So you’re wondering what you’re going to do with your life…
You want to have a job where you make a positive difference. Where there’s a real need for what you do. A job with a future. Think electric. Everyone depends on electricity. We all use it every day. That’s not going to change.
If you’re looking for a career where you make top dollar, where you can live just about anywhere and where there are plenty of opportunities, the electricity sector is for you. It offers dozens and dozens of different kinds of jobs with great pay and lots of room to advance.
Are you good with your hands? A math whiz? A technology guru? A people person? No matter what flavour of person you are, there’s a job for you in electricity. The variety of jobs in the sector is simply astounding. And as the current workforce gets older the demand for skilled people keeps growing. Your options keep on multiplying.
With the coming wave of retirements in the industry and a rise spending on infrastructure, women will become an increasingly important part of the electricity workforce. Employers are looking to hire intelligent, capable, hard-working women to join their organizations. Now is your chance to become a woman of power.
Finding a career in electricity can take many pathways. Each has its own set of steps that one must take but all can lead you to a rewarding, stable, well-paying career.
If you like to learn things by actually doing them, an apprenticeship is the way to go. On-the-job training (alongside an electrician, for example) counts for about 80% of apprenticeships. The remaining 20% involves classroom instruction at a community college or other training institution. This is where you get to connect your practical know-how with the theory behind it.
One of the best rewards of apprenticeships is that you get paid while you’re learning. No need to rack up huge student debt in order to get a good job. Once you earn your certification you can write your own ticket… like working in different parts of Canada, being your own boss or teaching others to get where you are.
Pre-apprenticeship programs are a good option for students interested in developing their skills. Part-time Secondary School Apprenticeships, Ace-It and Foundation Programs are all designed to help you take your first steps towards getting your certification.
Community Colleges specialize in offering a combination of practical and theoretical knowledge. They are great places to learn the skills you need for a variety of jobs. Some schools even offer co-op programs that allow you to get real-world job experience between semesters.
There are so many college programs that can open the door to a career in the electricity sector, we couldn’t possibly go into them all. Seeing that the electrical grid is entirely based on technology, it’s pretty obvious that a large number of jobs require specialized technical knowledge. If you want a job in the industry, you can’t go wrong with a diploma as an electrical technologist or technician.
Colleges offer the advantage of being accessible to more people. Since they are found in a larger number of cities and towns than universities, you have a better chance of receiving an education or near the place where you live.
Typically, college programs run 2-3 years. Talk to your school guidance counselor if you’d like to find out more about your options.
Certain jobs are only open to you if you have qualifications such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a specialized field. People from all kinds of university backgrounds work in the electricity sector, from Environmental Science or Finance majors to Civil Engineers. Given technical challenges of running a system as complex as the power grid, it’s not suprising that the industry relies heavily on the Engineering profession, with Electrical, Civil and Mechanical Engineers being the most common.
During your university studies, you have the option of taking courses in other fields. Knowledge you’ve acquired outside your particular field (in business administration or communications for example) can really come in handy in your job.
Generally, a bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to complete, a master’s degree is another 2 years, and it takes a few years more to get all the way to a PhD. Some professions such as Engineering, require you pass a test and gain work experience after graduation before you can get your full credentials.