Security alarm technicians install and maintain security alarm systems to protect against hazards such as fire and burglary. They install sensors and control systems and connect them to power and telecommunication lines if required. Security alarm technicians explain usage of the installed systems to the prospective users.
A security alarm technician typically does the following:
- Installs, tests, and repairs security and fire alarm systems.
- Consults with client on system requirements; provides system recommendations and cost estimates.
- Uses blueprints or building plans to determine proper systems to install based on building layout and setting.
- Runs wiring and circuits, installs hardware, and attaches electrical wires.
- Inspects and tests systems, batteries, and electrical wiring; makes adjustments and repairs as required.
- Replaces malfunctioning hardware when necessary.
- Ensures systems comply with electrical and fire codes.
- Explains and demonstrates system function and operation to end users.
- Performs other related duties as required.
The following job titles also refer to security alarm technician:
security alarm installer
intruder alarm installer
electronic security systems installer
fire alarm technician
security alarm engineer
burglar alarm technician
intruder alarm technician
fire alarm installer
security alarm fitter
burglar alarm installer
security systems technician
Most security alarm technicians are required to have a high school diploma. However, some employers may require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in security technology or a related field.
Most employers require security alarm technicians to complete a training program before they begin working. These programs typically last between one and three months and teach technicians the basics of the job, including how to install and maintain security systems, how to troubleshoot problems and how to interact with clients.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Security alarm technician is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Security alarm technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to security alarm technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of security alarm technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of security alarm technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of security alarm technician.
- Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
- Security panels: The internal logic of the security panel, where security sensors send their data for processing. The different components of the panel, such as the wire contact points, motherboard and transformer.
- Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
- Electrical wiring plans: Pictorial representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components of the circuit as simplified shapes, and the power and signal connections between the devices. It gives information about the relative position and arrangement of devices and terminals on the devices, to help in building or servicing the device. A wiring diagram is often used to troubleshoot problems and to make sure that all the connections have been made and that everything is present.
- Types of alarm systems: Characteristics, price, workings and installation of various alarm systems such as landline, cellular or broadband, wired or wireless.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of security alarm technician.
- Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
- Wire security sensors: Draw wires from the correct contact points in a variety of security sensors to the control panel. Make sure the wiring plan of the control panel is clear and effective.
- Resolve equipment malfunctions: Identify, report and repair equipment damage and malfunctions; communicate with field representatives and manufacturers to obtain repair and replacement components.
- Inspect electrical supplies: Check electrical supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems.
- Check compatibility of materials: Make sure the materials are fit to be used together, and if there are any foreseeable interferences.
- Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
- Inspect construction supplies: Check construction supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems before using the material.
- Install electrical and electronic equipment: Install equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work, or equipment to generate, transfer or measure such currents and fields. This equipment includes switchboards, electric motors, generators or direct current systems.
- Test sensors: Test sensors using appropriate equipment. Gather and analyse data. Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
- Follow health and safety procedures in construction: Apply the relevant health and safety procedures in construction in order to prevent accidents, pollution and other risks.
- Replace defect components: Remove defective parts and replace them with functioning components.
- Use measurement instruments: Use different measurement instruments depending on the property to be measured. Utilise various instruments to measure length, area, volume, speed, energy, force, and others.
- Test electronic units: Test electronic units using appropriate equipment. Gather and analyse data. Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
- Program home alarm systems: Select the right settings for the specific situation where the alarm system will operate. Set up zones with different policies if called for. Define how the system will be armed and disarmed. Choose actions to take if the system is triggered, and select various other settings.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of security alarm technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Electromechanics: The engineering processes that combine electrical and mechanical engineering in the application of electromechanics in devices that need electricity to create mechanical movement or devices that create electricity by mechanical movement.
- Glass breakage sensors: Different types of sensors used to detect the breaking of glass, usually with a microphone set to detect frequencies associated with breaking glass, or vibration detectors. The advantages, disadvantages, usage cases and price points of each.
- Smoke sensors: A variety of devices that detect the optical qualities, air composition or ionisation patterns of smoke, fire and carbon monoxide, usually to prevent fire or illicit smoking. The different advantages, disadvantages, usage cases and price points of each type.
- Reed sensors: Sensors that detect the separation of multiple magnetic components, often used to detect the opening of doors and windows for burglary prevention.
- Automation technology: Set of technologies that make a process, system, or apparatus operate automatically through the use of control systems.
- Infrared sensors: Different types of sensors that use light in the infrared spectrum to detect presence or movement of living creatures. Their advantages and disadvantages, usage cases and price points.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of security alarm technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Plan maintenance activities: Plan and organise the process aimed at preserving equipment or systems in good working condition by inspecting the installation, resolving malfunctions, replacing worn parts and performing other maintenance tasks.
- Perform ICT troubleshooting: Identify problems with servers, desktops, printers, networks, and remote access, and perform actions which solve the problems.
- Install circuit breakers: Install electrical switches designed to switch off automatically in case of an overload or short-circuit. Organise circuit breakers in the panel logically. Make sure no foreign objects are introduced into the panel. Use only circuit breakers approved for the panel, usually the same manufacturer.
- Perform software unit testing: Test single units of source code to determine whether or not they are suitable for use by creating short code fragments.
- Advise customers on new equipment: Advise individual or corporate customers on the acquisition of new equipment such as machinery, tools or systems by identifying their needs and comparing the products that would suit them best.
- Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
- Manage closed-circuit television system: Oversee a system of cameras inside a facility which transmit a signal to a specific set of display devices.
- Use safety equipment in construction: Use elements of protective clothing such as steel-tipped shoes, and gear such as protective goggles, in order to minimise risk of accidents in construction and to mitigate any injury if an accident does occur.
- Cut wall chases: Cut a narrow channel in a wall or other partition in order to run cables through it. Cut the channel straight and without causing unnecessary damage. Be sure to avoid existent wires. Lead the cables through the chase and fill it up with the appropriate material.
- Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
- Program firmware: Program permanent software with a read-only memory (ROM) on a hardware device, such as an integrated circuit.
- Demonstrate products’ features: Demonstrate how to use a product in a correct and safe manner, provide customers with information on the product’s main features and benefits, explain operation, correct use and maintenance. Persuade potential customers to purchase items.
ISCO group and title
7422 – Information and communications technology installers and servicers
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- Featured image: By Baba ferdi2 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0