Industrial Electrical Repairers Overview
Industrial electrical repairers must have knowledge of electrical equipment and electronics. In addition, many employers prefer candidates with an associate degree in electronics and they often require a certification. In turn, job opportunities will be best for those that possess an associate degree, certification or related experience will find the best opportunities in a slowly growing job market.
Nature of the Work for Industrial Electrical Repairers
Complex electronic equipment is a necessary component for many businesses and organizations. Industrial controls can automatically direct and monitor production processes factory floors, transmitters can provide communication links and the Federal Government relies on missile control systems for national defense. Industrial electrical repairers install, maintain and repair these complex pieces of electronic equipment.
Also known as field technicians, industrial electrical repairers commonly must travel to factories or other businesses to repair equipment. Many have an assigned area for regular maintenance. They respond to calls when equipment breaks down ad needs repairing.
Electrical and electronic equipment are two different types of industrial equipment. Electrical parts provide power while electronic components control equipment – often equipment has both types of components.
Self-monitoring industrial electronic equipment alerts repairers to malfunctions. First, industrial electrical repairers must check for common troubleshooting issues including defective components and loose connections. If those routine checks come up short, they may try schematics or the manufacturers specifications that provide instructions on problem tracing. Diagnosis’s are often more challenging now that automated electronic control systems are increasingly complex. Hand tools including screwdrivers and smoldering irons as well as diagnostic tools such as a multimeter which measures voltage, current and resistance and a signal generator which provides test signals help industrial electrical repairers complete their job.
Factories can’t let their production stand idle, so often industrial electrical repairers must remove and replace defective units such as circuit boards rather than taking on the complex repair process. Sometimes these units are discarded, but other times they are sent to an outside repair shop or the manufacturer.
Industrial electrical repairers often retrofit old equipment with newer automated control devices to help combat their limited control systems or ones for which replacement parts are no longer available.
Work of industrial electrical repairers is often completed on factory floors where noise, dirt, heat and vibration are common. They may also have to do heavy lifting or work in strange positions. Protective goggles, hardhats and other safety guidelines must be followed. Ladders or elevated equipment for example often requires a harness to be worn to avoid falls. Before industrial electrical repairers work on a machine they must make sure others aren’t able to start the equipment during the repair process and that the power to the unit is locked to avoid electric shock.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Industrial Electrical Repairers
For employment a knowledge of electronics and electrical equipment is a must. Typically employers also look for an electronics associate degree from a technical school or community college as well. On occasion a high school diploma is sufficient. At the entry level, industrial electrical repairers can expect to work along side an experienced technician to develop their skills so they can later work independently.
Good eyesight and color perception can help industrial electrical repairers as they need to work with intricate components in electronic equipment. In the field, industrial electrical repairers work closely with customers so good communication and a neat appearance is a plus. A driver’s license is also sometimes required.
The Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians both offer certification programs for many levels of competence and areas of specialty. For certification, industrial electrical repairers must pass an exam and meet several prerequisites. Even when certifications aren’t required, they can help industrial electrical repairers stand out in the job market and boost chances for advancement.
Advanced training and experience leads industrial electrical repairers to become troubleshooters or specialists who help other repairers diagnose tough problems. Leadership skills can help industrial electrical repairers become supervisors. With experience, some workers open their own repair shops.
Top 10 Most Popular Electrical/Electronics Equipment Installation and Repair Schools
1. Mt San Antonio College (Walnut, California)
2. South Florida Institute of Technology (Miami, Florida)
3. Wichita Technical Institute, Wichita (Main) (Wichita, Kansas)
4. Lincoln College of Technology, Columbia (Columbia, Maryland)
5. New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich (Warwick, Rhode Island)
6. Industrial Management Training Institute (Waterbury, Connecticut)
7. East Los Angeles College (Monterey Park, California)
8. Contra Costa College (San Pablo, California)
9. Harper College (Palatine, Illinois)
10. TESST College of Technology (Multiple Campus Locations)
Employment and Job Outlook for Industrial Electrical Repairers
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average (increase 3 - 6%).
Job Opportunities & Competition
Good or favorable job opportunities. Job openings compared with job seekers may be in rough balance.
Roughly 78,000 industrial electrical repairers are working, many of whom work for repair and maintenance establishments.
Employment of industrial electrical repairers is expected to grow more slowly than average compared to other occupations. Businesses are looking to install more sophisticated equipment to increase and improve automation and cut costs. But even as workers are required to install electronic sensors, robots and controls to automate processes, an improved reliability will reduce the need for industrial electrical repairers to fix malfunctions. That said, malfunctions can be costly as the halt production so industrial electrical repairers will still be needed.
In addition to employment growth, jobs will become available as workers retire or leave the occupation for other careers.
Earnings and Salary for Industrial Electrical Repairers
Industrial electrical repairers earn median hourly wages of $22.03. The highest 10 percent earned above $31.23, the lowest 10 percent earned under $13.78 and the middle 50 percent earned between $17.43 and $26.72. The Federal Government and building equipment contractors are the two largest employers of industrial electrical repairers. They paid median hourly wages of $25.31 and $22.46 respectively.
Hourly Wage for Industrial Electrical Repairers
On average, Industrial Electrical Repairers earn $22.03 per hour.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook