Industrial Electrical Technology: Career School Diploma Program Summary
In industrial electrical technology diploma programs, students learn the skills needed to become entry-level electrical technicians in industrial or manufacturing settings. Students receive a foundational education in basic electrical principles and safety procedures. After completing a program and accumulating some work experience, candidates may pursue professional certification as technicians.
The programs provide students with the classroom training and hands-on experience necessary to repair and perform maintenance on industrial equipment. It generally takes 1-2 years to earn a diploma at a technical school or community college, and some schools offer degree alternatives and apprenticeship training. Program participants might earn up to 45 credits in this diploma program. Students of some programs must be at least 16 years of age to participate.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED, successful completion of courses in applied math, English, and reading, must be 16+ years of age
- Program Length: 1-2 years
- Experiential Learning: Apprenticeship training and hands-on work
Diploma Programs in Industrial Electrical Technology
Courses teach students how to read electrical blueprints and understand control panels. Gaining familiarity with solid-state and relay motor controls is an important aspect of the program, as is learning to use testing equipment to troubleshoot machinery and affect repairs. Students also learn the fundamentals of the profession, beginning with how energy is transformed into electricity. Courses can include the following:
- Electrical circuits
- Safety regulations
- Motors and motor controls
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted employment for electrical and electronics installers and repairers overall would grow 1% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). The growth rate could depend on a worker's specialty. For example, little or no change was expected for powerhouse, substation, and relay installers, while job openings were expected to decline by 4% for electric motor and power tool repairers. However, commercial and industrial equipment electronics repairers should see 3% growth in that same time period.
Salaries also vary. The BLS reported that the mean salary for those in the motor vehicle specialty was $32,920 in 2014. Repairers of commercial and industrial electronic equipment earned a mean of $55,610, and electrical workers who specialized in repairing transportation equipment made a mean salary of $55,430 a year.
Continuing Education and Certification
The BLS reported that earning and associate's degree could improve employment opportunities. Some schools might allow students to apply the credit they earn in a diploma program to an associate degree.
Additionally, several organizations allow electrical technicians to validate their skills by offering professional credentials. The Electronics Technicians' Association awards certification at four basic levels and in more than 80 specialty fields. A student who has fewer than two years' experience or training can take the exam to become an Associate Electronics Technician. With two years in the field, professionals can qualify for the Journeyman certification exam. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians also offers certifications at the Student, Associate and Journeyman levels, as well as credentials in some specialty areas.