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Industrial electricians are skilled tradesmen. They are different from traditional electricians because of their specialized skills and knowledge related to electrical issues in industrial settings, such as in warehouses and manufacturing facilities.
Industrial electricians install, service, and repair wiring issues, fixtures, electrical devices and other machinery. While you have the knowledge of a standard electrician, you may also be provided specialized training for your role. Like many industrial careers for tradespeople, your specific role and responsibilities will vary based on the setting and company.
Industrial electricians use building and equipment blueprints and schematics to assist them in installing, examining, testing, replacing, or repairing switches, wiring, conduits, and other devices or components in the plant. They are responsible for troubleshooting electrical problems, as well as repair and maintenance. In most cases, you will be required to do shiftwork. Overtime and weekends are also common to address issues. In most cases, you will report to a lead electrician or supervisor.
Industrial electricians have a specialized skill set, and this is reflected in their compensation packages. The average salary for industrial electricians in Canada is about $68,000 per year or just over $30 per hour.
New industrial electricians can expect a starting salary of approximately $48,000. Over time, with experience, you can make more than $100,000 annually. Bonuses, overtime, and other factors could help increase your earning potential.
Industrial electricians keep commercial buildings operating efficiently by performing a wide range of tasks. Every company is unique, so your role will depend on your employer. For example, older facilities will tend to require more maintenance and upgrades, whereas new facilities may focus on installation and calibration. Some tasks that could be part of your role include the following:
The vast majority of industrial electricians work for companies in manufacturing, construction, and oil and gas. While there are positions across the country, regions with a larger industrial presence, such as in Ontario and Alberta, will provide you with more diverse opportunities.
Industrial electricians maintain and repair industrial equipment in plants, mills, mines, and other industrial settings. Some of the skills required for industrial electrician jobs include:
There are a few ways to approach a career as an industrial electrician. A high school education and fluency in English are usually required. Many also enroll in at a trade school for electricians. Following your education, you will complete an apprenticeship of four or five years, often in conjunction with courses in industrial electrical equipment.
Even entry level jobs require certification and training, as well as experience. Certification requirements vary by province. A Red Seal interprovincial trade certification equips an industrial electrician to work anywhere in the country, making it the most popular form of certification.
One of the unique aspects of a career as an industrial electrician is that most people who take on this role stay in it for the duration of their careers.
However, you may choose to focus on a specific industry or specialty. Some tradesmen make the shift to other electrical services or become an independent contractor. Industrial electricians can also rise to supervisory positions.