Industrial Electrician

Average SalaryAvg. Hourly Wage
$71,200$32.00
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With modern industrial growth and technological innovations, it’s a great time to become an industrial electrician.

Developments in the field make this type of career more dynamic, which isn’t common now for other conventional electrician jobs.

Some innovations that appeared within recent years that indicate the outbreak for the profession include:

  • The increased adoption of localized power sources such as hydro, wind, and solar.
  • Discovery of hydraulic fracturing, a new gas drilling technique, that revolutionized the position of America in the global energy market.
  • The increased power and decreased size of computers together with the development of the IoT (Internet of Things).

Industrial electricians are responsible for a wide range of tasks.

Their duties include incorporating sensors and telemetry devices into industrial machinery.

It provides real-time updates on maintenance needs and productivity.

They also develop electrical systems of the new generation of gas and oil extraction equipment used in hydraulic fracturing and do a lot more types of wiring work.

These developments appear at the time when the job market is thriving since many industrial employers are getting more profit and growth than ever before.

Role of Industrial Electricians

The easiest way to determine the work of industrial electricians is to look at their work settings.

They might work in the following environments:

  • Factories.
  • Manufacturing plants.
  • Production lines.
  • Mining operations.
  • Power stations.
  • Smelters.
  • Industrial construction sites.
  • Shipyards.
  • Oil and gas refineries and platforms.
  • Scientific research facilities.

The installation, repair, and maintenance of industrial machinery systems are unique to the duties of industrial electricians.

Such systems include anything from conveyors to industrial robots at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant as well as control panels and power systems that support steel smelters in Pittsburgh’s foundries.

Industrial electricians can work with electrical systems’ machinery anywhere with a medium to large resource extraction operations or production facilities.

According to the Industrial Training Authority (ITA), industrial electricians need the following distinguishing skills:

  • Perform electrical work with motors and generators.
  • Inspect, install, repair, service, and troubleshoot industrial electrical systems.
  • Work with high voltage systems.
  • Perform electrical work with heavy-duty machinery.
  • Perform electrical work on industrial construction sites.
  • Industrial electricians in a broad sense can include those who work with electrical systems that pertain to the marine, mining, oil, gas, vehicle production, and aircraft production industries.
  • Perform electrical work with pumps, environmental regulating systems, and industrial lighting systems.
  • Perform electrical work with industrial communications systems.

Besides knowing the National Electrical Code (NEC) in general, industrial electricians need to be well-versed in the NEC sections related to industrial settings.

Industrial electricians work on the types of machinery and equipment, including:

  • Portable cables over 600 volts.
  • Switchgear and industrial control assemblies.
  • Industrial installations of overcurrent protection.
  • Electric welders.
  • Capacitors, resistors, reactors, and storage batteries over 1,000 volts.
  • Cranes and hoists.
  • Motors, motor circuits, and controllers.
  • Electrode-type boilers.
  • Electric-discharge lighting systems over 1,000 volts.
  • Industrial machinery.

Industrial electricians should be skillful in and knowledgeable about:

  • Hazardous locations and classes.
  • Services exceeding 1,000 volts.
  • Feeder and service load calculations.

Professional Certification and State Licensing Requirements for Industrial Electricians

In some jurisdictions, industrial and commercial electricians are classified under the same category for licensure.

Others, however, recognize them as separate professions.

To determine which classification is applied in your area, check it with the chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) or the local regulatory agency of your jurisdiction.

Pretty much all licensing jurisdictions follow the progressing through the three standard licensing levels model for becoming an industrial electrician:

Apprentice

During the apprenticeship, you can gain on-the-job training and gain field experience with 1,000 classroom hours of safety protocols and electrical science and theory study.

Most apprenticeships include 4 to 6 thousand hours (4-6 years) of field experience.

After you complete the apprenticeship as required by your jurisdiction, you can take the Journeyman Exam.

