Industrial Electrician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Industrial electricians focus on performing electrical work in industrial or commercial buildings. The job description and duties for this position may vary depending on the employer, with some industrial electricians working in construction and others maintaining existing electrical systems. Candidates usually train for this job through an apprenticeship.

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Job Description for an Industrial Electrician

An industrial electrician installs, services and repairs wiring, conduits, fixtures and other electrical devices and systems in an industrial or commercial setting. Industrial electricians may work in different industries. They often work primarily either in maintenance or in construction, and their specific duties may depend on the employer. All work performed by an industrial electrician must meet the regulations of the National Electrical Code.

Job Duties for an Industrial Electrician

Industrial electricians' job duties may include running electronic tests and inspections, cleaning contacts or circuit boards, ensuring that systems are grounded and installing outlets, lighting fixtures and switches. Preventative measures such as oiling motors, bending conduit and replacing old wiring are also among their duties. When electrical systems break down, industrial electricians are responsible for troubleshooting and fixing the problem.

Education and Career Requirements for an Industrial Electrician

A common way to become an industrial electrician is to complete an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are four years in length, and students take classroom instruction (about 144 hours each year) and on-the-job instruction (2,000 hours per year). If they enroll in an apprenticeship program through a community college, they may also earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. Courses may include electrical wiring, electricity fundamentals, electrical controls, blueprint reading and electrical code. Prospective apprentices may find programs sponsored by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), both of which follow training standards developed by the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee.

Another training option is to begin with a school program in industrial electrical technology, either at the associate's degree or certificate level. Credits earned in these programs can often be transferred into apprenticeships.

After completing an apprenticeship, the applicant can take a state examination to become licensed as a journeyman electrician. While some states offer licenses specifically for journeyman industrial electricians, others offer a general journeyman license that covers all specialties. The journeyman exam tests candidates on the National Electrical Code, electrical theory and building and electric codes at the state and local levels. With a combination of additional experience and/or education as determined by the state, a licensed electrician can become a master electrician.

Industrial electricians must take continuing education classes during their working life to keep up with changes in the field. This may involve taking courses in National Electrical Code changes and management and safety training.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

The average annual salary of electricians, including industrial electricians, was $53,560 in May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The job outlook for electricians is good; the BLS predicted employment for these workers to increase 20% between 2012 and 2022. This above-average level of job growth can be attributed to structures requiring more wiring than in the past, an overall increase in the construction industry and the necessary maintenance of dated electrical equipment in factories.

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