A certificate program in industrial electrical technology will teach the fundamentals of the profession, including wiring procedures and safety protocols. Students are required to be a minimum of 16 years to apply, and aspiring apprentices and technicians should score well on an admissions examination.
Featuring opportunities for hands-on learning, an associate's degree program teaches students to install and wire electrical devices. Students may be required to complete a senior project before graduating. Future industrial electricians can also enroll in National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)-sponsored apprenticeship programs, which allow students to gain work experience while learning.
Associate's program prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED. Courses are commonly available online.
Industrial Electrician Certificates
Undergraduate certificate programs are generally about 1 year in length and train students in industrial technology standards established by the National Electrical Code. Students learn about electrical safety procedures, wiring techniques, motors and circuitry. The curriculum is solely focused on teaching electrical and professional skills, and it includes training in industrial technology labs.
Certificate program courses explore direct current circuits, electrical components, fuses and more. Course topics might also include the following:
- Safety tools
- Electrical principles
- Combination circuits
- Fluid power
- Circuit analysis
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Associate in Applied Science in Industrial Electrical Technology
A 2-year degree program prepares students for entry-level positions as industrial electricians; the program can also serve as the foundation for a bachelor's degree program in industrial technology, engineering and more. Students receive training in the fundamentals of electricity and other power sources, computers, wiring and equipment used by industrial electricians. Hands-on training in labs and a senior project are often included.
The curriculum focuses on studies in electricity, circuits and industrial electronics. Topics that are covered include the following:
- Electrical device installation
- National Electrical Code
- Electrical motor theory
- A.C./D.C. circuits
Popular Career Options
While these certificate programs are designed to train industrial electricians, there are other positions that students can obtain after graduation. Below are some of these titles:
- Utility worker
- Electrical technician
- Mechanical apprentice
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Though specific data for industrial electricians was not available, electricians in general earned a median annual salary of $51,880 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and employment in this career is expected to grow by 14% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that electricians in general were employed in 592,230 positions in the U.S. in 2015.
Continuing Education Information and Professional Licensure
Apprenticeship programs are a more common training route to becoming an industrial electrician than school programs. According to the BLS, students may also seek an apprenticeship after completing some classroom training. Apprenticeships are a good choice for those who are interested in earning a salary while working towards their electrician requirements.
As of 2013, there were more than 300 National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)-sponsored apprenticeship programs in the United States. These apprenticeships are offered in the four main specialties for electricians; aspiring industrial electricians may want to consider the Inside Wiremen specialty, which focuses on performing electrical work in industrial and commercial buildings. The NECA is partnered with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and many programs are offered at community colleges.
Individual states have differing licensure requirements for electricians. Most electricians start out as apprentices who work under the supervision of master electricians. Obtaining a license as an apprentice typically requires some work experience in addition to the completion of an apprenticeship, certificate or associate's degree program. Some states require specific licenses for industrial electricians, while others have non-specific master and journeyman licenses. Applicants interested in obtaining an electrician's license should consult their state's electrical or licensing board for specific requirements. Graduates can also consult the NECA for state-specific requirements (www.necanet.org).
Although additional licensing may be required, industrial electrician training at the certificate and associate's degree level prepares students for employment as industrial electricians, electrical technicians and utility workers. Training through apprenticeship programs is also very common, as it allows students to earn a salary while working towards their educational goals.