Electrician and Low Voltage Technician Job Preview and Expectations
Electricians install, connect, test, and maintain electrical systems for a variety of purposes, including climate control, security, and communications. They also may install and maintain the electronic controls for machines in business and industry. Although most electricians specialize in construction or maintenance, a growing number do both.
Low Voltage Technicians test, service, and maintain low voltage electronic and control systems equipment. Technicians are often divided into two categories: Voice Data Video technicians (or VDV techs), and Fire Life Safety technicians (or FLS techs). Voice Data Video technicians establish communications systems by installing, operating, and maintaining voice, data, and video telecommunications network circuits and equipment. Fire Life Safety technicians work on proprietary systems related to fire, life, and safety.
Electricians work with blueprints when they install electrical systems in factories, office buildings, homes, and other structures. Blueprints indicate the locations of circuits, outlets, load centers, panel boards, and other equipment. Electricians must follow the National Electric Code and comply with State and local building codes when they install these systems. In factories and offices, they first place conduit (pipe or tubing) inside designated partitions, walls, or other concealed areas. They also fasten to the walls small metal or plastic boxes that will house electrical switches and outlets. They then pull insulated wires or cables through the conduit to complete circuits between these boxes. In lighter construction, such as residential, plastic-covered wire usually is used instead of conduit.
Electricians' work is sometimes strenuous. They bend conduit, stand for long periods, and frequently work on ladders and scaffolds. Their working environment varies, depending on the type of job. Some may work in dusty, dirty, hot, or wet conditions, or in confined areas, ditches, or other uncomfortable places. Electricians risk injury from electrical shock, falls, and cuts; to avoid injuries, they must follow strict safety procedures. Some electricians may have to travel great distances to jobsites.
Learn more about what working an electrician is like by visiting WECA's YouTube Channel and watching the "WECA Electrician Career" video.