Specialized Careers for Electrical Workers
Training in electrical technology can lead to a number of career opportunities that go well beyond working as an electrician. Whether you are already learning to become an electrician or you haven’t yet determined your future career path, you have time to consider all your options. From working outdoors on power lines to installing wiring in new homes or working on the electronic components in cars, there are many different electrical careers that are rewarding and that pay well.
If you love cars and you want to be an electrician, this could be your perfect career. Automotive electricians are specialized mechanics trained to work on vehicle electronic systems. They install and maintain and also diagnose and repair electronics in cars and trucks.
If airplanes are more interesting to you, consider becoming an aviation electrician. You will train to install, maintain and make fixes to the electronic components in aircraft. This can be a job for commercial airlines and aircraft manufacturers, but these electricians are also needed in the military.
Building Automation Systems
Automation systems are the centralized controls in a building that maintain heating, lighting, air conditioning and ventilation. Specialists and technicians work on these systems, installing them in new construction, replacing parts, inspecting components and making repairs when there are issues.
A commercial electrician works in commercial buildings, like office buildings, retail shops or school buildings. They install wiring in new construction, maintain electrical systems, replace broken or worn out parts, and diagnose and make repairs when systems are not working.
To be an electrical inspector in most places you will need to be a licensed electrician with some work experience. Inspectors are responsible for ensuring that electrical systems, wiring and components work, are safe and are up to code. Benefits of this job are that it is less physically demanding and that it has more regular hours than working as an electrician.
Industrial electricians do work similar to residential and commercial electricians but in an industrial setting. They work on wiring and electrical components in large, industrial buildings, like power plants, factories and manufacturing facilities.
Low Voltage Electrician
These electricians work only with electrical systems that run between zero and 49 volts. This means they install and maintain things like telephone systems, internet, home entertainment systems, CCTV, local area networks and fiber optic networks. They require less training than other types of electricians.
Marine electricians work on ships and in shipyards and ports. They are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing the electrical equipment needed to operate and navigate ships, including specialty components like sonar and radar.
Workers who install and maintain power lines that run between towers and buildings are called outside lineman. They make repairs and install new lines by climbing poles and riding up in cherry pickers. This can be dangerous work, with physically demanding duties that have to be done outdoors in a variety of types of weather.
Powerhouse and Substation Technician
Powerhouse and substation workers are electricians and technicians who work in large power plants and smaller substations. They may work inside and outside, installing new components and lines, maintaining equipment and making fixes.
What most people think of when they hear the term electrician, a residential electrician works on wiring and electrical systems in homes and small apartment buildings. They install new wiring and systems, maintain them and make repairs, keeping everything working safely and within the national code.
Security and Fire Alarm System Installer
Workers who install security and fire alarm systems are considered low voltage electricians. They specialize in these security and fire systems and may work on them in homes as well as in larger commercial or industrial settings.
Sign Specialist Electrician
These electricians specialize in outdoor signs and billboards. They may work on stand-alone electric signs or those mounted on buildings. They work outside to install and repair signs, and they must climb ladders or use buckets on trucks to work on signs that are very high. The work can be dangerous.
Solar Power Technician
Solar energy technicians have specialized knowledge in solar technology. They install solar power systems, make repairs and maintain existing systems. This job requires special training and is done both outside and indoors. Some of the work is done on the roofs of buildings, which can be dangerous.
Telecommunications Line Installer
Like a line installer and repairer, telecommunications line installers work outdoors and often at height. They work on the lines that provide cable, internet and telephone services. The work is physically difficult and can be dangerous because of the risks of falls and electrocution.
Wind Turbine Electrician
With training in wind energy and power, wind turbine electricians install, assemble, maintain and repair wind turbines towers and other components. The job involves driving to sometimes remote locations and a lot of physical work, including climbing to great heights.
A career as an electrician is a good option for anyone interested in skilled trades, but it is important to realize how many different types of electrical jobs and specialties are available. Investigate those that interest you, find out what it takes to get into those careers, and take the steps necessary to train and learn so you can land a great job.