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High voltage electricians are skilled in the maintenance of overhead, underground, power plants and other central electrical systems. They have a thorough knowledge of maintaining electrical systems with charges above 600 volts. High voltage electricians have a dangerous job so employers check background, education, and other factors before hiring. High voltage technicians are needed in any city and state because electricity is necessary to maintain our underground transportation systems, and other large infrastructures.
Duties and Responsibilities
High voltage electricians must test, repair, and maintain electrical systems. They may be required to repair large power outages, or prevent them from occurring. They must ensure existing wiring and connections meet standards and are not at risk of being damaged. They use various tools to test volts, ohms, and other instruments to test the safety of electrical components. They may also be needed to inspect large electrical systems to ensure they meet state and local building codes. In larger environments they may maintain motors, transformers, and other electrical controllers attached to large power systems. They must understand state and local building codes, and know OSHA, Environmental Protection Agency, and other electrical regulations.
High voltage electricians may work indoors or outside in extreme conditions depending on their location. They may be required to lift heavy objects, stand for long periods of time or kneel in small places for extended amounts of time. Physical upper body strength and agility is required. Travel may be involved depending on the severity of the electrical issue, location, and source of the problem. They often work full-time and in some cases they can be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week in case of an emergency.
High voltage electricians do not typically attend college, but rather work apprenticeships for approximately four years to receive on-the-job training. Unions in their area may offer apprenticeship programs. For example, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers or the National Electrical Contractors Association may hold training and classroom lessons.
States and other local areas require electricians to be licensed. Each state has different requirements, however each offers an examination testing the electrician's knowledge of building codes, and other aspects of central power systems.
On average, high voltage electricians earn $45,000 per year. Location, region, and experience may also affect whether they receive higher or lower salaries. Those with seven or more years experience can expect a higher salary.