Electrician, electrical technician – they’re the same thing, right?
A lot of people confuse these two just because their names resemble each other. But, if their jobs were switched for a day, they’d have some difficulties getting things done. Yes, that is despite the fact that both of them work with electricity and share some basic knowledge of the trade and actual tasks.
In reality, the two careers are different regarding opportunities, education, salary, and responsibilities. Read on to find out how.
Electrician Technician Salary
Electrical technicians in the U.S. earn an average wage of $20.66 and a total pay of $23,000-$74,000. With a skill in Automation, the annual payment can go up to $79,000.
On average, an electrician in the U.S. earns $25.35 per hour, with a median annual income of around $52,000. Additionally, specialization plays an important role, seeing as electricians with knowledge in solar energy can make up to $96,000, while residential electricians end up with $70,000 per year.
All in all, for both career paths, the experience and specializations are key factors that influence the salary. The more specializations you have, the greater the chances of landing a high-paying job.
2 Different Job Descriptions and Roles
An electrical technician creates, maintains and repairs electrical components of devices that use electricity. They know how to build electrical machines based on reading schematics and, with the help of specialized measuring and diagnostic devices, to inspect, clean, troubleshoot, modify, calibrate, upgrade, install and uninstall electrical equipment.
Usually, they are highly specialized and work on a small variety of machines due to their complexity.
On the other hand, an electrician designs and executes the electrical plan that brings the appropriate power to important sections of a residential or commercial building. That involves reading blueprints and specifications, inspecting existing installations, running wires and connections, and maintaining and repairing specific problems.
They will meet on the field, but as soon as the electrical construction is done, the electrician moves to the next project; whereas the technician will remain and focus on maintaining and repairing more specific and complex systems at particular locations.
Electrician Technician Training and Differences with Electrician
Becoming an electrical technician in the U.S. typically requires a 2-year associate’s degree in electrical or electronic engineering technology from a vocational school, community college or technical school. They gain knowledge of digital electronics, safety procedures, direct currents, electrical motors, technical writing, math, linear electronics, and so on.
You need a high-school diploma to become an electrician. Usually, electricians start out with apprenticeship programs sponsored by a joint employer or labor groups, individual companies or employer associations. However, some go through a technical school first.
To be able to practice, most states require for electricians to pass a test (with questions related to the National, State and Local Code) which they’ll have to repeat every few years to stay in touch with the updates in the industry.
An electrician apprenticeship in the U.S. lasts from 4 to 5 years, and for each year they must complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training where they make $11 to $20 per hour (30-50% of what an experienced electrician makes in their area).
During technical training, they learn electrical theory and code requirements, mathematics, blueprint reading, first-aid and safety practices, maybe even soldering, fire alarms, and communications.
Since we rely heavily on electronics and electricity, both careers are worth your attention.
However, the growth for electrical technicians will be slow due to fewer manufacturers in the US and the continued increase in automation. Thus, there’s less need for this profession on site.
Furthermore, the chances for them to succeed on the entrepreneurial path are lower than that of electricians. A homeowner, for example, will always hire an electrician and not a technician to install the lighting system in their house.
Electricians may experience periods of unemployment outside the season of construction building and maintenance. But, they have more attractive opportunities if they specialize in environmentally friendly technology. Besides, as more industries turn to automated systems, there’ll be more wiring to be installed and maintained.
How to Find Technician Jobs Near You
Employers have difficulties in finding qualified applicants for both electrical technicians and electricians. That is why they seek to have a broader reach by word of mouth, as well as online advertisements on specialized websites, forums, social media, LinkedIn or government’s job postings.
Seeing as both career paths are based on the same fundamental laws of electricity, it’s easy to understand why people think of them as being one and the same.
They are rewarding in their own way if the employee is focused on continuous learning and improving, and gaining experience. Also, they present quite a stable working environment in a healthy market.
One thing is sure, though. The need for electrical technicians and electricians won’t be gone too soon, so they are both worth considering as career choices from this point of view.