Career Comparison: Electrical Technician vs. Electrician

Are an electrical technician and an electrician the same thing?

Well, no.

It is common for people to confuse the two because of the names.

But if they switched jobs for a day, they would have difficulties getting things done.

Even though both work with electricity and share knowledge and tasks, the jobs are actually different.

When it comes to opportunities, salary, responsibilities, and education, these are two different careers.

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Job Descriptions and Roles

Electrical technicians create, maintain, and repair the devices for electrical devices that use electricity.

They are knowledgeable about building machines based on schematics.

Also, they can inspect, troubleshoot, clean, calibrate, modify, upgrade, and install electrical equipment with the help of special measuring tools.

They are usually highly specialized and work on a small variety of complex machines.

Electricians, on the other hand, design and execute the electrical plan, bringing power to the essential sections of a residential or commercial building.

For that, they need to know how to read blueprints and specifications, run wires and connections, inspect existing installations, and maintain particular issues.

Both can work in the same field, but when the electrical construction is completed, the electrician takes on another project.

The technician, however, will stay and keep working on repairing and maintaining more complex and specific systems at certain locations.

Career Training

To become an electrical technician, you typically need a 2-year associate’s degree in electronic or electrical engineering technology.

You can earn one at a community college, vocational, or technical school.

You will obtain knowledge of electrical motors, math, linear electronics, technical wiring, etc.

To become an electrician, you need a high-school diploma.

They usually start in the apprenticeship held by local employers or labor groups, separate companies, or employer associations.

However, they will have to go through a technical school first.

Most states require electricians to pass a licensure exam to be able to practice.

To stay updated in the industry, they will have to pass the test every few years.

An apprenticeship usually takes from 4 to 5 years.

Each year you will have to complete a minimum of 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training.

The training is paid for at about $11 to $20 per hour.

This makes 30-50% of the salary of an experienced electrician.

During the training, you will learn electrical theory, math, code requirements, blueprint reading, first-aid and safety, soldering, etc.

Potential Salary

The average wage of electrical technicians in the U.S. is $20.66 per hour, ranging between $23,000 and $74,000 annually.

If you have skills in automation, your salary can go up to $79,000.

Meanwhile, the average salary of an electrician is $25.35 per hour, with a median of around $52,000.

Their specialization also affects their salary.

For instance, electricians working with solar energy can make $96,000, while residential electricians can earn around $70,000 annually.

In general, for both careers, specializations and experience are the key aspects influencing the salary.

With more specializations, your chances of landing a job are higher.

Job Outlook

Both careers have a positive outlook since both rely on electronics and electricity.

The employment growth for electrical technicians, though, will be slower due to two factors:

  • Fewer manufacturers in the U.S.
  • Continued increase in automation

And so, the demand is lower for this profession.

Also, their chances to succeed as entrepreneurs are lower than electricians.

For example, homeowners would always hire electricians to install systems in their homes.

Outside the season of construction building and maintenance, electricians may face periods of unemployment.

But if they specialize in eco-friendly technology, they may have more attractive opportunities.

Also, with industries widely switching to automation, there will be a lot more wiring work.

How to Find Electrical Jobs Near You

For employers, it can be quite difficult to find qualified applicants for the electrician and electrical technician positions.

So, they spread the word to reach applicants and use the following mediums for recruitment:

  • Online ads on specialized websites
  • Social media
  • Forums
  • Government job ads

Conclusion

Both careers are involved in electricity, so it’s understandable why people think of them as the same job.

If you continually learn, improve, and gain experience, both careers are rewarding in their own way.

They also come with a stable work environment.

So the demand for electricians and electrical technicians won’t be gone soon, which makes them both great career choices.

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Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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