What’s A Good Rope Access Technician Salary?Rope Access USA
A question on anyone’s mind who’s considering a career in rope access. The good news is that an experienced rope access technician salary can be up to $500 a day. The bad news is that it takes a lot of hard work, time and studying to get to that level.
There are of course many factors affecting a rope access technician salary, so let’s take a closer look.
For the most part, rope access technicians fit into a three-tiered structure. You start at level one and can work up to level three. The two main training bodies, IRATA and SPRAT, support this structure.
You won’t get a job in rope access until you’ve completed a level one IRATA or SPRAT assessment. While it’s not a legal requirement, in practice there are no reputable rope access companies hiring people without the right certificates.
Training courses can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 which is a significant investment for anyone looking to self-sponsor. But the important word is ‘investment’ because passing one of these courses will unlock potential earnings that will earn your money back in no time.
Rope Access Technician Salary
As a level one rope access technician, you can expect to earn between $20 and $35 per hour.
Level two rope access technician can earn between $35 and $50 per hour, while level three technicians can average $50 and above.
These are averages taken across the US and Canada in 2015-2016. Your ability to negotiate, your certificates, the pay structure of your potential employers and the living costs of your state will affect your salary.
It is a well-worn phrase in the industry that rope access is just a way of getting to the work site. It’s a commute. Once you’re on the end of a rope you have to be able to do something useful – like painting, inspection or maintenance. This means the salary for rope techs, even those on the same level, vary wildly.
The Skills To Pay The Bills
As a window cleaner with level one IRATA or SPRAT, you’re going to get paid less than someone who can X-ray pipes or repair a wind turbine.
Having a desirable skill is a great way to break into the rope access industry. If you’re a qualified engineer or technician a company will hire you and pay for your IRATA assessments in order to get you and your skills into a hard-to-reach place.
In order to get hours logged on rope, a tech with little or no skills is going to grind their way through window cleaning, painting and general maintenance jobs.
Hours Logged On Rope
Your personal log book contains a record of every hour you spend on the ropes. This book becomes an extremely important part of your work history. Like pilots, ‘hours logged’ is a vital factor in your progression. Many companies will request copies of your logbook before considering hiring you. It’s vitally important, that you maintain your logbook. Update it regularly, have it signed by a supervisor/level 3. Include the important details of the work, any risks or dangers faced and action taken to mitigate them.
To progress to IRATA Level 2 you need at least one year and 1000 hours logged as a level one. To progress to Level 3 you need 1000 hours and one year as a Level 2. This means it is often wise to get hours, any hours, under your belt – even if it’s low-paid unglamorous work.
When you progress to Level 2 your salary will increase accordingly. You may also be the most senior technician actually on the ropes. You’ll be expected to carry out rigging and have the knowledge and ability to perform rescues.
To Level 3 And Beyond
Level three rope access technicians’ main responsibilities are risk assessments, team management, safety advisory and consulting. They spend much less time on the ropes. A salary for a level 3 staff job can be between $50,000 and $100,000. You would be considered a senior employee and entitled to benefits like good medical, 401K and paid holidays.
L3 technicians often find that contracting is most lucrative, so set up as independent self-employed consultants. This means they’re free to pursue contracts when, and where, it suits them.
When an industrial facility, like a refinery or factory, shuts down for maintenance they’re losing massive sums of money. They will pay $1000s of dollars a week to someone who can get them back online quickly and safely. A Level Three will oversee rope access crews on a short-term contract for huge sums of money.
It’s not unknown for L3s to work 6 months and spend the rest of the year as they please.
The prospects for rope access technicians remain very strong, especially in North America. Industries like wind energy are growing rapidly and generating huge demand for engineers & technicians qualified in rope access. We have 131 rope access companies listed in our directory. You’ll progress quickly to a good rope access technician salary if you’re motivated and hard-working.
There’s no easy ascent in rope access but it rewards team-players who work safely. If you have the ambition and right attitude, you can go as far as you want.
Good luck and keep those back-ups high!