what is an industrial electrician?

As an industrial electrician, you diagnose electrical failures during the manufacturing process. You use diagnostic equipment to identify and resolve the issues to minimise downtimes, and you require an in-depth understanding of electrical systems to repair any faults promptly. As an industrial electrician, it is important to understand blueprints and technical drawings of electrical systems and the electrical code specifications.

If a building needs to overhaul its electrical system, you install and test it to ensure it's safe and usable. You also install systems in brand-new buildings that don't have any wiring yet. If an industrial building has electrical faults, you fix the equipment and work out what the problem is. You provide year-round maintenance and repair services to keep everything in good working order.

As an industrial electrician, you work on large-scale electrical projects and complex electrical systems. For instance, you are likely to work in large electrical firms like power generation stations or solar energy production. Some industrial electricians also work in automotive industries like car manufacturing. Companies that rely on heavy machinery to manufacture goods hire industrial electricians to avoid downtimes caused by electrical system malfunctions. Therefore, you can work for any manufacturing or service industry.

Would working as an industrial electrician suit your safety skills and good vision? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive as an industrial electrician.

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average salary of an industrial electrician

The average salary for an industrial electrician in Canada is around $80,000 a year, or just over $37 an hour. 

When you enter the market, you can expect a starting salary of around $53,000. With time and experience, you can earn over $105,000 a year. Bonuses, overtime and other elements go a long way to increasing your potential income.

what factors affect the salary of an industrial electrician?

Your level of experience and qualifications dictate your compensation package. Apprentices make the lowest salaries since they have the least experience and fewest qualifications. However, master industrial electricians negotiate higher pay due to their expertise and experience. The hours you work also affect your pay. For instance, working part-time attracts a lower salary than working full-time. Overtime rates also allow you to earn more since the hourly rates are higher.

Sometimes, your location influences your pay due to the fluctuating demands and cost of living. Working in a large city improves your salary prospects since employers consider the cost of living when calculating salaries.

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types of industrial electricians

The types of industrial electricians depend on experience level, including:

  • apprentice industrial electricians: as an apprentice industrial electrician, you work and attend training sessions to acquire knowledge in electrical systems. Most employers compensate you for your time, but you perform minimal supportive roles.
  • journeyman industrial electricians: when you complete the apprenticeship programme, you become a journeyman. You perform electrical equipment repairs, maintenance and installation tasks based on your level of expertise. You follow a supervisor's instructions and ensure safety measures are adhered to in the workplace.
  • master industrial electricians: when you log sufficient hours as a journeyman, you qualify to become a master electrician. Your job is to supervise various tasks and train journeymen in their duties. You can also open your own business as an electrician.
blue collar worker looking at smart phone
blue collar worker looking at smart phone

working as an industrial electrician

Working as an industrial electrician means taking on a lot of responsibility. However, it also means being part of a high-paying field with good job security. Here's what you should know about working as an industrial electrician:


industrial electrician skills and education

To become an industrial electrician in Canada, a specific educational and training path is typically followed. Here are the steps and requirements:

  • high school education: begin by completing your high school education or equivalent, which is a fundamental requirement for any trade or profession in Canada.
  • pre-apprenticeship training: although not mandatory, completing a pre-apprenticeship program in electrical trades can be beneficial. These programs provide a foundational understanding of electrical systems and introduce you to the skills needed for the trade.
  • apprenticeship training:
    • the most common and formal path to become an industrial electrician is through an apprenticeship. This involves a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
    • seek an apprenticeship with a certified electrical contractor or a union. You will work under the guidance of experienced electricians while attending trade school.
    • apprenticeships typically last four to five years, during which you'll learn about electrical systems, blueprints, safety protocols, and other relevant topics.
  • trade school or technical college:
    • as part of your apprenticeship, you'll likely attend a trade school or technical college to receive formal education related to electrical theory, codes, and practices.
    • this education is crucial to understanding the principles behind electrical work and to successfully complete your apprenticeship.
  • certification and licensing:
    • upon completing your apprenticeship and education, you may need to write an exam to obtain your Certificate of Qualification, also known as a journeyman's certificate. The requirements for certification can vary by province or territory.
    • Some provinces may also require you to obtain a license to work as an electrician. Licensing requirements may include passing an exam and meeting specific criteria.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills that industrial electricians require include:

  • physical stamina and dexterity: you do manual work that requires physical stamina and attention to detail. Apart from lifting heavy objects, you also climb ladders or scaffolding when repairing or inspecting equipment. Manual dexterity enables you to manage the detailed aspects of working with electrical systems.
  • administrative skills: as an industrial electrician, you deal with a lot of paperwork, like writing reports and preparing maintenance schedules for various equipment. Organisational and administrative skills come in handy.
  • caution: as an industrial electrician, you should be cautious when repairing industrial equipment to avoid accidents or injuries. Caution helps you adhere to safe working practices.


FAQs about working as an industrial electrician


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