Let’s find out about the different electrician types and any available electrician training programs associated with each. Interested in cars and other motorized vehicles? Career as an auto electrician might be the best decision for You. Excited about working on water? Check out the requirements for marine marine and oil rig electricians. Appealed to large scale object? You should consider working as an industrial, construction and maintenance or substation electrician. None of the above sounds interesting? Take a look on commercial and residential electrician job descriptions.
TYPES OF ELECTRICIANS
I. Auto Electrician
In case You find interest in motorized vehicles and their repair, a series of auto electrician courses and auto electrician training programs are available to become a car electrician. Auto electrician courses prepare students to use various types of computer-based repair tools to correct system malfunctions in vehicles. Training programs, on the other hand, usually include both classroom and hands-on training through an apprenticeship program, and prepare students to work as an automotive electrical mechanic or an automotive electrical fitting specialist.
If you think this niche is right for you, take a few minutes to learn about the requirements and curriculum of an auto electrician training programs.
Types of Auto Electrician Courses
Auto electrician courses train students to work with various types of vehicles and focus on the engine and other systems. Students enrolling in auto electrician courses learn some basic engine management rules and principles, and participate in a number of hands-on projects to acquire the necessary skills required for a successful car electrician career. Training program typically covers:
- Basic Engine Management Systems
- Computer-based Repair Systems
- Drivability Diagnostics
- Drivetrain Systems
Certification options in this field may cover automotive work in light vehicles, automotive mechanical projects, body work, automotive and engineering projects, and engineering with automotive mechanical work.
Auto Electrician Training Program Specializations
After completion of the basic courses, trainee may choose to specialize in a particular area (such decision is likely to mean more job opportunities and greater remunaration in the future). Some of them include:
- Motorsports Chassis Fabrication
- High Performance Powertrain
- Street Rod and Custom Fabrication
- Advanced Automotive Diagnostics
- Performance Electronics Training
- Performance Mechanical Training
- Smog Certification
- Applied Service Management
- Light-Duty Diesel
- Automotive/Diesel Combination
- Advanced Training Options
An auto electrician training program usually includes an apprenticeship, a highly-structured training program where the student acquires knowledge how to develop and expand skills, and also provides technical instruction in various specialties. Students who complete an apprenticeship often have a chance to work with a future employer and gain valuable work experience in the process.
Apprentices have the opportunity to apply themselves in and can obtain certification in a particular field. They may work one-on-one with an automotive electrician or automotive specialist, or as part of a team on various projects. Apprenticeship programs are typically paid positions, but remuneration is way better after it is finished and steady work position is found.
Car Electrician Career Options
Individuals who successfully complete an auto electrician training program and take the required auto electrician courses can explore numerous car electrician career options throughout their lifetime. An automotive electrician training program can adequately prepare students for a career in fields such as:
- Direct work with car manufacturers/dealers
- Serving as an automotive shop supervisor
- Creating an automotive contracting business
- Serving as an on-site auto electrician
- And even opening up their own automotive electrical repairs shops
II. Commercial Electrician
Majority of the aspiring electricians decide to pursue the commercial electrician career and therefore undertake a commercial electrician training program. These programs are designed to train electricians that want to work in the commercial sector (for instance, shopping malls, warehouses, office buildings etc.) and typically will work for private companies or electrical companies on various projects.
In the contrary of general electrician programs, the commercial electrician training programs take focus primarily on wiring systems and heavy machinery that is used for commercial projects. During the studies, following key areas are covered:
- Electrical service repairs and upgrades
- Installation and repair of various circuit and electrical system types
- Troubleshooting, maintenance and repair of voltage systems
- Troubleshooting, wire and test of motors, transformers and generators
- Installation and repair of audio and video wiring systems
- Installation and repair of surveillance and security systems
- Installation and repair of fire detection systems
During the study process there is a big attention given to hands-on study cases that involve usage of particular craft tools and equipment like voltmeters, ohmmeters, hydraulic and electric conduit benders, PVC bender boxes, wire benders, ladders etc. There is also lessons to acquire computer skills – ability to work with software programs used for cost estimation, blueprint reading etc. Nowadays these skills are essentials for a successful career in particular craft.
