Electrical technicians, installers and repairers can apply their services to a variety of products, including telecommunications equipment, commercial equipment and industrial equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial electrical technicians are typically required to have some technical training from either a vocational institute or a community college, where they earn either a certificate or associate's degree. Fields of study available at these levels include general electrical technology and industrial electrical technology. Electrical technicians can then work their way up in the field or even earn voluntary certification to prove their skills to future employers.
Industrial Electrical Technology Certificates
Entry-level jobs in industrial electrical technology require individuals to know about wiring, circuit operation and logic controllers. Training is found both in the form of an industrial electrical technology certificate and as an industrial path within an electrical technology certificate program. These programs prepare graduates for careers in building maintenance and electronics repair, working for construction and utility companies. Certificate programs take 3-4 semesters to complete; generally, there are no prerequisites for applicants.
Electrical technicians maintain, install connect and test electrical systems for residential properties, factories and industrial buildings. Certificate programs prepare graduates for this hands-on field by offering training in:
- Electrical maintenance
- Industrial math
- Programmable controllers
- Residential wiring
- Reading blueprints
- DC and AC circuitry
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Associate of Applied Science Degrees Covering Industrial Electrical Technology
While some 2-year programs are explicitly offered in industrial electrical technology, others are in general electrical technology, and they offer industrial electrical technology as an emphasis area. Electrical technology professionals troubleshoot complex instrumentation systems involving microprocessors, electrical circuitry and motors in both digital and analog models. These hands-on programs prepare students both for careers in the field and for transferring to a bachelor's degree program.
Applicants are expected to have completed high school or earned a GED. Some programs also require a math background of one year of geometry and two years of algebra.
As preparation for careers in technical writing and industrial equipment repair, students learn why direct current equipment gets damaged when plugged into an outlet that runs alternating current. In addition to these topics, students learn about:
- Electrical codes
- Logic controls
- Commercial wiring
Popular Career Options
Professionals set up the electrical foundations for large-scale systems, locate problems using deductive reasoning and perform maintenance checks to prevent the need for emergency repairs. Job titles available to certificate holders include:
- Industrial electrician
- Electrical maintenance technician
- Industrial equipment repairperson
- Utility lineman
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment of electrical engineering technicians was projected to decrease by 2% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The same source expected that onsite jobs will remain stable, while the electrical industry - as a whole - will see a large number of jobs outsources to foreign countries. The May 2015 BLS reports showed that the 139,080 employed electrical and electronics engineering technicians took home a median annual wage of $61,130.
Continuing Education Information
Telecommunications, electronics design and computer networking careers are available to individuals with bachelor's and graduate degrees in electrical engineering and electrical engineering technology. With advanced degrees, career advancement toward the information technology or medical industries is possible.
For individuals interested in pursuing jobs as industrial electricians, technicians, or linemen, achieving a certificate or associate's degree in the field is likely to help in the post-education job search, especially considering job prospects are decreasing in this particular field.