Electrician Careers in Building Automation Systems
As building automation systems (BAS) become more common, electricians who can work with them are needed to install, repair and maintain systems. An electrician qualified to work with BAS has specialized skills. For a new career in electrical work that will provide a good salary and long-term job stability, consider learning how to be a BAS electrician.
Building Automation Systems Electricians
BAS refers to centralized and automatic controls for heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, security and other systems in buildings. It’s used in many larger buildings, commercial buildings and industrial buildings. BAS is important for energy efficiency but also simplifies control and maintenance. These complex systems require professional electricians to maintain, repair and upgrade them.
A BAS electrician is a specialist in these systems. Any qualified electrician can work with BAS, but some electricians have specialized in the field as automated systems have become more common. Typical duties and responsibilities of these electricians include:
- Installing new BAS with wiring and components
- Reading and following technical diagrams
- Maintaining systems
- Calibrating BAS
- Inspecting BAS
- Finding and fixing problems in BAS
- Educating building managers and others in how to run BAS
Electricians working with building automation systems can expect the job to be physically demanding, as it is for other types of electricians. You need to be able to stand for long periods of time, work with heavy parts, equipment and tools, and to squeeze into and work in some awkward positions and cramped quarters.
Many BAS electricians work in new construction. As buildings are constructed, most include some BAS. However, older systems still need repairs and maintenance, so these electricians also work in older buildings. Employers of BAS electricians include construction companies and contractors, BAS manufacturers, and electrical contractors who may or may not specialize in BAS.
Education and Training for BAS Engineers
Because building automation systems are generally low voltage, in some areas you may not have to be a licensed electrician to work on them. Low voltage electricians are licensed separately in some states and not at all in others. Make sure you understand the licensing requirements in your state before you start working toward a BAS career.
Generally, whether licensing is required or not it is important to get some training and education in order to work in this field. You may want to start with a degree or certificate program in electrical technology to learn the basics. Or, you could begin with an apprenticeship. No matter how you start out, though, training on the job will be necessary to learn how to work with BAS and to be qualified to be hired as a BAS electrician.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
For all types of electricians, the job outlook is very positive. Growth in electrician careers is currently nine percent. This strong growth means that thousands of new jobs are being added to the industry. With the increase in building automation systems, you can expect to find it easy to get hired if you have had the right training. Growth for BAS electricians is likely higher than for electricians generally.
The average annual salary for an electrician in 2017 was $54,110, but top earners make up to $90,000 per year. Because BAS electricians are low voltage electricians, the salaries may be a little lower than this. However, earnings are still good because this career requires specialized skills. If you have been looking for a growing industry and an exciting trade to get into, consider starting your training to become a building automation systems electrician.