Exactly what kinds of work, or areas of speciality, could you purse after electrician training? Is there more to this trade than routine wiring installation and repairs?
Absolutely. After you’ve completed electrician training, there are a wide range of career paths open to you. It all depends on your individual strengths, preferences, and career goals.
What kind of environment do you want to work in? Are you fixed on avoiding outdoor work? Are you especially interested in electronics, computers, renewable energy, or telecommunications?
Explore these potential electrician careers, and get one step closer to your ideal fit. Certain paths require additional training, and others are directly related to the skills you’ll learn in a typical construction and maintenance electrician program.
Here’s a look at some of your top options.
1. Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Many electricians work in construction and maintenance. This is a standard career path that involves wiring brand new structures, and doing repairs and upgrades on existing buildings (often residential properties).
But within this field there are niches—ways to specialize that you wouldn’t expect. For example, we recently interviewed 4th-year electrician apprentice, Jon Kerr, who does electrical wiring for mausoleums.
Jon didn’t even know this kind of work existed until he got hired by a company in Hamilton, Ontario that specializes in this area (Murray Peters Electric).
“It’s actually pretty amazing. Murray Peters is the biggest provider of this service in the province. There’s a huge market for mausoleums, especially in the Toronto area.
We do all the wiring for these incredible structures. We install motion sensor lighting, audio systems that can play music, extensive fire detection systems, heat detectors, smoke detectors, and flow detectors.
The work is interesting, challenging, and best of all—indoors!”
Check out the complete interview with Jon, and learn about his career path as an electrician, right here.
2. Industrial Electrician
If you choose to become an industrial electrician, you’ll be working for a factory, plant, mine, shipyard or other industrial establishment. You will specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing the electronic components of industrial equipment. This role typically includes responsibilities like:
- installing and repairing test switchgear, transformers, switchboard meters, regulators and reactors
- working on electrical motors, generators, alternators, industrial storage batteries, hydraulic and pneumatic electrical control systems
- installing and maintaining electrical wiring, receptacles, switch boxes, conduits, feeders, fibre-optic and coaxial cable assemblies, lighting fixtures, and other electrical components
A lineman (or lineworker) works for power companies, on high-power transmission and distribution lines and systems. These lines connect power plants to individual homes and buildings. They might be overhead, or underground in vaults or trenches.
Typical lineman responsibilities include:
- setting of towers and poles
- maintaining and repairing power lines
- stringing new wire
- installing and maintaining insulators, transformers, and other equipment
- installing underground distribution systems
- assembling substations
- installing and maintaining traffic signals
- inspecting lines, poles, and equipment for signs of damage
Obviously, this electrician career will probably involve working outdoors, potentially in extreme weather conditions. But if you can handle the heat (or cold), there is steady demand for lineworkers in Ontario, according to the latest employment forecast from the Government of Canada Job Bank.
4. Network Cabling/CATV Specialist
Network cabling specialists work for telecommunications companies, internet providers, and network installation companies. Their job is to install, test, and maintain communication systems for data, voice, and video transmission.
Choose this electrician career, and you’ll be installing, repairing, and upgrading communications networks for industrial, commercial, institutional, and office complexes. These are the kinds of tasks you’ll be doing on a regular basis:
- installing wall adapter and telecommunications outlet boxes to client specifications
- routing cable through data centres and buildings
- installing cable supports and core holes, and creating pathways
- dressing closets, cross connect, and terminations
- installing CATV equipment
- documenting networks by labeling cables and creating diagrams
- performing system upgrades
If you’re interested in this work, you should consider taking a combined network cabling and electrician program. The program teaches skills in both areas, so you can multiply your job options after graduation.
Network cabling students at the Pre-apprenticeship Training Institute in Ontario
5. Security & Fire Alarm System Installer
Electricians can also specialize in the installation of security and fire alarm systems. This work involves presenting and explaining systems to clients, and completing installations based on building specs, blueprints, and customer requirements.
In this role, your main duties would include:
- installing and repairing alarm devices and security systems
- mounting and fastening control panels
- installing door and window contacts, sensors, and video cameras
- installing electrical components and equipment
- demonstrating systems for clients
- feeding cables through access holes, roof spaces, or cavity walls to reach fixture outlets
- testing backup batteries, keypad programming, sirens, and other security features to ensure proper functioning or to diagnose malfunctions
So, there you have it: 5 very different electrician career options. And there are other paths too, like installing solar panels, working on wind turbines, and specializing in elevator repair.
If you’re willing to do additional training or certification, there are many ways to build on your electrician training, and carve out your own niche.
Which role would you choose? Need advice on selecting a trades career, or finding a quality electrician program to begin your training?
We’d be happy to talk with you. Use the links below to request free information, and explore electrician training programs at the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute—Ontario’s leading trades school.
We offer electrician programs in Toronto and Cambridge, including evening classes.
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