Career Development

What Does an Electrical Technician Do?

Find out what an electrical technician does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an electrical technician.

Electrical technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing electrical systems in both residential and commercial settings. They commonly work with a wide range of equipment, including circuit breakers, transformers, switches, wiring, generators and other devices.

Electrical technicians may also be tasked with testing the functionality of these systems to ensure that they’re working properly. This might include checking for issues such as short circuits or faulty wiring.

Electrical Technician Job Duties

Electrical technicians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Installing and troubleshooting electrical equipment such as lighting fixtures, transformers, circuit breakers, and power panels
  • Inspecting electrical equipment for safety violations and performing maintenance tasks to ensure continued operation of equipment
  • Installing electrical wiring and equipment such as switches, thermostats, fuses, and panel boards
  • Writing and reviewing plans and specifications for projects involving new construction or equipment installation
  • Diagnosing problems with electrical systems and equipment to identify causes of breakdowns or malfunctions
  • Installing electrical equipment such as light fixtures and wiring for computers
  • Testing electrical equipment for safety and performance using meters and other devices
  • Repairing electrical equipment such as circuit breakers and fuses by replacing components such as wiring, insulation, and switches
  • Maintaining electrical equipment such as light fixtures and wiring by replacing burned out bulbs or rewiring faulty connections

Electrical Technician Salary & Outlook

Electrical technician salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of electrical technicians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Electrical technicians will be needed to install and maintain the electrical systems in many types of commercial buildings, such as retail stores and restaurants. In addition, these workers will be needed to install and maintain electrical equipment for power plants and factories.

Related: In-Depth Electrical Technician Salary Guide

Electrical Technician Job Requirements

Electrical technicians typically need to have the following background:

Education: Most employers require an electrical technician to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may accept an associate’s degree in electrical technology or electrical engineering. An associate’s degree in electronics technology or electronics engineering provides students with a strong foundation in mathematics, physics and engineering.

Training & Experience: Most employers require that electrical technicians complete a training program before they begin working in the role. Training programs can last from a few weeks to a few months and may include hands-on instruction in electrical installation, troubleshooting and repair.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement as an electrical technician, but they can show your commitment and dedication to the industry.

Electrical Technician Skills

Electrical technicians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the knowledge and experience you have in a specific field. Electrical technicians need to have a variety of technical skills to complete their job duties. These include knowledge of electrical systems, how to read electrical schematics, how to troubleshoot electrical issues and how to identify electrical hazards.

Communication skills: Communication skills are necessary for electrical technicians to have. They use these skills to explain their work to clients, supervisors and other technicians. They also use these skills to explain their ideas to other technicians when working on projects.

Problem-solving skills: Electrical technicians use their problem-solving skills to identify and resolve issues with electrical systems. They may troubleshoot electrical systems to identify the source of a problem and then find a solution to fix it. For example, an electrical technician may identify that a circuit breaker is the source of a problem and then find a solution to reset the circuit breaker.

Attention to detail: Electrical systems are complex and can be dangerous if not installed correctly. Attention to detail is important for electrical technicians because it ensures they notice any potential hazards and take the necessary precautions. Attention to detail can also help you notice if a system isn’t working properly, which can help you identify and fix potential electrical problems.

Ability to work independently: Electrical technicians often work alone on projects, so it’s important for them to be able to work independently. This means they can research and understand the project, identify the necessary materials and equipment and complete the project to the client’s satisfaction. Working independently can help electrical technicians develop their problem-solving skills and improve their time management skills.

Electrical Technician Work Environment

Electrical technicians work in a variety of settings, including power plants, factories, office buildings, and homes. They may work both indoors and outdoors, and their work may require them to be exposed to loud noise, dust, and fumes. They may also work in cramped spaces and in awkward positions. Electrical technicians typically work a 40-hour week, but they may have to work overtime to meet deadlines or to respond to emergencies.

Electrical Technician Trends

Here are three trends influencing how electrical technicians work. Electrical technicians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Talent

The need for more technical talent is a trend that is being driven by the increasing complexity of modern technology. As devices become more complex, they require more technical support to operate properly.

This means that businesses are going to need to hire more electrical technicians who have the skills and training to troubleshoot complex problems. By becoming an electrical technician, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to any company that needs help with its technology.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow. This is because cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common, and businesses need professionals who can protect them from these threats.

Electrical technicians are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they have the knowledge and experience needed to design and install security systems. In order to be successful in this field, electrical technicians will need to keep up with the latest developments in cybersecurity and learn how to protect against new threats.

Energy Efficiency Becomes a Higher Priority

As energy costs continue to rise, electrical technicians will need to become experts in energy efficiency. This means that they will need to be able to identify ways to reduce energy consumption in homes and businesses.

In order to be successful in this area, electrical technicians will need to be familiar with the latest technologies that can help to save energy, such as LED lighting and smart thermostats. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with customers about the benefits of these technologies.

How to Become an Electrical Technician

Electrical technicians have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can specialize in one area, such as electrical construction or electrical maintenance, or they can become generalists who are able to work in many different areas of the field.

No matter what direction they choose, electrical technicians should stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends in the industry. This can be done by attending training courses and workshops, reading professional journals and magazines, and networking with other professionals.

Related: How to Write an Electrical Technician Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many electrical technicians advance to become journeyman electricians after completing an apprenticeship or a technical training program. Some journeyman electricians start their own businesses.

With experience, journeyman electricians can advance to supervisory positions, such as project manager or site superintendent. Some electricians become electrical inspectors for their municipality or county. Others move into sales or marketing for electrical equipment manufacturers or distributors. Some journeyman electricians become electrical engineers.

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