Burglar and fire alarm installers are responsible for installing electrical signaling systems known as alarms. These alarms serve a variety of purposes. They may notify a private central office of fire or burglary on a subscriber’s premises. They may automatically dial 911 if a burglary or fire is detected on the property. Or they may ring an alarm if a burglary or fire is detected. Using blueprints of electrical layouts and building plans, burglar and fire alarm installers set up wired and wireless alarm systems, conduits, electronic, sensors, and signaling units.
Installers may install these alarm systems in either residential or commercial buildings. Some installers install more complex security systems that may include circuit television, surveillance systems, and intercom systems. All installers use a variety of hand and power tools to complete their work. Many operate soldering irons while on the job. Many experienced installers are trained to become repairers of burglar and fire alarms, although some employers train employees in repair first and installation second.
Burglar and fire alarm installers should have mechanical and mathematical aptitudes. They need to be able to climb ladders and should not be afraid of heights or confined spaces. They also should have a neat appearance, good customer relation skills, and a stable work history. It is also important for them to have good color perception.
Burglar and fire alarm installers earn an average wage of $11.90. Almost 70% are paid on an hourly basis, and about 50% earn bonuses and commissions. Installers typically work a 40-hour week and are often on stand-by for emergency repair work. Benefits may include paid vacation, sick leave, and, in some firms, health insurance.
Training and Education
Installers are usually required to have taken high school courses in mathematics, basic electricity, and electronics. Applicants need to have the skills necessary to operate electrician’s tools and they need to be able to learn the basics of alarm systems quickly. They need to understand the equipment they are installing, and this includes knowing how to run a circuit wire indoors and out, how to connect equipment into a circuit, and how to tell if a circuit is open, closed, or grounded. They need to be able to read a wire drawing and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Some employers train their new employees on the job through videos and technical manuals. Others offer manufacturer’s training programs. Applicants for installer positions who have construction experience or knowledge of electrical principles have a large advantage in the hiring process. Their criminal record must be clear of any felony convictions. A few companies require their workers to be bondable. With experience, installers can become installation supervisors but advance may stop there without a college degree. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of burglar and fire alarm installers is expected to increase more slowly than the average. Most job openings will result from the need to replace workers who retire, change occupations, or leave their jobs for other reasons. Job opportunities will be best for those with formal training, comprehensive knowledge of electrical and electronic equipment, and work experience.