and industry standards. With time and experience, technicians often get the opportunity to lead teams and manage projects.

After acquiring sufficient experience and skills, a restoration technician may move up to a supervisory role. As a supervisor, they are entrusted with overseeing other technicians, ensuring work quality, and liaising with property owners. This role demands technical proficiency, leadership skills, and the ability to communicate effectively with team members and clients.

Progressing further, technicians may aspire to become project managers. This role involves managing the restoration process from start to finish, including budgeting, scheduling, and coordinating with contractors or other industry professionals. They also serve as the central point of contact for clients and insurance companies throughout each project.

Finally, a highly motivated individual may even consider starting their own restoration business. While this path requires entrepreneurial skills and the willingness to take on business risks, it also offers the freedom to steer one’s own career and the potential for substantial financial rewards.

Disasters like floods, forest fires, and hurricanes are becoming more frequent and intense, dictating a higher demand for crisis-oriented professionals in the restoration field. Technicians need to adapt to these changes, requiring an understanding of up-to-date methods and technologies to restore damaged properties effectively.

The digitization trend has also caught up with this industry. Enhanced technology usage plays a significant role in damage assessment, remediation plans, and comprehensive reporting. The increasing use of software applications, drones, and infrared devices adds a new dimension to the restoration process. Technicians are expected to acquire competency in these advanced tools for efficient job performance.

Employment projections for restoration technicians

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide specific data for restoration technicians. However, it does forecast an employment growth for construction laborers and helpers, which includes restoration technicians, of about 4% through 2031. A key factor contributing to this growth rate is the increase in retrofitting activities to make buildings more energy-efficient or compliant with new laws.

Restoration technician career tips

Stay current with industry technology

Up-to-date knowledge regarding the latest tools and technology is vital for successfully handling restoration projects. From innovative cleaning equipment to new methods of restoring artifacts, understanding the latest trends can enhance work efficiency and success rates. Attending workshops, trade shows, and vocational training sessions can aid in maintaining leading-edge knowledge.

Maintain physical conditioning

This role often involves physically demanding tasks such as lifting heavy objects, operating machinery, and working in challenging environments. Regular physical fitness routines can promote endurance and health, reducing the risk of on-the-job injuries and boosting overall performance.

Build a professional network

Networking with other professionals in the restoration industry can offer opportunities to learn best practices, gain industry insights, and stay connected with peers. This can also lead to potential job opportunities and collaborations. Joining professional associations offers the dual benefit of continuous learning and networking opportunities.

  • Restoration Industry Association (RIA)
  • National Institute of Disaster Restoration (NIDR)
  • National Association of Mold Professionals (NAMP)

Embrace continuous learning

Education doesn’t end with a degree. In today’s fast-paced and evolving restoration industry, it is essential to remain committed to learning. This could involve attending seminars, participating in educational webinars, taking additional professional courses, or earning industry-specific certifications.

  • Certified Restorer Program (CR)
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT)
  • Applied Structural Drying (ASD)

Respect safety guidelines

A major part of a restoration technician’s role involves dealing with hazardous situations. It is imperative to strictly follow all safety measures outlined by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to prevent accidents and ensure a safe working environment. Familiarity with environmental guidelines and regulations related to hazardous substance disposal can also safeguard public and environmental health.

Maintain documentation diligently

Documenting the restoration process from start to finish is a key task. This includes noting the damage, outlining the action plan, recording the restoration process, and calculating the costs. Accurate and well-organized documentation can aid in smooth communication with customers and insurance agencies and serves as a record for future reference.

Where the restoration technician jobs are

Top employers

  • Servpro Industries, Inc.
  • Belfor Property Restoration
  • Rainbow International Restoration
  • Paul Davis Restoration
  • ServiceMaster Restore

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • CareerBuilder


What kind of training does a restoration technician need?

Entry-level restoration technicians often need a high school diploma or GED; however, employers usually provide on-the-job training. This covers topics like water damage, smoke removal, and mold remediation. Additional certifications can be achieved through specific professional organizations, giving them higher standing in their field. These certifications often require ongoing training and re-certification after certain periods.

What are the physical demands of a restoration technician?

The job of a restoration technician can be physically demanding. It may involve a lot of manual labor, including moving heavy equipment and furniture, cleaning, and even demolition work. It’s also possible to work in environments that have not been fully cleaned, like buildings that are affected by fire or mold. This requires wearing protective equipment for extended periods. They may work long hours and be on call for emergencies, needing to respond swiftly.

Do restoration technicians need to have certain personality traits?

Restoration technicians work closely with individuals who may be facing significant distress due to damage to their property. Thus, having strong interpersonal skills, a high level of empathy, and the ability to communicate effectively is beneficial. Patience can also be an asset, as explaining complex restoration processes to clients requires clarity and understanding. Attention to detail and problem-solving skills aid in the technical aspects of the job.

Are there different areas of specialization for a restoration technician?

Yes, a restoration technician can choose to specialize in certain types of restoration. These can include water damage, fire damage, mold remediation, biohazard cleanup, or storm damage. They may also specialize in the restoration of historic buildings. Each specialization requires knowledge of specific cleanup procedures and techniques. They may also need to understand different building materials and construction methods depending on the area of focus.

What is the work environment like for a restoration technician?

Restoration technicians usually work in various settings, as their work is often needed wherever property damage occurs. This can include homes, businesses, and industrial locations. Since they respond to emergencies, work schedules can include nights, weekends, and holidays. They often wear protective equipment to shield themselves from substances like mold, asbestos, or other hazardous materials. Job sites can be messy, damp, or even partially destroyed, depending on the nature of the damage.

What does a typical day look like for a restoration technician?

A typical day for a restoration technician can vary greatly. The first task is often assessing the situation upon arriving at a damaged site. Once an evaluation is performed, they establish a plan of action for restoration. Tasks might include water extraction, drying, removing damaged materials, cleaning, sanitizing and deodorizing affected areas, and repairing damaged structures. They also communicate frequently with clients and insurance companies throughout the restoration process.

What is the most challenging part of being a restoration technician?

The most challenging part of being a restoration technician can often be the emotional toll of the job. They routinely work with clients who have suffered significant property damage, which can be stressful and emotional. They need to demonstrate empathy while maintaining professionalism. The job’s physical demands can also be challenging, as can its unpredictability, given that significant damage often results from unexpected occurrences like storms and accidents.

What is the most rewarding part of being a restoration technician?

Many restoration technicians find great satisfaction in helping individuals and businesses recover after experiencing property damage. Their work can dramatically improve clients’ lives by restoring a sense of normalcy and helping them overcome stressful events. Seeing the results of their work — a home or business restored to its former condition after suffering significant damage — can be highly gratifying.

What types of technologies or tools does a restoration technician use?

Restoration technicians use a variety of tools in their work. These range from commercial-grade water extraction machines and high-speed air movers to dehumidifiers and thermal fogging machines. They also use various cleaning solutions and protective gear. Technology also plays a role in the job; they may use moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other devices to assess the extent of water damage and monitor the drying process. Software or online platforms may also be used for documenting damage and maintaining communication with clients and insurance companies.