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.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 1,280
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.
Source: 2016 Census
Completion of secondary school may be required to work in this occupation.
Industrial electricians must be certified to work in B.C. To become certified, workers must complete a four-year apprenticeship program. The B.C. government is introducing skilled trades certification beginning with a total of 10 trades, including industrial electricians. Certification will be implemented in phases between 2022 and 2024. Learn more about skilled trades certification.
Depending on the project, workers may need to have an electrical installation permit with Technical Safety BC.
Work experience and in-class instruction are part of apprenticeship programs. Some part-time and online programs may be available. To apprentice, workers must be sponsored by an employer. A person who successfully completes an apprenticeship program and the final certification exam earns a Certificate of Qualification. Workers with significant experience in the trade may be able to challenge the certification exam to earn the Certificate of Qualification without completing a formal apprenticeship. For more information on earning a Certificate of Qualification, visit SkilledTradesBC.
To work in other provinces
Industrial electricians may need Red Seal certification to work in other provinces. This can be earned by passing an exam and proving significant work experience.
Workers coming to B.C.
Industrial electricians who are certified by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information, such as a letter of good standing, references or a criminal record check.
Workers who trained outside of Canada
Industrial electricians who trained outside of Canada and have never received certification from a Canadian jurisdiction will likely need a full assessment. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants. Contact SkilledTradesBC for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
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.
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.