Commercial Electrician Apprentice Programs
- Gain the ability to read, understand and create commercial building blueprints
- Strengthen Your knowledge of basic commercial wiring methods, the installation of EMT conduit and MC style cabling
- Establish the ability to work with a general contractor and other trades present on job
- Acquire advanced knowledge in the installation of large commercial electrical services, transformers and tap cans
- Gain the endurance to work long hours off a scissor lift, aerial lift, ladder and in confined spaces
- Complete tasks like constructing electrical connections or terminations, installation and repair of generators, basic installation and repair of motors, replacing brushes and bearings of equipment, working with advanced security systems or surveillance equipment, installation and repair of heaters and fire systems etc.
III. Construction and Maintenance Electrician
Maintenance electricians work on existing electrical systems in various environments (for instance, schools, hospitals, factories, office buildings, power plants ). Their main task is to secure that all electrical systems within building are in good working order – thus, responsibility lies not only on electrical equipment repair (like fuses, worn out switches, faulty circuit breakers, wires), but also for its upgrade if necessary. For instance, in factories, You will be responsible for keeping all equipment and machinery running smoothly. In hospitals or large office buildings, You will be responsible for keeping all lighting systems, climate control units and alarm systems working properly. And electricians working in public utilities or mining industries must make sure the generators provide a constant and reliable flow of electricity.
Daily work includes usage of drawings, blueprints or circuit schematics to plan work and make repairs. The drawings or blueprints are usually designed by advanced electricians or engineering electricians. The most common tools You will use are screwdrivers, wire cutters, pliers, knives, conduit benders, drills and testing equipment (e.g. multimeter, clamp, amp meter).
Despite the fact that most of Your time will be spent on inspecting equipment for potential problems before a costly breakdown can occur, calamities do happen. In such scenario, Your action must be prompt, especially in a factory setting. Not only people lives could be at risk, but also every minute the machines are down, the company loses income. This is why knowing the equipment inside out is so important. You must be able to quickly and accurately diagnose the problem and identify what it will take to fix and long it will take You to make the necessary repairs.
Construction electricians work in freshly built businesses and homes. These new buildings must have their first wiring systems installed and this is where a construction electrician is called for help. Before he comes to set up the place, no power can be used, thus, heat, light, alarm system or air-conditioning are impossible without the electrician.
Job is started with blueprint reading and deciphering where the wires should go. Then, a metal tubing is installed in the walls and the ceiling for the wires to run through. Once the wires are in, they attach them to switches and outlets. These wires are then connected to a fuse box, circuit breaker etc. When it is done, newly established system must be checked. Detected faults must be eliminated.
Which path is a better choice?
Both construction and maintenance electricians must pass proper electrician training, both must follow local building codes and the National Electrical Code, however, it is believed that the maintenance electricians have a more secure job. This is associated with the situation when economy experiences downturn – construction electricians will face less work oportunities because the number of new orders for new buildings will reduce or even stop completely.
IV. Industrial Electrician
This craftsman will work in large production style facilities where there are large amounts of various machines and systems and programmable logic center (=PLC), which is a digital specialized computer used for automation and control of industrial processes, such as control of machinery on factory production lines. Electrician responsibility is considered to be extremely high as business interruption means cut in company’s cash flow.
If you have decided to pursue a career in this field, proper training program is required. Unlike general electricians and electrical contractors, industrial electricians work with different types of motors, machines and systems in a manufacturing setting. This can range anywhere from electrical system components to power generators, and you can take several specialized industrial electrician courses to complete the program requirements.
