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Alarm System Technician Training Programs and Courses

Read about training programs and courses for aspiring alarm system technicians. Learn about program coursework, and review employment outlook statistics for security and fire alarm system installers.

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Essential Information

Training for alarm system technicians is offered through several sources, including technical schools and trade associations as well as alarm system manufacturers and dealers. On-the-job training is also common. There are two main focuses for alarm system training: intrusion and fire detection. Professional organizations, such as the Automatic Fire Alarm Association, and alarm system manufacturers and dealers typically offer programs in only one of these areas, while the training associated with technical schools generally covers both.

Some trade groups, including the Electronic Security Association, also offer training in video surveillance and access control. Typically, there are no educational prerequisites for these programs, and some are even open to high school students. In addition to business settings, alarm system training might be offered in a classroom setting or online. The Electronic Security Association grants certification credentials to experienced technicians who pass exams.

Program Coursework

Coursework varies greatly between alarm system technician program providers.

  • Technical school courses usually cover:
    • Commercial wiring
    • Electrical theory for construction
    • Installing alarm systems
    • Installing security systems
    • National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements
  • Fire alarm associations' courses might include:
    • Automatic sprinkler basics
    • Fire alarm planning
    • Low-voltage basics
    • Placing heat detectors
    • Placing smoke detectors
  • Security industry associations offer courses such as:
    • Home security automation
    • Installing cameras
    • Introduction to closed circuit TV
    • Intrusion systems
    • Managing security projects

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for security and fire alarm system installers were expected to grow much faster than the average for all jobs at 33% in the period 2010-2020. In May 2012, the median hourly wage in this field was $19.73 (www.bls.gov).

Certification and Continuing Education

There are a number of potential certifications for alarm system technicians. Many are available through the Electronic Security Association (ESA), including Level I and Level II Certified Alarm/Security Technician (CAT), Certified Service Technician (CST) and Certified Systems Integrator (CSI). Additionally, some manufacturers offer certification for installation and maintenance of their specific systems.

Certification in fire alarm systems can be earned through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). Certifications include Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Systems, Fire Alarm Systems and Automatic Sprinkler System Layout.

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