Apprenticing to become a Power Systems Electrician (Alberta, Canada)

Thread Starter

Amped_86

Joined Jun 28, 2018
17
Hello,

I need to state first that I am from Canada (Alberta). I'm hoping to get a few Canadian replies, but realize that this is an American site. I'm not sure if there is an equivalency to a Power Systems Electrician, or to the credential that I currently have (more on that in a bit) in the States but I'm open to any and all advice.

I have recently completed a diploma program at a polytechnic institute (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology). The program I completed was the 2 year Electrical Engineering Technology program. Again, I am not sure of the American equivalency, but I think it could be comparable to an associate's degree. This is NOT the 4 year Electrical Engineering degree that one would find in major colleges and universities in both Canada and the States.

With that being said, I am interested in apprenticing as a Power Systems Electrician. This occupation is designated as a trade in Canada and usually takes 4 years to complete the on-the-job training as well as the classroom work. Upon completion, the individual becomes a certified tradesman or journeyman. The PSE differs from a traditional electrician in that they work on power generation and transmission and distribution systems equipment. In Alberta, the PSE generally follows 1 of 2 paths:

1. Working in Substations (transformers, circuit breakers, switches etc.)
2. Working in Metering (recording devices, supervisory controls, and equipment found in generating stations or power houses)

Given my previous education (Electrical Engineering Technology diploma) I believe I would get credit for the first 2 years of the PSE apprenticeship. I also wouldn't have to do the classroom component for the third and fourth years. I would need only the hours for the third and fourth years and then I could challenge the exams for those years (Please don't quote me on this. I believe this is right but I could be wrong).

I'm wondering if this is an occupation path worth considering? I don't see myself going the other way and trying to get the 4 year Electrical Engineering degree. That's just not me. But I figure that getting my Journeyman ticket would allow me to work in the field initially and make a higher wage than if I were to work in an office setting as a technologist. As I get older I can see myself transitioning into an office-type role (perhaps as a drafting technologist, or part of a design team). The weather up here isn't the greatest and I think the longer hours would eventually take a toll. Does this sound like a wise career move? Is it relatively easy to find/acquire an apprenticeship as a PSE. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
20,022
I assume you have looked over this? https://tradesecrets.alberta.ca/trades-occupations/profiles/046/
I am thinking that it will involve quite a bit of physical work under all conditions.
I started out in life as an Industrial Electrician and right after the apprenticeship took the necessary industrial electronics tech exams to enable a transition in to that kind of work.
I don't regret that move one bit, as I found the industrial electrical work rather repetitive after a while.
The technician grade however opens all kind of doors, especially now with the advent of more Industrial electronics systems.
Max..
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
20,247
I need to state first that I am from Canada (Alberta). I'm hoping to get a few Canadian replies, but realize that this is an American site. I'm not sure if there is an equivalency to a Power Systems Electrician, or to the credential that I currently have (more on that in a bit) in the States but I'm open to any and all advice.
Well actually, this is a Canadian website with an international presence. So you are in luck. You are bound to receive a number of responses from members in Alberta.
 

Thread Starter

Amped_86

Joined Jun 28, 2018
17
Well actually, this is a Canadian website with an international presence. So you are in luck. You are bound to receive a number of responses from members in Alberta.
Thank you for correcting me on that. I apologize for my ignorance. I should have actually checked first rather than assumed.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
20,022
I never usually drink national brands if I can help it, I found that there are many local micro breweries popping up that brew an excellent product.
Max.
 
Top