Industrial Electrician Training Program
Individuals who enroll in an industrial electrician training program learn how to test, install, troubleshoot, repair, and maintain various types of electrical equipment in different settings. These technicians usually work in an industrial or commercial setting with bulk equipment such as generators, manufacturing machines, electrical cabinets and other high-voltage equipment.
Training program is designed to teach blueprint reading to perform industrial electrician work, advanced and specialized techniques to install, repair, replace, troubleshoot and upgrade different types of electrical circuits and systems.
If you decide to enroll in such a program, performance of following basics will be tought to You:
- Reading and interpreting electrical schematics
- Understanding of industrial building blueprints
- Performing system installation and upgrades on electrical systems and circuits
- Testing and troubleshooting motor controls
- Repairing and replacing electrical circuits
- Advanced knowledge of motors and moto starters will be gained
- Advanced knowledge in PLC Centers and PLC diagrams
- Advanced knowledge of Variable Frequency Drives used for motors
Completion of this training program will help You to succeed in Your career, including the availability to qualify for the highest paying salaries in the industry.
Types of Industrial Electrician Courses
Industrial electrician courses are focused on the operation of industrial power systems controlled by electricity, and some of the latest safety guidelines and protocols that need to be followed when performing repair work, troubleshooting errors and performing system installs and upgrades. Students gain experience in working with large-scale equipment and work with very large electronic parts as well as heavy machinery. Some of the basic and specialized courses include:
- Fundamentals of Electricity
- Electrical Wiring
- DC and AC Motors and Generators
- Power, Transformers, Polyphase Circuits
- Electrical Controls for Machines
- Electronic Principles
- Industrial Electronics
An industrial electrician training program may include several elective requirements. Students will have to take them to supplement their educational career, and also complete an electrical seminar and internship program. Some of the electives are:
- Digital Fundamentals
- Instrumentation Fundamentals
- Alternative Small Energy Systems
- College Physics
- Preventative Maintenance
Successful completion of the industrial training program and internship may lead to a diploma/ degree in the field. Employers are looking for highly-skilled and experienced industrial electricians and are ready to pay serious buck for some advanced skills and experience in the field.
V. Marine Electricians
Unlike residential and commercial electrician training programs (that are easily accessible at vocational schools, training academies and electrician career training centers), marine electrician training programs are commonly offered by specialized trade schools and schools of seamanship. Marine electrician training programs prepare students to work on electrical projects related to vessels (boats, ships, yachts) and other marine equipment. Trainees learn and practice basic electrical skills like understanding electrical terminology/principles, workplace safety, electrical safety, hand and power tools, wire ways, cable preparation, and electrical and equipment hook-ups as well as acquire some specialized skills that are essential throughout their careers. Electricians who have already completed an apprenticeship program and achieved certification may end up completing marine electrician training with an aim to advance in career.
Marine Electrician Training Program Basics
Marine electrician training programs are usually geared towards professional mariners, certified electricians and boating enthusiasts who want to acquire the practical skills needed to operate and troubleshoot marine equipment. Majority of the courses in a marine electrician training program include system design, maintenance, troubleshooting and repair, and provide summarized information of different types of electrical systems in various machinery and vehicles. Completing such kind of training program can give students advanced skills and knowledge required to move up their carrer ladders.
Marine Electrician Courses
Training programs have been established to provide trainees knowledge regarding the operations and distribution of electrical power within vessels and other maritime equipment. Understanding how this machinery work can give the scholar a much better idea of how to install and fix a wide range of electrical systems, how to check the equipment and execute various tests, and how to follow a set of blueprints to install and repair various types of wiring problems.
