There are two main focuses for alarm system training: intrusion and fire detection. Professional organizations, such as the Automatic Fire Alarm Association, and alarm system manufacturers and dealers typically offer programs in only one of these areas, while the training associated with technical schools generally covers both. Some trade groups, including the Electronic Security Association, also offer training in video surveillance and access control. In addition to business settings, alarm system training might be offered in a classroom setting or online. The Electronic Security Association grants certification credentials to experienced technicians who pass exams.
Most programs do not have educational prerequisites, and some programs are open to high school students.
Alarm System Technician Training
Coursework varies greatly between alarm system technician program providers.
- Technical school courses usually cover:
- Commercial wiring
- Electrical theory for construction
- Installing security systems
- National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements
- Fire alarm associations' courses might include:
- Automatic sprinkler basics
- Fire alarm planning
- Low-voltage basics
- Placing heat detectors
- Placing smoke detectors
- Security industry associations offer courses such as:
- Home security automation
- Installing cameras
- Introduction to closed circuit TV
- Intrusion systems
- Managing security projects
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for security and fire alarm system installers were expected to grow faster than the average for all jobs at 13% in the period 2014-2024. In May 2015, the median annual wage in this field was $43,420 (www.bls.gov).
Certification and Continuing Education
There are a number of potential certifications for alarm system technicians. Many are available through the Electronic Security Association (ESA), including Level I and Level II Certified Alarm/Security Technician (CAT), Certified Service Technician (CST) and Certified Systems Integrator (CSI). Additionally, some manufacturers offer certification for installation and maintenance of their specific systems.
Certification in fire alarm systems can be earned through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). Certifications include Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Systems, Fire Alarm Systems and Automatic Sprinkler System Layout.
Programs for alarm system technicians are available from several organizations and prepare graduates for jobs installing alarm systems, closed circuit TV systems and cameras, and teach the technical, wiring and electrical skills required to do so. Many certification programs are available from professional organizations and alarm system manufacturers to increase technicians' knowledge and employment opportunities.