Electric Meter Technician Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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Get the truth about an electric meter technician's salary, training requirements and career prospects. Read the job description and see the pros and cons of becoming an electric meter technician.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as an Electric Meter Technician

Electric meter technicians typically perform the inspection, cleaning and testing of single phase and polyphase electric meters and are also generally required to make the necessary programming adjustments and repairs to the equipment. Have a look at some of the pros and cons of becoming an electric meter technician to see if it's a good fit for you.

Pros of a Career as an Electric Meter Technician
Above-average pay (median annual salary of about $71,000 in 2014)*
Minimal education requirements (high school diploma or associate's degree)*
Jobs typically include benefits*
Variety of possible job tasks (installing, repairing and maintaining equipment)*

Cons of a Career as an Electric Meter Technician
Risk of on-the-job injury*
Heavy lifting may be required*
Travel could be required for field technicians*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Electric meter technicians typically perform the inspection, cleaning and testing of single phase and polyphase electric meters. You'll be required to make the necessary programming adjustments and repairs to the equipment. If the situation calls for it, you'll be responsible for replacing faulty equipment that can't be repaired. Single phase meters generally refer to residences, while polyphase meters generally refer to businesses. Meters may be self contained or require transformers, which you're also required to test and re-wire, if necessary.

Job site conditions may be hazardous. You'll be responsible for keeping up with the latest safety measures and ensuring they're in place for the benefit of the public and crew members alike. You'll have extensive contact with the public and be responsible for keeping accurate records of your investigations, job performance and results.

Career Outlook and Salary Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employment opportunities for electrical and electronics installers and repairers will increase about 1% from 2012-2022. This may be due to increased efficiency of the equipment and the increased use of automation. In 2014, the BLS determined that the median annual salary for electrical and electronics installers and repairers was about $71,000. Pay and benefits may fluctuate depending on experience, formal education, union affiliation and industry training.

What Are the Requirements?

Education Requirements

The BLS states that you may qualify for a position if you hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. It's advisable that you have at least a basic knowledge of electricity and mathematics. Many employers prefer that you have some relevant job experience in addition to a high school education. The BLS goes on to state that employers often prefer to hire someone who has completed a formal postsecondary education program leading to a certificate, diploma or associate's degree in electrical or electronics engineering technology.

With a high school diploma or equivalent, you may qualify to participate in an apprenticeship program, rather than a formal college or vocational school program. Apprenticeship programs are available through government agencies or through employers, typically in a cooperative effort with a trade school. Apprenticeships generally last three years and contain a great deal of hands-on training under the supervision of qualified technicians, in addition to classroom training. A program may also contain instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.

What Physical and General Skills are Necessary?

You should be up-to-date on technological developments and be able to assess a situation and troubleshoot with confidence. You should have excellent communication skills and be able to understand instructions from team members and superiors. You should also be able to understand and sometimes decipher client complaints and descriptions, recognize the malfunction, explain the solution to the client and then apply the correct remedy. Additionally, you should possess physical capabilities that are necessary to carrying out certain tasks. These include:

  • The ability to work effectively from various positions
  • The ability to work effectively from raised platforms or ladders
  • The ability to move and lift heavy materials and objects
  • Good hand-eye coordination, vision, body flexibility and digital manipulation skill

Job Postings from Real Employers

Most employers will require you to have a valid driver's license and a good driving record, since you'll be required to drive to your field assignments or appointments. Typically, employers are looking for some previous field experience, and they may prefer the completion of a postsecondary education program. Below are some electric meter technician job listings that can give you an idea of what employers were looking for in April 2012:

