An electrical mechanic typically performs maintenance, installation, and repair for electrical components. This can include work in high and low voltage settings with a variety of systems, including those using microprocessors, hydraulics, and pneumatics. Positions at several grades are often available and it may be necessary to have a license to work in this field. Licensure typically requires a set number of hours of apprenticeship under supervision and the ability to pass an examination covering basic principles. Job opportunities can include employment with a specific company to handle its systems, as well as jobs with independent firms that provide services as needed.
One aspect of this work involves the development and installation of electrical systems. An electrical mechanic meets with clients and supervisors to discuss what is needed and the best way to meet that need. This can include a site evaluation and some calculations to determine system load and other parameters. Technicians select the best system and install it, following safety protocols to make sure components are properly fitted.
Maintenance over time also falls under job responsibilities for an electrical mechanic. Electrical systems can fail if they are not kept in good working order. This includes routine inspections and replacement of parts as they near the end of their lifetime, along with activities like cleaning contacts and keeping work environments tidy. System logs may be generated to record when maintenance was performed for the benefit of other workers and auditors, in the event the system is inspected by a government official or regulatory representative.
Electrical systems can also need repairs. Usually, an electrical mechanic needs to be able to perform a rapid diagnostic to find out why a system malfunctioned or failed in order to determine the best approach to managing it. The system may require, for example, a replacement of a corroded component so it will work properly. Frayed or damaged wiring could be a problem, or a microprocessor might be damaged. This work may take place under pressure or in adverse conditions, like during storms.
Continuing education can be important for a working electrical mechanic. It is important to keep pace with changes in the building code as well as adjustments to standards and practices in the industry. Electrical mechanics may need to recertify and could consider getting additional qualifications in specific systems. This can be important for people who want to work on complex, demanding components like navigational systems in ships, where mistakes could have serious consequences for operators.