Industrial electricians (NOC 7242)

About this job

Industrial electricians inspect, install, maintain, test, troubleshoot and repair industrial electrical equipment and associated electrical and electronic controls. They work for electrical contractors and maintenance departments of factories, plants, mines, shipyards and other industrial establishments.

Industrial electricians need to have strong analytical skills and be able to work with their hands. They should be comfortable bending, stretching and lifting and be able to work standing up for long periods of time. People in this job should have good communication skills and be able to work on their own or as part of a team. 

Common job titles
  • electrician, diesel - railway
  • electrician, mill / mine / plant
  • electrician, rail transport
  • electrician, rig
  • electrician, ship / shipyard
  • installer-maintainer, railway signal

Duties

Industrial electricians:

  • Read and understand drawings, blueprints, schematics and electrical code requirements to decide the layout of industrial electrical equipment installations
  • Install, examine, replace or repair electrical wiring, receptacles, switch boxes, conduits, feeders, fibre-optic and coaxial cable assemblies, lighting fixtures and other electrical components
  • Test electrical and electronic equipment and parts for continuity, current, voltage and resistance
  • Maintain, repair, install and test switchgear, transformers, switchboard meters, regulators and reactors
  • Maintain, repair, test and install electrical motors, generators, alternators, industrial storage batteries and hydraulic and pneumatic electrical control systems
  • Troubleshoot, maintain and repair industrial, electrical and electronic control systems and other related devices
  • Conduct maintenance programs and keep records
  • May set up and maintain programmable logic controller (PLC)
  • May install, maintain and adjust industrial instrumentation and related devices

Work environment

Industrial electricians typically work 40 hours per week, with some overtime. Shift work is common at pulp mills, saw mills, smelting, mining and large-scale resource operations that often operate 24/7.

In the construction industry, industrial electricians work indoors and outdoors. When outdoors, they may experience bad weather conditions. Industrial electricians working in other industries generally work indoors. Some industrial projects may require workers to relocate temporarily to remote job sites.

The work environment can be noisy and dirty with strong smells. Following workplace health and safety regulations is important. Work may be done in cramped spaces and at heights using ladders and scaffolding. Training and education on safety practices are usually provided by the employer on the job.

Insights from industry

Low interest rates and a growing economy have helped increase industrial activity in the province and have created jobs for industrial electricians. Large construction and transportation projects, especially in the Lower Mainland, continue to be a source of job growth for industrial electricians.

Technology and automation have been positive and challenging for industrial electricians. Advances in technology means that fewer workers are needed to do the same amount of work. However, the increased use of automation in mills, mines, smelting, oil and gas operations and in construction creates demand for industrial electricians who can install and maintain these new systems. Technology has also improved diagnostic equipment. This has reduced some of the physical activities needed and has created demand for workers with specialized training and knowledge. 

There is overlap for the skills needed by the industrial electrician trade and those of construction, millwright and instrumentation trades.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, workers receive their journeyperson papers and are certified industrial electricians.

Those with extensive experience may be promoted to an electrician supervisor position. After gaining experience in the field, some industrial electricians may choose to work as independent contractors or start their own business.

Additional resources