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Career profile Drain Technician

Also known as Drain Cleaner, Drain Technician, Public Works Technician, Septic Cleaner, Septic Pump Truck Driver, Septic Tank Service Technician, Service Technician, Sewer Bricklayer

Drain Technician

Also known as Drain Cleaner, Drain Technician, Public Works Technician

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$27,530 - $63,620 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operation and Control
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Transportation
  • Mechanical
Core tasks
  • Drive trucks to transport crews, materials, and equipment.
  • Communicate with supervisors and other workers, using equipment such as wireless phones, pagers, or radio telephones.
  • Inspect manholes to locate sewer line stoppages.
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What does a Drain Technician do?

Drain Technicians clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or drains.

In addition, Drain Technicians may patch walls and partitions of tank, replace damaged drain tile, or repair breaks in underground piping.

What kind of tasks does a Drain Technician perform regularly?

Drain Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Drive trucks to transport crews, materials, and equipment.
  • Communicate with supervisors and other workers, using equipment such as wireless phones, pagers, or radio telephones.
  • Inspect manholes to locate sewer line stoppages.
  • Operate sewer cleaning equipment, including power rodders, high-velocity water jets, sewer flushers, bucket machines, wayne balls, and vac-alls.
  • Prepare and keep records of actions taken, including maintenance and repair work.
  • Clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or related structures such as manholes, culverts, and catch basins.
  • Measure excavation sites, using plumbers' snakes, tapelines, or lengths of cutting heads within sewers, and mark areas for digging.
  • Service, adjust, and make minor repairs to equipment, machines, and attachments.
  • Locate problems, using specially designed equipment, and mark where digging must occur to reach damaged tanks or pipes.
  • Dig out sewer lines manually, using shovels.

The above responsibilities are specific to Drain Technicians. More generally, Drain Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

What is a Drain Technician salary?

The median salary for a Drain Technician is $41,120, and the average salary is $43,930. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Drain Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Drain Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Drain Technicians earn less than $27,530 per year, 25% earn less than $33,520, 75% earn less than $51,850, and 90% earn less than $63,620.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Drain Technicians is expected to change by 14.5%, and there should be roughly 4,200 open positions for Drain Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$27,530 - $63,620
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Drain Technicians?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Drain Technician are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Drain Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Drain Technician tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Drain Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Drain Technicians moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Drain Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Drain Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Drain Technicians, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Drain Technicians need?

Working as a Drain Technician may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Drain Technicians need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Educational degrees among Drain Technicians

  • 22.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 47.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 18.5% completed some college coursework
  • 5.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 6.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Drain Technicians

Drain Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, transportation, or mechanical knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Drain Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Drain Technicians

Drain Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Drain Technicians need abilities such as manual dexterity, control precision, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Drain Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Flexibility of Closure
The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.

Critical Skills needed by Drain Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Drain Technicians frequently use skills like operation and control, operations monitoring, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Drain Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.