A combination of education and work experience is required to become a power generation technician. This profession involves a mixture of repair and replacement procedures, including electrical and mechanical work. In addition, strong troubleshooting skills are necessary for a successful career.
Many technicians gain their knowledge by attending a trade or technical school. Most accredited schools will offer two year degrees or certificates in electrical or power generation theory; this background is extremely helpful so that you can interpret power generation schematics for industrial generators or air compressor systems. Depending on the employer, education can substitute for field experience when qualifying for a specific job position.
Another strategic way to become a power generation technician is working in the field as a journeyman or apprentice. The apprentice is normally matched with an experienced technician so that skills can be acquired on a daily basis. Fabricating equipment, welding, and soldering are important skills for a technician that are more easily learned and applied in a real life situation. For example, classroom theory can supply the basic procedures for welding in the power generation industry; but hands-on experience encourages creative thought in unusual applications, such as welding in high winds.
Gaining experience in the field allows the future technician to experience both replacement and repair procedures. Each power generation device, such as a generator, may show different signs of malfunction when an individual part or group of parts fails. The experienced technician can walk the apprentice through the first few troubleshooting steps, based on past repair history. Over time, the apprentice will be able to pinpoint problems that indicate the need for replacement or repair; this distinction can save the power generation company on costly repairs if a simple replacement is more cost effective.
Knowledge of mechanical and electrical work is imperative for those who want to become a power generation technician. Generators and air compressors are machines that have complex arrangements of moving parts; successful technicians must be comfortable using hand tools and getting dirty to access parts deep within industrial machines. Typical previous career experience that can enhance a future technician's employment prospects could be in the construction or automotive industries; those with experience in these industries generally understand the relationship between moving parts and electrical supplies.
Working around electricity is extremely dangerous, so technicians with a background in electrical work, such as residential contracting, have an advantage in the field. Troubleshooting live wires requires a skillful background to avoid electrocution. Many apprentice technicians will not work directly with live wires until the experienced technician feels that the person is prepared.