What is a Security and Fire Alarm Installer?
Careers for electricians are growing, and the market is strong for anyone who is qualified and licensed. And, you don’t have to be just a general residential electrician—there are all kinds of areas of specialization to choose from, including working with security systems and fire alarms. These professionals are specialized electrical workers who install, maintain and repair systems for security and fires in residential, commercial, industrial and other settings.
What Does a Security and Fire Alarm Installer Do?
The main type of work that these professionals do is install and set up security systems and fire and smoke alarm systems. Both of these are electrically-based systems in homes and other buildings and properties that keep people safe and protect against theft and damage to property caused by fire. They alert people to danger and may also trigger alarms or sprinkler systems. As compared to residential and commercial electricians, these professionals work only with low-voltage systems.
A person working in this type of job may have several duties and responsibilities depending on the employer and setting, including:
- Installing, setting up and testing new systems in existing buildings or new construction
- Upgrading security and fire systems
- Maintaining systems and fixing them when there are problems
- Installing and maintaining closed circuit TV systems for security purposes
- Mounting video cameras for security
- Working with customers to explain systems, how they work and how to use them
- Consulting with customers to determine security and fire system needs
- Performing inspections of existing systems
What is the Work Environment Like?
The work environment for a fire alarm and security system installer and repairer depends on the job or employment setting. Some work for smaller electrical contracting companies doing residential jobs only, while others work for larger companies installing systems in large commercial buildings or even more complex systems in industrial factories. More specialized jobs may include installing and working on systems in unusual settings, like on a ship or outdoors.
In general, the work of a security and fire alarm installer is physically demanding but not dangerous. You may be on your feet a lot, spending time in some awkward positions and crouching or kneeling, but the work is safer and less physically challenging than some other types of electrical jobs. There are some risks associated with getting shocked or being injured by tools or equipment.
Education, Training and Licensing
You will need some degree of training to become a security and fire alarm installer, although the licensing requirements depend on where you work. Most states have some type of licensing for these specialized electricians. The requirements are usually less demanding and time-consuming than those for residential and commercial electricians.
The best way to get into this line of work is to seek out an apprenticeship. You may spend a couple of years training on the job while earning, and if licensing is required in your state you may have to pass an exam at the end of the apprenticeship.
Job Outlook and Salaries
Growth in electrical careers is strong, at nine percent across the country. You can expect to be able to find work easily in most places if you are trained and qualified to be a security and fire alarm specialist. Job stability is something you can enjoy in this line of work. You can also expect to earn a good salary. The average salary for an electrician is $54,110, but with fewer requirements fire and alarm workers may earn a little less on average.
To get started in a career as a security and fire alarm installer, check out apprenticeship opportunities in your area and programs at local community colleges. With just a little bit of training, you can expect to have a long, interesting career helping keep people safe.