  • A corporation in Wisconsin is seeking an applicant to apply for a full-time position as an electric meter technician. Working under the supervision of the customer services manager, your duties would include installing, testing, maintaining, troubleshooting, removing and replacing electric metering and service control equipment. Applicants must have completed an electric meter technician apprenticeship program and at least two years of qualifying work experience.
  • A Maryland utilities organization is looking for a high school graduate or GED certificate holder to apply for an entry-level position as a utility meter technician. Work schedule is flexible with some evenings and weekend work required. Once accepted, employee will receive full on-the-job training. Responsibilities include changing out electric utility meters and upgrading to gas meters as required. Applicants should be self-motivated, physically fit and knowledgeable of the job's operational geographic area.
  • An Arizona power cooperative is looking for a qualified applicant to fill a position as a meter/relay technician. Applicants should hold a high school diploma or its equivalent and must have completed a state-recognized apprenticeship program. Applicants must also have either two years of qualifying work experience or hold an associate's degree in electrical or electronics engineering technology. Duties consist of installing, maintaining, testing and calibrating electrical/electronic equipment that is owned or operated by the cooperative.
  • A Nevada firm is looking for an individual to apply for a full-time, union-associated, contract position as an electrical meter installer. The position will last through the rest of the year. Applicants are required to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent and must join the union if hired. Applicants should be drug-free, have no felony convictions and hold a valid driver's license. Duties include performing maintenance on your assigned utility vehicle, installing, testing and changing out residential and commercial meters, in addition to performing safety site inspections.

How Can I Stand Out?

An apprenticeship program can take over three years to complete, but it has the advantage of providing classroom training and hands-on training and getting paid for it. A postsecondary formal education program in electrical or electronics engineering technology is another way to indicate to a potential employer that you're willing to make a commitment to learn all you can to prepare yourself for a career and not just a job.

Though schools may offer certificate and diploma programs, an associate's degree program may be most beneficial. In addition to courses related to electrical technology, degree programs contain a good number of general education courses. General education courses can broaden your education and may further develop your comprehension and communication skills. If you wish to continue your education, some associate's degree credits maybe transferable toward bachelor's degree programs.

Certification

Certification is not a legal requirement to become an electric meter technician, but it may stand in testimony to your abilities and professionalism, which could enhance your chances for upward mobility in your career. With five years of qualifying on-the-job experience, you may be eligible to sit for the certified calibration technician (CCT) examination, which is administered by the American Society for Quality. If you hold a relevant diploma or associate's degree, you're only required to have three years of work experience.

Alternative Career Paths

Electrician

If you'd like a career in the electrical field, but would prefer a job with better employment growth, you might want to consider becoming an electrician. As an electrician, your duties call for you to install, maintain, repair and replace electrical systems in residences and businesses as the situation demands. You may learn the job by attending a technical school, but most electricians complete a 4-year apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship programs are offered through contractors, unions or professional associations. Most states require you to be licensed, though the specific requirements vary by state.

The BLS projected that employment opportunities for electricians would increase 23% from 2010-2020. The more skills you possess, the better your employment prospects. In 2011, the BLS determined the median annual wage for electricians to be about $49,000. Apprentices are generally paid 30%-50% of what journeymen electricians are paid. Salary increases come with job experience.

General Maintenance and Repair Worker

Beyond the high school-level, there aren't any formal education requirements to become a general maintenance and repair worker. You'll need to be competent in multiple areas, such as plumbing, electricity, heating, roofing, carpentry and painting. Work schedules can include evenings, weekends and emergency situations. Though on-the-job training is the most common path of education, you can prepare yourself by pursuing appropriate courses in high school and following up with programs and stand-alone courses offered through postsecondary trade schools or community colleges. Above a certain basic skill-level, you may need to be licensed in areas such as heating and air-conditioning, electrical work, or plumbing. Licensure requirements can vary by state or locality.

The BLS projected that job opportunities for general maintenance and repair workers are expected to increase 11% from 2010-2020. This is about the same as the national average for all occupations. In 2011, the median annual wage for maintenance and repair workers was determined to be roughly $35,000.

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Featured Schools

Lincoln Tech

  • Electrical/Electronics

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Brightwood College

  • Computer Support Technician
  • Electrical Technician Diploma

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster Career School

  • Career Diploma: Electronics Technician
  • Career Diploma: PC Maintenance and Repair

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma
  • High School with Concentration in Building Technology - Electrical

What is your age?

CDI College

  • Diploma in Construction Electrician Foundation

What year did you graduate high school?

Southwestern College