What Does a Low Voltage Electrician Do?
These skilled professionals do much the same work as residential and commercial electricians, but they do it while working only with low voltage systems, usually up to 49 volts. They install new systems, maintain them, and diagnose and make repairs to existing low-voltage equipment, components and systems. Some examples of the types of equipment and electrical systems that these electricians work with include:
- Closed circuit television systems
- Land-line telephone systems
- Internet systems
- Cable television and digital television
- Home entertainment systems
- Fiber optic networks
- Fire and security alarm systems
- Local and wide area networks
Low voltage electricians work in homes, in commercial buildings and in industrial settings. Some also specialize in the electronics in trains, airplanes, trucks or ships.
Work Environment for Low Voltage Electricians
The work environment varies depending on the setting. For instance, working in people’s homes installing home entertainment systems offers a very different environment than specializing in ship electronics or installing systems in industrial factories. The work is often less physically demanding than that of other electricians, though, as low voltage electricians generally work with smaller equipment and tools. There is usually less risk of injury, and these electricians mostly work indoors.
Most low voltage electricians work for companies, but some are small business owners and self-employed. You may work for a telecommunications company, a home entertainment electronics provider or an electrical contracting company.
Required Education and Training
The requirements for training and licensing to work as a low voltage electrician vary by state and sometimes by local jurisdiction. In some places you will need to go through the full residential electrician training, which means taking classes and spending two to four years in an apprenticeship to a master electrician.
In other areas you may be able to get licensed separately, in which case you will not need as many hours of training and apprenticeship to be able to work as a low voltage electrician. Some states license these electricians more specifically by specialty, like sign specialists, telephone and communication workers or fire and security alarm electricians.
Salary and Career Outlook
All types of electricians are currently seeing growth in their industries, thanks to new construction and an ongoing need for maintenance and repairs. This means that choosing any type of career in electrical work will provide good stability. If you are trained and licensed for low voltage work you should be able to find a job easily. Current growth for all electricians is nine percent, with thousands of new jobs being added all the time.
Salaries are also looking good for electricians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for electricians in May 2017 was $54,110. Those working for government agencies and in industrial settings tend to make more. The salary for a low voltage electrician can vary a lot depending on area of specialty, location, employer and other factors. Generally, though, their salaries are comparable to residential electricians.
If you are interested in a stable, skilled trade job that provides a relatively safe and comfortable work environment with good hours, consider training to become a low voltage electrician. This is a great career, but with the training and licensing you’ll also have the ability to move into other areas of specialty, or even become a small business owner and electrical contractor.