Electricity is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Harnessing this force is one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments. Using it to power our lives has made modern society possible.
Electricity is also the basis for some of our greatest career opportunities. This is especially true for electrical workers that specialize, such as electricians and electrical technicians, two of the most in-demand fields for electrical workers right now.
While electricians and electrical technicians both work on electrical systems, they have different responsibilities, qualifications and job opportunities. Beyond this, they both require different types of training.
How are Electrician and Electrical Technician Jobs Different?
Electricity heats and lights our homes. It gives us hot water and powers the marvel of our contemporary appliances. It flows from a generation source — usually a power plant — right to a wall on your house. From there it is directed to fulfill many of our needs.
Electricity also powers many of our devices and machines. From our mobile phones and computers to incredibly sophisticated manufacturing equipment, we flip a switch and electricity brings our world to life.
These two general uses of electricity — powering a home vs. powering a device or machine — also form the basis of two promising electricity-related careers: Electricians and electrical technicians.
Electricians install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair the wiring in our buildings. Specifically, residential electricians wire our homes, inspect and correct ineffective wiring, and repair our wiring, circuit breakers and meters when they go wrong.
We sometimes say electricians have superpowers because they tame electricity and direct it to purposes that make our lives convenient and safe.
On the other hand, electrical technicians work with electrical machines and devices. They repair our phones and computers, maintain the electrical function of devices like highly advanced medical diagnostic equipment and repair electrical machinery when it breaks down.
Electrical technicians also have superpowers when they fix or maintain the devices that save lives. Ask any surgeon who relies on delicate heart monitors for a successful operation and she’ll tell you how much she values electrical technicians.
Skills Electricians Need
To become an electrician, you must know:
- How electricity works and how we use it in our buildings
- The use of an electrician’s tools and electrical components
- Best practices for safety according to national standards
A great electrician training program will provide a solid foundation in the principles of electricity and hands-on experience using it in a safe environment.
For example, you will need to know how to correctly and safely wire a circuit, splice wires together, attach electrical boxes to buildings and work with cable and conduit along branch and feeder circuits.
You will also need to know how to maintain, troubleshoot and repair circuit breakers, light fixtures, receptacles and switches.
You will need to know how to work with fans, appliances and other devices that run on electric motors.
And you will need to learn how to do all of these things in compliance with the National Electrical Code® and work effectively while on service calls.
Skills Electrical Technicians Need
If you find yourself more drawn to working on electrical devices and machines than residences and buildings, an electrical technician career may be a great choice for you.
Like electricians, electrical technicians need:
- A solid foundation in the fundamentals of electricity
- Knowledge about the way it is used to power our devices and machines
A strong electrical technician training program will provide you with a solid overview of electrical systems along with the math, automation, motor controls and assembly principles that govern them.
It will also prepare you to work safely in a production environment where commercial and industrial equipment is used.
As an electrical technician you will need to understand geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T). The topics of GD&T involve the “language,” measurements and standards engineers use when they design the dimensions and tolerances of electrical equipment.
You will need to learn how to work on programmable logic controllers (PLC), including PLC network communication.
You will need to be comfortable working with robots and robot-controlled equipment and devices.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) emerges, experts expect literally billions of electrical devices to be connected to the Internet. Every one of them will need the services of a trained electrical technician.
Online Training for Career as an Electrical Worker
This is a great time to start a career as either an electrician or electrical technician. Our buildings and public infrastructure need electricians. And our devices need the expertise of well-prepared electrical technicians.
An online Residential Electrician or Electrical Technician training course is a great way to get the knowledge and hands-on experience you need to get started in a great career.
Learn More: Online Electrical Training Courses