The courses in maritime electrician training program are very specialized and may be established upon existing expertise on electrical theory. Training program usually include such courses as:
- Basic Electrical Theory
- Batteries, Banks and Circuitry
- Multimeters and Ammeters
- Load Testing
- Battery Equalization
- Hydrometer and Specific Gravity
- Wire Ampacity and Circuit Protection
- Crimping, Distribution Panels and Switches
- System Design
- Basic Troubleshooting
- Galvanic Corrosion and Bonding
Skills Acquired with a Marine Electrician Training Program
Marine electricians are also teached to use specific hand tools, soldering irons, ohmmeters, voltmeters and phase rotation or power drills. Students as well learn how to strip insulation from wire ends, respond to system breakdowns and blown fuses, follow the safety protocol, and connecting various types of equipment to the shipboard power system/generators. All individuals interested in becoming a highly qualified marine electrician must have good mechanical abilities and manual dexterity. Working in confined space should not be an obsticle.
VI. Oil Rig Electrician
Key responsibilities of an oil platform (=offshore platform or colloquially oil rig) electrician include maintenance, service, installation and testing of the electrical systems present in motors, engines and other equipment that can be found on oil platforms.
Any industrial electrician can work on a rig as an electrician, taking into account that work conditions on offshore platform are much much more intense – not every person can handle the long, hard hours, working outdoors in all types of weather, dirty conditions, tight confines and even climbing in extreme heights. To sum it up, the work is more physically demanding and the conditions are less pleasant. However, the pay and benefits are great!
If you are not frightened by none of the above and are willing to make a small fortune, rig electrician training programs will prepare you for this rewarding career!
Training Programs for Rig Electricians
Rig Electrician Training Courses
Aspiring electricians gain extensive knowledge and skills working with electrical motors, engines, wiring systems and different types of drilling equipment. Majority of these training programs involve studies about different types of electrical equipment and troubleshooting common problems associated with various types of machinery.
Some of the courses that are often included in an oil platform electrician training program include:
- Power management of different types of generators
- Elmagco brake systems
- Drive systems
- Instrumentation interface of various systems
- Hazardous-area equipment selection and specifications
- Generic maintenance procedures for different rig equipment
- Installation and upgrades of various types of equipment
- Fault analysis
- Troubleshooting techniques
Most training programs as well cover broad overview of the different types of electrical equipment and common issues associated with drilling equipment and drilling units used in the industry today.
Completing Oil Rig Electrician Training
In order to qualify for oil rig electrician training programs you have to meet following criteria. Programs can be fairly comprehensive in scope and will give you a possibility to work on numerous different hands-on projects while you acquire necessary skills. Once you have completed all required coursework and training within this type of specialized program, you will be able to perform tasks such as:
- Trobleshooting of electrical machinery
- Maintenance and repair of power generation and distribution systems
- Maintenance and repair of DC and AC motors and control systems
- Maintenance and repair of rig electrical circuits
- Maintenance of auxiliary rig electrical equipment
- Maintenance and repair of small appliances of the rig system
Successful completi on of such oil rig electrician training program can also prepare individual for training and career in wide range of other related occupations, such as rig mechanics, roughneck, roustabout, derrick man etc.
If you can meet the requirements,do not mind getting wet and dirty, are not afraid of playing with high voltage electricity at extreme heights and like attractive job opportunities with high remunaration, then being an oil rig electrician just might be the perfect job for You!
VII. Residential Electrician
Electrician in the particular niche is responsible for the construction of an electrical system of a residential home. Required training and the course materials are very similar to ones a commercial electrician must pass. Once appropriate training is received, craftsman will be working closely with the general contractor and other trades. Best qualities of a residential electrician include:
- The ability to read and understand residential blue prints
- Knowledge of basic hand tools and drill sets
- Understands the national electrical code (=NEC) pertaining to residential construction
- Knowledge of basic residential wiring methods
- Works well with contractors and other craftsmen
VIII. Substation Electrician
A substation electrician must ensure that the hundreds of households depending on a certain substation have an uninterrupted supply of electricity. An electrical substation uses the high voltage power entered from power plants and converts it into low voltage power suitable for household (or commercial) use. The noun “substation” originated a long time ago – before electricity was distributed by a grid. As central generation stations increased in size, smaller generating plants were transformed into distribution stations. The smaller plants received their energy supply from the larger plant rather than using their own generators. At that time substations were only connected to one power station, the location of the generators, and were used as subsidiaries of that power station.
