what is an electrical technician?

As an electrical technician, you install or maintain electrical systems in residential and commercial settings. You work with various equipment, including switches, transformers, generators and circuit breakers. You also resolve issues and repair electrical systems to ensure they work properly. For instance, you could check for faulty wiring or short circuits in electrical systems.

Electrical technicians often work with electrical engineers to create engineering plans for systems and perform supporting roles. You ensure effective spare parts management and supervise project improvement processes as an electrical technician.

Most electrical technicians work in the maintenance department of a company and conduct field repairs on electrical, mechanical and instrumentation systems. During maintenance duties, you coordinate shutdowns to reduce downtimes and system failure rates. As well as improving maintenance standards, you lead efforts in equipment standardisation by carrying out overhauls to ensure best practices within the plant. In manufacturing, an electrical technician performs process improvements and enhances production safety by ensuring the proper functioning of electrical systems.

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average salary of an electrical technician

Entry level electrical technicians can earn between $22 to $27 an hour whilst senior electrical technicians can earn between $34 - $43 per hour.

what affects the salary of an electrical technician?

The level of education and experience usually make a difference in remuneration packages. You are likely to earn more than an electrical technician with minimal qualifications when you have extensive qualifications and skills. You earn a lower wage when you have entry-level experience, but electrical technicians with over five years of experience can negotiate higher wages.

Close up - Smiling male looking away.
Close up - Smiling male looking away.
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types of electrical technicians

The types of electrical technicians depend on the level of expertise and licencing. To become an electrical technician, you require intense on-the-job training to learn the ropes. The more hours of supervised training you complete, the higher your qualifications. When you master the necessary techniques, you can work independently.

  • apprentice electrical technician: as an apprentice electrical technician, you complete a four-year training programme and work under supervision as you gain hands-on experience in the role.
  • journeyman electrical technician: as a journeyman electrical technician, you have at least two years of work experience and extensive knowledge of installing and maintaining electrical systems. You also tackle electrical jobs without supervision.
  • master electrical technician: as a master electrical technician, you supervise other electrical technicians. You work independently, and you are certified to open your own business.

working as an electrical technician

Working as an electrical technician requires knowledge of reading blueprints and designing electrical systems. Let's explore the role's specific tasks, work environment and career outlook.

A photo of a man working while smiling in a storage house
A photo of a man working while smiling in a storage house

education and skills

To become an electrical engineering technician you need to complete a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering – Electrical (Level 6).

work experience: you require extensive work experience to work unsupervised. You can gain experience through apprenticeship or as a journeyman. Entry-level roles allow you to shadow experienced electrical technicians and learn from them. Advanced diploma opportunities also improve your career prospects in the role.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills and competencies expected of an electrical technician include:

  • problem-solving skills: as an electrical technician, you design electrical systems and calibrate them to ensure they function as expected. You require effective problem-solving skills to diagnose problems in electrical components and devise creative solutions to resolve them. Problem-solving skills make you think outside the box and troubleshoot electrical problems.
  • willingness to learn: it is important to cultivate your knowledge of physics and mathematics to develop your practical skills. Your willingness to learn new skills helps you stay updated on the latest technologies and improve the quality of your work. Regularly improving your skills also helps you maintain your competitive advantage in the industry.
  • diagnostic skills: you won't always find the source of an electrical problem immediately. Sometimes, you identify the problem by conducting tests before you begin any repairs. You require superb diagnostic skills to service equipment effectively in conventional and unconventional ways.
  • business knowledge: whether you become an independent contractor or work for an established company, you need good time management and customer service skills.
  • communication skills: you explain problems and solutions to people who may not understand all aspects of electrical systems, which requires good communication skills. These skills also help you train your apprentices after you're promoted.
  • excellent colour vision: to troubleshoot most electrical systems, you must identify wires by colour to avoid accidents. Hence, you require excellent colour vision when you are designing electrical components.

FAQs about working as an electrical technician

Here are the most asked questions about working as an electrical technician:

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