The power and awe of electricity has captured the imagination of curious individuals for centuries. Think back to the 1700s when Ben Franklin “discovered” electricity (with the help of a kite and a key) during a violent thunderstorm, or the late 19th century when Thomas Edison’s experiments ultimately led to the invention of incandescent light.
If you’ve always been intrigued by electricity, a career as an electrical technician could be right up your alley. Electrical technicians work in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, electronics, utilities, and research. Electrical technicians may also be self-employed contractors who provide various electrical services to home and business owners.
What Do Electrical Technicians Do?
Electrical technicians perform several functions, which can vary based on the industry and the needs of their employers. Typical duties can include installing the electrical wiring in a building, and executing electrical repair and maintenance tasks. Other duties include replacing fuse boxes or performing inspections to ensure that a structure’s electrical wiring is in compliance with local building codes. It’s safe to say that no two days are alike for an electrical technician!
Characteristics of an Excellent Electrical Tech
Traits of a successful electrical technician include:
Continuous focus on safety
Most of us are taught at an early age that working around electricity can be extremely dangerous. However, the shock we receive from sticking a finger into an electrical outlet is nothing compared to what can happen when working around high-voltage electrical equipment. Competent electrical techs always make attention to safety their top priority. They also participate in an OSHA-compliant electrical safety training program.
Attention to detail
Electricians perform high-precision tasks that require close attention to detail. There is little margin for error in the electrical technician job function, as even a small mistake could have devastating consequences. Techs must be experts at reading and interpreting blueprints and understanding complex electrical wiring schematics.
Strong mechanical aptitude
The best electrical technicians normally have a natural aptitude for working with their hands and performing mechanical tasks. They tend to be one of those people that seem to have a knack for building or fixing just about anything. If you find changing a lightbulb to be a challenging task, a career as an electrical technician probably isn’t for you!
The electrical technician job requires a certain level of physical dexterity and fitness. You’ll probably have to spend a great deal of time climbing, crouching, crawling, and standing. In some cases, you might have to work outdoors in extreme weather conditions. While great electrical technicians aren’t necessarily world-class athletes, they should be able to withstand a bit of physical discomfort.
Strong familiarity with local building codes
All jurisdictions have building codes in place that set certain standards for electrical wiring. Electrical techs who violate these codes, whether intentionally or unintentionally, could face severe consequences. The best electrical techs have a thorough understand of all pertinent building codes and stay updated on any changes.
Most electrical technicians begin their careers in an apprentice role, which requires the successful completion of an apprentice training program. Great electrical techs begin by choosing a training program that thoroughly prepares them for an apprenticeship. The program should also be recognized for its excellence by prospective employers.
Vista College offers a cost-effective Electrical Technician Diploma program that will prepare you to seek an entry-level apprentice position in as little as 40 weeks. The program is available at our El Paso, TX campus. View our complete program details, or contact one of our friendly Admissions Representatives today!
CC Photo by Tom Fowler