California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Highway Maintenance Workers in California

May also be called: Highway Maintainers; Highway Maintenance Crew Workers; Highway Workers; Service Assistants (Maintenance)

What Would I Do?

Highway Maintenance Workers maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. Duties include patching broken or eroded pavement and repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences. They also mow or clear brush from roadsides or plow snow from roadways.

Highway Maintenance Workers work outside, day and night, on various roadways in all weather conditions. The standard workweek is a 40-hour, 5-day period. However, some may work rotating or irregular shifts, including weekends, nights, and overtime. The work requires stamina, agility, and physical strength. Workers wear safety equipment to reduce the risk of injury from working near traffic.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Highway Maintenance Worker may appeal to those who enjoy practical, hands-on activities; working outside with tools and machinery; and working independently.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2017 for Highway Maintenance Workers in California was $50,875 annually, or $24.46 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2017Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefits vary by employer; however, State government employees generally receive medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment in this occupation is highly sensitive to economic cycles. During economic downturns, Workers are subject to layoffs or reductions in hours. However, with an expanding population, more traffic, and funding through legislation, job openings are expected to grow.

How Do I Qualify?

Highway Maintenance Worker is an occupation requiring a limited educational background. Completion of the eighth grade is required, but a high school level education is desired. Safety consciousness is expected.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers or union halls remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings.

Applicants should apply to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and city and county civil service offices. The job may be listed as laborer or Highway Maintenance Worker. If applying to Caltrans, applicants must pass an examination for the position. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Highway Maintenance Workers