A maintenance electrician works to ensure that electrical and electronic equipment remains in working order by repairing damaged systems, replacing faulty parts and taking necessary preventative measures. The kind of work done on maintenance electrician jobs depends on the area in which the electrician focuses — either residential or industrial. The kinds of systems used in each vary in complexity. The majority of maintenance electricians are employed by electrical contracting firms and the rest work in other industries, with few being self-employed.
Electricians working in a residential environment might sometimes be called on by a client to also do some minor construction work and installation. A maintenance electrician might be asked to fix or install new lighting, simply repair or replace an old or faulty fuse box or even rewire an entire house. When working in an industrial environment, a maintenance electrician is often tasked with overseeing systems of much greater complexity. He or she might be tasked with maintaining the lighting and air conditioning systems of an office building or complex, or he or she might work in a factory, repairing generators and transformers or overseeing the electrical network supplying the power to industrial robots.
Maintenance electricians must be able to diagnose any given electrical problems and provide an accurate assessment of the damage done as well as the amount of time and effort required to remedy those problems. The electrician must think quickly and use his or her in-depth knowledge of the systems involved to solve the problem in a manner that is both cost- and time-efficient in order to minimize any inconvenience. In such a setting where complex systems are involved and a large number of people spend their day, the amount of responsibility increases as well. The electrician working in any of these environments is responsible for notifying the management if a workplace becomes too hazardous because of some electrical problem.
The training for a maintenance electrician is a four-year process carried out through a paid apprenticeship program that emphasizes both on-the-job and classroom experience. Apprentices begin their on-site training under an experienced electrician by practicing basic techniques such as setting anchors and attaching conduits. They eventually move on to intermediate-level tasks such as full installation and testing of conduits, outlets and switches as well as learning to diagram electrical systems. In the classroom, apprentices learn about safety, electrical theory, mathematics and blueprint reading. Before their four-year term is complete, they will have mastered all non-specific electrical knowledge.