Rope Access Jobs Overview

Have you ever looked at a tall clock tower and wondered how anyone would be able to reach the top if the timepiece needed to be serviced or cleaned?

Who performs inspection and maintenance work on the Hoover Dam and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial? When wind turbine operators need to have their equipment repaired, where do they turn?

When something needs to be done high above the ground, rope access technicians go to work. This is not the right career choice for someone who is afraid of heights, but it may be just the ticket for a person who has experience with climbing and who finds being suspended in the air an exhilarating experience.

Rope Access Technician Job Description

A rope access technician works in hard-to-reach areas without the benefit of a scaffold or a work platform. These highly-trained specialists know the meaning of the term, “Safety First,” and are very comfortable working at altitudes that most other people would find problematic.

The duties of a rope worker would depend on his or her area of expertise and the client’s requirements. They may perform inspections and repairs on oil platforms. Painting may be part of the rope access technician’s job in this setting as well. The worker will probably be assigned to a two week on, two week off schedule, just like other employees on the rig. The restrictions against alcohol and substance use that all personnel on board the oil rig are subject to would apply as well.

Some people who choose to work in this environment started their careers as roughnecks and moved into rope work because they were looking for more challenge on the job.

Another work environment where rope workers may be found is on some construction sites. A company contracted to build a stadium, communications tower or other highly-specialized structures may need to call in rope workers during part of the process. When ladders, scaffolds and platforms simply won’t reach, these companies look to rope access companies to provide the expertise they need for construction, welding or inspection services.

When rope workers go to work on high-rise buildings, they may be cleaning windows, performing routine maintenance. Repairs on aircraft warning lights fall within their area of expertise, along with installing and maintaining banners or signs. Electrical transmission towers and aerials are also places where rope workers may be dispatched as needed.

Cliff faces located above roadways are other environments where rope access technicians are used. They may be asked to install or repair meshing designed to prevent rocks from falling.

A new niche market for rope workers that is performing repairs and maintenance on wind turbines. As this form of energy generation becomes more popular, demand for workers who can perform these functions is growing.

Rope Access Technician Salary Information

According to, the average rope access technician salary in the United States is $46,000 per year (December 2010). Rope workers who work on oil rigs may earn between US $430-$500 per day when on the job. The level of compensation will depend on where the technician is employed, his or her level of experience, etc.

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