An electrician and an electrical technician may sound similar, but they have unique duties. There is a significant difference in their responsibilities, education, training, and licensing requirements. It's vital to consider roles, educational needs, training, and licensing before deciding which career path is best for you. This blog post will highlight the differences between electrical technicians and electricians.
To properly maintain and repair electrical systems and components, electricians need hands-on experience in their field. Electricians work at businesses, residential properties, commercial projects, and construction sites. They are commonly employed by electrical contractors or as in-house electricians for businesses.
Electrical workers are responsible for handling many different job duties.
Some of these responsibilities include
- Installing and repairing electrical systems, wiring, and circuits.
- Connecting electricity systems to power lines that supply energy to businesses.
- Ensuring proper electrical system installation through tests.
- Using electrical schematics to plan wiring paths.
- Including safety and distribution components in the package.
- Routinely performing preventive maintenance to maintain old systems and wiring from malfunctioning.
- Understanding the cause of malfunctions and repairing broken or malfunctioning equipment or wiring.
An electrical technician is responsible for installing and maintaining heavy circuitry, motor controls, and piping. However, they do not typically work on the essential components of the machines. They are instead responsible for anything between the power source and the motor.
Electrical technicians collaborate with other professionals, such as plumbers and HVAC, to complete tasks. They collaborate with electrical engineers to ensure that a project is constructed correctly. The more experience an electrical technician can accumulate, the more significant the potential for career advancement is.
- As an electrical technician, you must possess and develop specific core abilities. Some of these include:
- Attention to minor details is crucial to safety and a quality product.
- An electrical technician may be required to operate in extreme conditions. For instance, hot or wet conditions can make electricity use dangerous.
- You must be familiar with electrical component connections.
- The ability to solve problems effectively is highly beneficial.
Owners and electrical engineers employ some electrical technicians to provide service to various clients. These technicians travel to different locations depending on the clients they are assisting. This type of employment allows electrical professionals to utilize multiple skills by participating in numerous projects.
One company or organization may employ other electrical technicians, like a factory or laboratory. These technicians are solely dedicated to servicing their employer's electricity. This employment can provide more stability for those who don't want to travel.
The primary difference between an electrician and an electrical technician is that an electrician specializes in electricity, while an electrical technician is more general.
A licensed and qualified electrical technician can perform office or field work to maintain and repair electrical systems. These duties are accomplished under the supervision of electrical engineers. They may design electrical systems in the office and inspect, maintain and improve systems while on the job.
Conversely, electricians often participate in installing electrical systems and equipment in the field. Anyone, including residential and commercial homeowners and business owners, can hire electricians to install or repair systems and equipment, after which they'll move on to the next client or project.
Electricians don't require a lot of education to complete their jobs. They need a high school diploma and an apprenticeship or college to obtain a license. The instruction is more practical than with electrical technicians.
To become a licensed journeyman electrician in Texas, you must be 18 years old and have worked at least 8,000 hours under a licensed master electrician. After which, you can take the online examination to become licensed. You must complete the exam to receive a license that allows you to work as an electrician in Texas.
To become an electrical technician in Texas, you must have a two-year associate degree in electrical technology or electronic engineering technology from an accredited college, vocational school, or technical school. You can also enroll in a career school in Texas, such as Austin Career Institute, that grants certification in place of an associate degree.
Electrical technicians learn most of their skills at school and on the job. There are no formal programs that involve apprenticeship. In the U.S., a license is not necessary for electrical technicians. An associate degree in the appropriate field can lead to employment as an electrical technician.
Electricians must have a license to work. In Texas, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) requires that all legal residents legally be licensed to work in the state. Depending on the training and experience level, you can apply for an apprentice electrician license, a residential wireman license, a journeyman electrician license, or a master electrician license. Each license has specific requirements for age, training, and cost.
A journeyman electrician license requires 7,000 hours of on-the-job training under a master electrician. This program allows you to take the exam before completing the 8,000 hours to receive a license. You must also pay a $30 non-refundable fee to the TDLR to receive approval to take the examinations. All licenses are renewed annually. Additionally, you must take exams to progress from one level to the next.
The career opportunities for an electrician and an electrical technician can be quite different. In this section, we discuss the discrepancies.
In Texas, an electrician has various career options in different fields. They are typically compensated daily in most instances. Some of the common areas where they are employed are:
- Automobile parts manufacturing
- Non-residential construction
- Local government entities
- Construction equipment dealers
- Electrical engineer jobs
An electrical technician has a variety of employment opportunities in both public and private organizations:
- Electrical Engineer
- Electrical Design Engineer
- Field Service Engineer
- Energy Manager
- Electrical Supervisor
- UPS Technician
- Project Manager
Some common occupations of an electrical tech include:
- Manufacturing companies
- Automobile manufacturers
- IT firms
- Government jobs
- Electrical service departments
Both professions have a positive reputation because they depend on technology and electricity. The growth of employment for electrical technicians, however, will be slower due to two factors:
- Fewer domestic manufacturers exist in the U.S.
- A continued increase in automation
The average salary of electrical technicians in the U.S. is anywhere from $23,000 to $74,000 annually. If you have expertise in automation, your income can increase to $79,000. Meanwhile, the average salary of an electrician is $25.35 per hour, with a median of around $52,000. Generally, the wages of both careers are determined by specialization, experience, and specialty. With more specialized degrees, your chances of finding employment are higher.