Applied electrical technology is a field of study most commonly covered in associate's degree programs, which provide a combination of classroom and hands-on experience and can help individuals prepare for licensure. Individuals who are thinking about going into the field may want to consider salary potential in a variety of industries.
Overview of Applied Electrical Technology
Applied electrical technology programs help students develop fundamental electrical skills and technical know-how needed for professional success in a variety of industries. They generally include few or no general education requirements, focusing instead on hands-on learning. Students usually learn how to perform a number of electrical tasks and are instructed in electrical system design.
While some schools offer cooperative education or certificate programs in applied electrical technology, this field is most often studied at the associate's degree level. One major component of the curriculum involves practical application. Before starting, students learn about the National Electric Code and electrical safety. Class instructors supervise while students master the basics of such things as residential wiring and conduit installation.
The classroom courses within these programs include a few general education requirements, such as college algebra and English composition, as well as classes that are directly related to the applications of electrical technology. Some topics of study may include:
- Electrical systems analysis
- Technological applications of physics
- Electrical drawing
- Fundamentals of direct current
- Fundamentals of alternating current
Electricians are required to be licensed in most states. If applied electrical technology programs provide enough field experience, graduates may qualify to take a national licensing exam for electricians. The requirements vary by state, but the exam typically covers:
- Electrical codes
- Building codes
- Electrical theory
- National Electrical Code
In cases where field experience requirements aren't met by an associate's degree program, graduates may pursue electrical apprenticeships with professional electricians to gain the necessary experience.
Employment and Salary Information
Training in applied electrical technology may lead to entry-level careers in electrical installation, maintenance and repair. Possible job titles include electrician assistant, electrical technician and appliance repair technician. The amount of money electrical workers can make depends on their area of expertise. Electricians in general earned a yearly average salary of $56,650 in May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average yearly wages in May 2016 for electrician positions in various industries were as follows:
- Building equipment contracting: $55,730
- Local government: $65,330
- Non-residential building construction: $55,170
- Coal mining: $59,580
- Ship and boat building: $51,920
- Natural gas distribution: $91,310
Through associate's degree programs that combine classroom and practical training, students can learn about applied electrical technology and prepare for electrician jobs in a variety of different sectors. They usually must pass a licensing exam and may need additional training to meet experience requirements.