Taking on a trade is never a bad idea. In these times when layoffs happen all the time it seems that corporate jobs don’t have the stability that they used to have. Knowing a trade can have you working for the rest of your life and can even be turned into a big business.
One of the most lucrative trades you can learn is as an electrician. New technology has modernized the trade considerably over the last few years so this is one of the best times ever to become an electrician.
To really make sure that you are getting top dollar for your services and to never need to look for clients again, you should definitely specialize. Whether you are looking to be a commercial electrical contractor or residential, specialization is the way to go.
In this article, we go over several of the types of specializations that are the most in-demand right now.
Wind turbine electrician
With renewable energy being the focus of the future of energy, it is no surprise that an electrician specialized in wind turbines would be at the top of the list of specializations that you should be looking into.
Wind farms are popping up all over the country and there is a shortage of qualified electricians to build them, operate them and repair them. The technicians are responsible for working with the sensitive electronics that are unique to these types of applications.
The training is also very specialized so there is no need to get an advanced degree in electronic engineering. You can go to a technical college or community college and get an associates degree. Or, you can become an apprentice and work for a year on the job with classroom training.
Within that year there will be 144 hours of technical training in the classroom and 2,200 hours on the job.
The work is not easy as you will be dealing with small enclosed spaces and even working very high off the ground. You may also be asked to travel around the country since wind farms are scattered around. The pay, however, however is an average of $52,000 per year.
If you are up for a mental and physical challenge unlike any other job, then you may thrive as an electrical lineman. These are the guys that fix the electrical lines overhead so they have to be very courageous.
Every electrician is important, but it’s the lineman that is responsible for keeping the lights on. These men and women are the ones that respond during a crisis to keep the electricity running. They are the first responders after a storm or natural disaster to get the lines repaired.
It’s a life lived on the edge as some of them have to be helicoptered onto the line to then work at a great height, with a lot of heavy gear and the risk of serious injury or worse always looming.
Because of the nature of the work, it often calls for being on the job during odd hours. Also, in rough conditions and often far from home even for months at a time.
It is definitely not for everybody, but the type of person who loves these kinds of challenges will really thrive as a lineman. The pay is pretty good since the skills are very specialized. The average salary is around $80,000 but there is always the possibility of overtime so this can be even higher.
Automation systems electrician
Houses are getting smarter and smarter with the evolution of the Internet of Things. Devices such as smart thermostats can connect with apps to your phone and even the weather report to heat the house autonomously. A doorbell camera can turn on automatically and transmit the images to wherever you are. These are just a couple of examples of how a smart home operates.
And these things need to be connect to the other appliances. And the person to do this is the automation systems electrician. This is a specialized skill that allows the smart thermostat to connect correctly to the furnace, for instance.
This system is also beneficial because of how the various devices can be monitored. This electrician understands the data and can spot any point of failure with the ability to then troubleshoot before the system goes down.
Because of the increased energy efficiency this sector is growing by billions of dollars per year and there is a shortage of electricians capable of doing the job. As with most electrician jobs it can be physically demanding especially when working on a commercial building.
The training for this type of electrician is not that demanding asd these systems are low voltage. In some cases you don’t even need to be a licensed electrician. Since this is a very specialized field, the salaries are good for those starting out. The average salary is around $54,000 with many senior technicians making clost to $100,000.
Another green job that is constantly growing is a solar panel technician. Along with wind power, the solar power sector is growing by leaps and bounds every year. Renewable energy is becoming a major source of electricity all over the world so there is a huge demand for those with the expertise to install, repair and maintain solar panel systems.
There are both residential and commercial applications for solar power whcih requires wiring the high voltage equipment to the building power supply.
The education required is quite specialized with code training, licensure and certifications. Having a bachelor’s degree is usually required along with the additional licenses and certifications.
Being an any kind of electrician is always a good idea as there is a huge demand for these skills. When you specialize, you are setting yourself up to be always in demand and sought out for your expertise. And the money usually follows as people are paid more for that expertise.