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Restoration Technician Career Guide

Do you love working with your hands and with tools? Do you enjoy helping people in need? If so, a job as a restoration technician may be an excellent fit for you. 

Restoration technicians are among the first people to provide support to victims of fires, floods, and other disasters by helping them restore their homes and property so they can start getting their lives back to normal. Restoration technicians help assess what property and belongings can be saved and begin the process of water and debris cleanup. 

The job of a restoration technician takes communication skills, empathy, and physical stamina to do the on-site work required. 

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced restoration technician. We’re looking for a highly empathetic person with great communication skills and physical stamina, in addition to skills with various tools. After a fire, flood, or another disaster, a structure will be in need of some serious TLC to get it back into shape. Restoration technicians help the victims of disasters, natural and man-made, repair the damage and clean up the mess. They also deal with sewer backflow and issues with mold, cleaning up rugs and furniture, and other tasks that help get a home or building ready to be occupied once again. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Provide restoration services for structures damaged by fire, mold, water, and weather
  • Perform water extraction, carpet/floor drying and cleaning, mold and mildew remediation, deodorization/decontamination, and demolition and debris removal
  • Clean and store savable belongings and property
  • Demolish or remove damaged plumbing, framing, drywall, and related materials

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or equivalent, preferably with courses in ecology, biology, and chemistry. Employers often prefer candidates with an associate degree and certification in inspection, cleaning, and restoration.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Expertise with hand tools
  • Robust communication and listening skills
  • Physical fitness and stamina for cleanup work 
  • Comfort with fieldwork 

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience working in all types of weather and environment
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Strong and in good shape

Typical work environment

Due to the nature of what a restoration technician does, every day will bring a new location. Restoration technicians work in homes and buildings that have been damaged by fire, water, mold, or weather. They extract water, clean and dry carpet, repair structures that have been damaged by mold, decontaminate and deodorize a space, remove debris, and demolish parts of the structure that cannot be repaired. As such, a restoration technician spends a good portion of the day doing physical labor. They also spend time driving to the location where they’re working. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a restoration technician are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, typically in the field.  

Available certifications

Wherever there are buildings, there is a need for restoration, so there are a number of certification programs to train restoration technicians in the various areas of expertise needed to work in the field. 

  • Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT). This three or four-day course provides candidates with a basic background in water damage and restoration, teaching extraction, containment, and mold procedures needed in the field. The course is meant for technicians in both residential and commercial operations.
  • Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT). This course covers the basics of mitigation, scoping, cleaning, deodorization, subrogation, spoliation, and documentation of structures damaged by smoke and fire. After completion of this course, the candidate will be prepared to restore typically damaged homes and buildings. 
  • Water Loss Specialist (WLS). The WLC certification is an advanced certification taken after several years of experience in the field. The three-day course will teach you how to handle more specialized cases.

Career path

The path to becoming a restoration technician typically starts with earning a high school diploma or GED. Restoration technicians can also earn certification in inspection cleaning and restoration to help further their careers. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 49-9071

2020 Employment1,444,100
Projected Employment in 20301,561,100
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 8% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift117,000 increase

With ongoing climate change and natural disasters typically affecting communities more and more, the need for restoration technicians should remain strong.