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ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGY

Every time we throw on a light switch, we are using electricity - that's no surprise. But have you ever thought about how electricity is used in commercial or industrial installations? What about hospitals? If you were a patient undergoing surgery, would you worry about the power (and all the fancy equipment keeping you alive) failing?

Electrical technologists or technicians design, assemble, test and modify electrical circuits, equipment, machinery and systems. They work in electrical technology, electrical machinery design, industrial electrical controls and power generation. They work with electrical equipment for power-generation and transmission used by electric utilities, with electric motors, machinery controls, lighting and wiring in buildings, automobiles and aircraft.

To be a good electrical technologist or technician, you need an aptitude for math and science, including physics. You need to be analytical, and able to interpret plans and diagrams as well as test materials and products.

Some of the activities you might do as an electrical technologist or technician are:

  • Design, assemble, test and modify electrical circuits, devices, equipment, machinery, and systems for residential, commercial, institutional and industrial installations
  • Prepare industrial project cost estimates from electrical drawings
  • Install, monitor, troubleshoot and maintain electrical control and solid state equipment
  • Diagnose problems in electrical or mechanical systems
  • Work toward solving electrical problems
  • Assess the need for specific types of fuses and circuit breakers, and make recommendations regarding these specifications
  • Prepare drawings and specifications under supervision
  • Perform tests on wiring and cable installations, transformers, generators, motors, programmable logic controllers and microprocessors
  • Operate computers and use computer applications to interface with electrical equipment

Where Will You Work?

As an electrical technologist or technician, you might work for an oil or gas company, engineering consulting firm, building maintenance firm or with an electrical or general contractor in construction. You may find yourself in high technology, the forest industry, transportation industry or in local or provincial government.

Whether you work in an industrial plant, laboratory or construction site, you will likely work regular hours. You may, however, have to occasionally work overtime to meet construction deadlines.

During the course of your work, you could be exposed to electrical shock, and mechanical and chemical hazards, so you need to understand and follow safety procedures. You may use a wide variety of testing equipment and hand tools, and may be required to lift test equipment weighing up to 25kg.

How Much Will You Earn?

Technologist: $75,000/yr
Technician: $68,000/yr
GradTech: $40,000/yr

How Does the Future Look?

The employment outlook in this occupation is expected to be above average compared to other occupations. The outlook will be particularly good for those graduates skilled in the use of computers.

How Can You Get Started?

In high school, be sure to take courses in English, mathematics and physics.

What Will You Need?

To pursue this career you should enjoy working with tools, equipment, instruments and machinery at tasks requiring precision. You should have an ability to analyze problems and find innovative solutions.

You need to be able to identify and discriminate colours because electrical wiring is colour coded. You will also need good oral and written communication skills, as well as the ability to work as part of a team.

Post Secondary Possibilities

College
Program
Accredited Status
Discipline
BCIT
Electronics - Computer Control
Technologist
Electrical/Electronics
BCIT Electronics - Power Technologist Electrical/Electronics
BCIT Electronics - Process Automation & Instrumentation Technologist Electrical/Electronics
BCIT Electronics - Telecommunication Technologist Electrical/Electronics
  • Programs listed are those accredited by the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC); check www.asttbc.org for updates on accredited programs.
  • Check with your career facilitator or counsellor for other sources of information applicable to education options for this technology.
  • Salary figures indicated in the 'How Much Will You Earn?' section are extracted from ASTTBC's Member Compensation Survey or other Canadian sources applicable to the specific technology discipline. These figures are representative only; actual figures will vary depending on academic training, practical experience, job responsibilities and location of employment.
  • The TechWORKS! web site is an important online resource and provides links to career information that will be of interest to students pursuing a career in technology.

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