Security and fire alarm systems installers act as technicians for alarm systems in commercial buildings or residences. When installing systems, they use blueprints and electrical layouts to determine where to place items such as control panels, sensors and cameras. They also connect the systems to electrical or telephone wiring and ensure the systems are working properly before leaving the premises. When repairing or maintaining a system, they run tests and examine the system’s components. They may have to repair loose connections or replace malfunctioning parts.
Alarm Installers Job Summary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that 63,690 people were employed as security and fire alarm systems installers as of May 2009.
The BLS projects that employment in this field will grow much faster than average.
Alarm systems installers should have a high school degree and some training in working with electrical equipment.
Security and fire alarm systems installers work with a variety of tools, such as wire pullers, drills, screwdrivers and soldering irons to install and repair electrical equipment. Additional equipment is used to test installed systems being maintained or repaired. Installers also interact with customers, supervisors and co-workers regularly.
Work takes place in a variety of locations, and installers may have to travel to various locations within a day or week. Work in some locations may involve crawling into small confined spaces or working on ladders. Installations may take place both indoors and outdoors.
Job hours vary, but technicians who work for a company, rather than by project, usually work a regular 40 hour week. Many technicians are also on call for repairs that may be needed at night or on weekends.
Education, Training and Licensing
Security and fire alarm systems installers should have a high school diploma as well as knowledge of mathematics, electronics and electrical principles. They need to be able to read blueprints and electrical diagrams and must ensure that work is performed to meet relevant code requirements.
Training, licensing and other requirements vary from state to state. Some people take courses at technical schools to obtain basic knowledge and then receive on-the-job training from more experienced installers. Some employers offer their own training courses, and some manufacturers or organizations like the National Alarm Association of America also offer training manuals and videos. Individual states may require licensing, registration and/or bonding for installers.
Security and fire alarm systems installers must be detail oriented enough to ensure that tasks are performed to set specifications each and every time, have good eye-hand coordination, enjoy working with others while being able to perform tasks independently and have good customer service skills. Alarm technicians can advance by becoming installation supervisors.
Installer Job Projections, Career Outlook and Earnings
BLS data indicates that the average annual wage for security and fire alarm systems installers in 2009 was $39,830. The lowest paid 10% of workers in this occupation earned approximately $24,180 that year. The middle 50% earned between $29,840 and $47,500. The top 10% of earners made approximately $60,320 per year.
The BLS estimates that 63,690 workers were employed in this occupation as of May 2009. The majority of technicians were employed by the investigation and security services industry and by building contractors.
What is the jobs otlook for alarm installers? Employment growth in this field is expected to greatly exceed average, with a 20% or higher increase projected over the next decade. Growth is expected to come primarily through greater demand for security systems.