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How Do I Become an Industrial Electrician?

An industrial electrician is responsible for ensuring that electrical systems are in pristine working order in an industrial setting.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2014
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There are four steps required to become an industrial electrician: post-secondary training, related work experience, certification, and completing the job interview process. An industrial electrician is responsible for installing, testing, troubleshooting, and repairing industrial electrical equipment. This type of electrician works in manufacturing companies, mining, and steel, as well as for the maintenance departments of large institutions.

People who are mechanically inclined, skilled at working with tools, and have excellent hand-to-eye coordination often find the greatest enjoyment in this type of role. While this career has traditionally been male-dominated, an increasing number of women are training to become industrial electricians. People in this position may be required to work overnight and weekend shifts, but they are typically well compensated. In the US, many states have guidelines about who can be asked to perform electrical work, specifically restricting certain tasks to licensed electricians.

There are two options for obtaining the necessary training to become an industrial electrician: post-secondary education or an apprenticeship. Electrician training programs are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. These programs are typically two to three years in length, and focus on covering both the theory and practical aspects of this job.

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Apprenticeship programs typically take longer, as the students are working full time and attending school on a part-time basis. For an apprentice, the vast majority of the learning is done on the job. The classroom component covers the theory behind the standard electrical procedures. Although this route takes longer, it often provides the greatest earning potential, which may be a very important factor.

Related work experience is obtained through on-the-job training as part of the industrial electrician training program or through an apprentice program. While completing a job placement, candidates have an opportunity to practice the skills learned in the classroom and gain both experience and references. Students should talk with their admissions counselor about the type of job placement programs available.

Industrial electrician is a skilled trade, and in many locations, it is regulated by the government. All electricians must complete a certification examination to become a journeyman electrician. The examination is usually multiple choice and is designed to test the basic knowledge of the candidate.

During the job interview process to become an industrial electrician, applicant should take the time to prepare for the interview. It's often helpful to think of a list of standard interview questions and prepare the answers in advance. Some employers will have a short test of the electrician's skills as part of the interview process, and applicants should do their best to stay calm, take their time, and focus on fixing the problem at hand.

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Discuss this Article

pleonasm
Post 3

@bythewell - There are a lot of jobs which have this kind of responsibility. Every person who works on car assembly, for example, or when building an office block, or when organizing a concert.

That's why all those jobs generally have backups and fail safe measures in place to ensure that the people who do them are never the sole responsible party.

I'm sure it's the same with industrial electricians. In fact, probably more so here than with home repair electricians. They most likely work in pairs or groups and certainly have someone check up on the work they are doing all the time.

I understand why you'd feel that way, but I think that electricity just seems so scary, it makes the job sound scary as well.

bythewell
Post 2

I'm not sure I would have the confidence to become an industrial electrician. Aside from the danger you would face on your own behalf, you would also be responsible for the safety of dozens of other other. If you didn't do your job properly, or just made a small mistake, you could end up electrocuting someone, or even just damaging machinery that costs millions of dollars.

I'm sure they are trained to the fullest extent, but I think even with all that training I would be terrified in case I did something wrong. With so much hanging over your head, it would almost seem inevitable.

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