Have you ever considered a career in security? This is an area which has seen incredible growth in the past decade with no signs of slowing down. A security systems technician installs, maintains and repairs systems designed to protect people and property. In addition to home alarm systems, security technicians or techs also work with hand or fingerprint scanners, intelligent cameras, card access systems, and much more.
Security techs work mostly with low-voltage 12 volt wiring, but sometimes also with 120 volt alternating current, standard telephone lines, even internet systems for communication. Security techs use many specialized tools for installing cables, programming systems, and testing communications.
The need for security in our society is increasing and the demand for qualified security systems technicians has reached the critical stage. The Security Systems Technician training program is the first full-time program of its kind in North America, and provides the training needed for graduates to excel in this growing industry.
The program is divided into two levels. Level 1 deals with basic installation techniques and the theories and codes which govern the security industry. Level 2 involves installing and troubleshooting complete alarm systems and advanced security equipment. This level includes a mandatory four-week work experience practicum with a licensed alarm company.
The program includes a total of seven courses, each requiring a passing grade of 70% and a grade of Satisfactory in TELC 2220 (practicum). Students must pass all Level 1 courses to advance to Level 2, and must complete all courses to graduate from the program.
Attributes that make students successful are an interest in how things work (Do you like to take things apart?) and mechanical aptitude (Can you put them back together again?). Good colour recognition is important, since you will be working with electrical conductors where different colours mean different things. Physical mobility is important, since alarm installers have to climb ladders, move around in crawlspaces and attics, and just generally stay active. Due to the customer service nature of the work, excellent English language skills (both speaking and listening) are required.
Quality of work can be judged by the training received and by the tools used. And like most trades the SST program will require each student to purchase their own tools and safety equipment.
Required during the first week of class:
The 28-week program is divided into two levels. In Level 1, you will learn how to interpret regulations and codes (such as the Canadian Electrical Code) and to apply these regulations to real situations. You will also learn how electrical and electronic devices work and how to recognize when they don’t work to increase your success as a troubleshooter. You will also learn to use the tools of the trade, many of them familiar ones and many you’ve probably never seen or heard of before. Don’t worry if you’ve never done any electrical or electronic work before…we’ll show you what to do.
In Level 2, you will learn about the various types of detectors used in intrusion alarm systems: how they work and how to install and test them. Imagine installing a device which can detect you simply by sensing the warmth of your body! You will then learn how to program microprocessor-based control panels. These boxes are the brains of the security system, with hundreds or thousands of program options, allowing you to modify almost any aspect of their operation. You will learn how to connect these controls to a telephone system, so that signals can be sent to a remote monitoring station which will then call the police or a guard to respond.
Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.
The Security Systems Technician Program focuses on hands-on training, using real-life situations. As a student, you will work with tools and equipment in a variety of settings, including a client’s house.
You will spend some of your time in class, but slightly more than half your time as a student here will be spent on practical activities. Many of the tests are practical exams, where you will demonstrate your competence in a trade-related task.
The SST lab, in the Electrical Training Centre, is a facility dedicated to this program. A keyless entry system controls access to the inner supply room, stocked with specialty tools and security components. The showcase of this lab is ASPEN, a fully-functional monitoring station with its own independent telephone system.
Four weeks of your training will be spent on a practicum with a licensed security company, working under the supervision of a qualified technician (most likely a BCIT grad).
The demand is high for grads of the BCIT Security Systems Technician program. You can begin working immediately upon graduation. Many students end up being hired by their practicum company, so you could even be working before you graduate.
After 18 months of work experience, you will be eligible to write the B.C. Certificate of Qualification exam for Security Alarm Installer. Once you’ve earned your C of Q, your options expand dramatically. For example, you could start your own business. Or, if you’re considering relocating, you’ll find your credentials are accepted just about anywhere you could think of moving to.
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