Substation is an essential component of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. As described above, substation converts high voltage into a low voltage, or the other way around in some cases, or to perform any one of several other highly important functions. Electricity might flow through more than one substation from the generating plant before reaching consumers. The voltage may be lowered in stages as it passes between substations.
Substations are typically owned and runned by the local government or utility provider, however some bulk industrial buildings or commercial buildings often have their own substation. Nevertheless, in most cases, an electrical substation will operate unattended, and depend on supervisory control and data acquisition gear for remote supervision and control.
In general a substation holds transformers that change the levels of the voltage from high transmission voltages to lower circulation levels. In some cases substations are utilized to link two distinct transmission voltages.
What’s Inside a Substation?
Generally a substation consists of switching gear, protection and control equipment, and transformers. Bigger substations utilize circuit breakers to interfere short circuits or to avoid current overloads that from time to time occur on the network. In smaller distribution stations recloser circuit breakers or fuses are usually used to protect the distribution circuits.
An electrical substation does not generally have its own generators, however, a large power plant might have a substation nearby. Some substations additionally use extra gadgets such as voltage regulators and capacitors.
Protecting the Public
Most commonly substation can be seen on the ground enclosed by fencing. As of today, a lot of them are constructed underground, or housed in special buildings. High-rises frequently have several substations located indoors. Such solution is widely common in highly populated areas – to reduce much of the noise from transformers, protect switchgear from harsh weather and to restrict pollution.
A substation with a metallic fence must be properly grounded to ensure protection of people safety – sometimes high voltage sparks up during a fault in the network. Such accidents have the potential to cause a ground rise. The substation electrician must face extreme danger to repair the fault. The currents flowing on the Earth’s surface during such accidents often cause metal objects to have a significantly high voltage and touching them presents a hazard of electrocution.
Work As a Substation Electrician
Your obligations as a substation electrician will include the proper wiring of a new substation, making repairs to damage caused by nature calamities or other accidents and updating the substation as new technology becomes available or to meet the needs of customers. You must be prepared both mentally and physically for long, hard hours often in less than perfect weather conditions.
To become a substation electrician, you have to complete an apprenticeship program with the operator of the substation – either the local government or the utility provider.
In any case, the first step even before starting your apprenticeship is to obtain your commercial driver’s license. As a substation electrical technician, you will need to use different vehicles that will require you to have a CDL, for example, derrick trucks and bucket trucks.
You will gain a place with an apprenticeship program more easily if you are a holder of this type of driver’s license when applying.
Aside from a CDL, to enter the apprenticeship program to become a substation electrician, you will need to hold a high school diploma or have completed the GED program. You must also be at least 18 years old when applying. The program consists in most cases of 144 hours per year academic classroom lectures in addition to four to five years of practical on the job training.
Through the apprenticeship program you will gain expertize in:
- Reading blueprints
- Installing electrical wiring
- Repairing and installing motors and controls
- Processes of circuits
- Software and computer skills related to the job
And practical skills gained will include:
- Repair and maintenance of complex electrical systems running much higher voltage levels than seen in public
- Reaching diversely located substations where fault has occurred
- Operations of a derrick or bucket truck so that co-workers or yourself are able to reach the faulty area
As soon as You have completed a total of 576 hours of in classroom lectures and at least 8 000 hours of practical on the job training you are qualified to apply to sit the final certification exam to become a substation electrician. A certification needs to be acquired from a local licensing board after a completed apprenticeship program. This will enable you to work as licensed substation electrician.
In terms of salary Bureau of Labor Statistics informs that the salary of a substation electrician is substantially higher than other types of electricians due to the significantly increased level of risks.
However, note that the apprentice program and certification as a substation electrician, won’t allow You to work without supervision in other electrical sectors.