By passing the examination, you can move to the next licensing level and become a journeyman.

Journeyman

While being a journeyman, you won’t have to work under task-specific supervision.

Typically, you can work independently within a team that has a master electrician.

After two to four years of work as a journeyman, you can take the exam to become a master electrician.

When you pass it, you can advance to the next licensing level and become a master electrician.

Master

Master electricians can work as team leaders or foremen, which includes supervising apprentices and journeymen.

Master electricians work independently within the scope of industrial electrical work and can bid for contracts.

In this case, you will need an additional contractor’s license.

Professional Certification

A few national organizations offer relevant certifications.

In some jurisdictions, going through one of these organizations is a licensing process requirement.

There is also a voluntary national certification that shouldn’t be confused with the state or jurisdictional licensing, which is a requirement of the government licensing boards.

Typically, employers, not the licensing boards, are the ones requiring this type of certification.

The national certification organizations include:

SGS Certification

SGS Electrical Installations Certification.

Industrial Association of Electrical Inspectors

Certified Electrical Inspector (CEI).

ISA Certification Programs

  • ISA Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST).
  • Certified Automation Professional (CAP).

International Code Council

Commercial Electrical Inspector.

National Fire Protection Association

Certified Electrical Safety Worker (CESW).

NTT Certification

  • Electrical Code and Standards.
  • Electrical Safety.
  • Electrical Maintenance.

AVO Training Institute

Industrial Electrical Safety Inspector.

Salaries for Industrial Electricians

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor) is the government organization collecting and providing statistics on salary and other aspects of all occupations nationwide.

Their data includes the statistics for electrical repairers and installers of industrial and commercial equipment.

According to the 2015 BLS report, the average salary for these electricians was $56,670.

The top 10% of industrial electricians made an average of $79,030.

The metropolitan areas (90%) offered the highest average salaries on the West Coast:

Anchorage metro area:

  • $82,030 (average).
  • $96,210 (top 10%).

Brockton, MA metro area:

  • $77,030 (average).
  • $111,340 (top 10%).

Tri-Cities, WA metro area:

  • $74,520 (average).
  • $104,290 (top 10%).

Oakland, CA metro area:

  • $73,510 (average).
  • $99,680 (top 10%).

Bend, OR metro area:

  • $72,530 (average).
  • $90,430 (top 10%).

Fairbanks, AK metro area:

  • $71,570 (average).
  • $84,650 (top 10%).

Seattle, WA metro area:

  • $71,070 (average).
  • $98,650 (top 10%).

Salem, OR metro area:

  • $71,030 (average).
  • $101,270 (top 10%).

Albany, OR metro area:

  • $71,020 (average).
  • $79,230 (top 10%).

Sacramento, CA metro area:

  • $70,670 (average).
  • $102,300 (top 10%).

Employers of Industrial Electricians

In 2015, the major employers for industrial electricians were reported to be:

  • Building equipment contractors.
  • Household appliances and electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers.
  • Federal government.
  • Resource extraction and energy production.
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing.
  • Electronic and precision equipment repair/maintenance.

Major employers of industrial electricians in the American job market include:

San Antonio

  • Commercial Metals Company.
  • Schlumberger.
  • Alcoa – Aluminum Company of America.
  • Critical Electric Systems Group – CESG.
  • San Antonio Water System.

Los Angeles

  • LU Electric.
  • Los Angeles County.
  • Extron Electronics.
  • Kite Pharma.
  • Bergelectric.

Phoenix

  • Rogers Electric.
  • Konecranes Lifting Businesses.
  • Superlite Block.
  • Delta Construction Partners.
  • The city of Phoenix.

Chicago

  • Huhtamaki.
  • Federal-Mogul.
  • Trillium Construction.
  • Real Alloy.
  • Tradesmen International.

New York City

  • United Nations.
  • Stacey Electric Service.
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
  • CDM Smith.
  • Amtrak.
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