Low Voltage Technician Job Description
Low voltage technicians install electrical systems such as fire alarms, security systems, surveillance equipment, and audiovisual or multimedia equipment. They may maintain systems for a single organization, such as a school, or may install systems for a company's clients, such as for a home security company. This is an ideal job for anyone who enjoys working independently and who has in-depth technical knowledge and strong attention to detail. Most low voltage technicians work full-time, and may work evenings and weekends, especially if they install systems for residential clients.
Low Voltage Technician Duties and Responsibilities
A low voltage technician's day-to-day duties depend on what type of electrical systems they install and whether they specialize in residential or commercial systems. However, there are a few core tasks that all low voltage technicians share:
Read Blueprints and Plans
To install electrical systems, low voltage technicians typically start by reading drawings, schematics, blueprints, and other visual aids that tell them where and how to install each component of the system.
When things go wrong with a low-voltage system, the technician runs several diagnostic tests to determine whether there's an issue with the wiring or a part, or if the entire system requires replacement. If they work for a company that serves clients, they must visit the customer's residence to inspect the system in person.
As the experts in low voltage systems, it's the technician's job to determine what tools and materials they need to install or repair a system, along with the likely cost and time for completion. They give this estimate to the client or submit documentation to their supervisor for approval.
Any time they install, repair, or update a system, low voltage technicians make a detailed log of what they did. For consumer-oriented businesses, they note the customer's name and address, as well as what kind of system they installed and what materials they used. If they install systems at their workplace, they keep a detailed inventory of all parts and materials, as well as anything they use and anything they order. They also make note of problems, malfunctions, and repairs.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Low voltage technicians who work for an organization rather than for multiple clients not only install systems but also maintain them. They create a set schedule to inspect systems and ensure everything is working properly, so they can catch problems early before they compromise the system or lead to costly and time-consuming repairs.
Low Voltage Technician Skills and Qualifications
Working as a low voltage technician is a highly technical role that requires advanced electrical knowledge and being comfortable working independently. Employers typically seek candidates with either formal training or previous experience, along with the following skillset:
- Technical expertise – low voltage technicians may specialize in one type of system, such as security alarms or audio-visual equipment, but many times they install and repair a wide range of systems, requiring in-depth and diverse technical knowledge
- Computer skills – low voltage technicians use computers to maintain and update customer information, repair logs, inventory, and similar records
- Physical endurance – this is sometimes a physically demanding job that requires standing for extended periods, climbing ladders, and occasionally working outside in extreme temperatures. Low voltage technicians may also lift and pull items weighing up to 50 pounds
- Safety knowledge – there's always a risk when working with electrical systems, and low voltage technicians must know what protective gear to use and how to work with electricity without putting themselves at risk or causing a fire or other accident
- Organization and time management – low voltage technicians do much of their work with minimal supervision, requiring them to keep up with work and maintenance schedules and make sure their tools and materials are in order
- Communication skills – low voltage technicians also prepare written reports and communicate verbally with customers and with colleagues and supervisors.
Tools of the Trade
Low voltage technicians need a pretty extensive toolkit to do their work, and use the following tools regularly:
- Electrical testing instruments (voltmeter, ohmmeter)
- Power tools (drills, saws)
- Protective gear (goggles, gloves, hard hats)
Low Voltage Technician Education and Training
Low voltage technicians typically need at least an associate's degree in a relevant field, although some employers will accept two or more years of college coursework without a degree, or a combination of formal training and hands-on experience. Alternatively, some low voltage technicians enter the profession through apprenticeship programs where they learn on the job. Though not mandatory, licensing in low voltage installation and repair or as an electrician is preferred by some employers and can enhance job prospects. Some organizations may also require a journeyman license.
Low Voltage Technician Salary and Outlook
Low voltage technicians, who are a type of electrician, earn a median annual salary of $54,110 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those in the top 10 percent may earn as much as $92,690 or more, and those in the bottom 10 percent may earn $32,180 or less. The BLS expects employment opportunities for electricians such as low voltage technicians to increase by nine percent between 2016 and 2026, which is a similar rate of growth as that for other occupations.
Are you ready to launch your career as a low voltage technician? If so, we have some of the top resources from around the web to help you get started.
National Low Voltage Contractors Association – joining this professional association gives members status as licensed low voltage electrical contractors. The NLVCA also offers information on specific state licensing requirements.
National Electrical Contractors Association – this industry association offers in-person and online training programs, in addition to networking events. NECA also advocates for the electrical contractor community and provides several in-depth resources such as whitepapers.
Circuit Breakers: A Technician's Guide to Low- and Medium-Voltage Circuit Breakers – working with low-voltage electrical systems requires a very different approach than working with high-voltage systems. In this book, learn every facet of this process, ranging from installation to maintenance.
Journeyman, Residential, Low Voltage, and Fire Alarm Electrician Licensure Exams – some employers require licensing, and even if they don't, having one can boost your employment prospects. This comprehensive study guide will help you prepare for and pass your licensing exam for working as a low voltage technician.