The need for security is everywhere: airports, schools, stores, your home. More than ever before people are asking for electronic solutions to help restore peace of mind in an uncertain world. The demand for skilled security technicians has never been higher than it is now.
Graduates of the Security Systems Technician (SST) program install, maintain, repair and test equipment for intrusion alarms, camera and surveillance systems, card access and personnel monitoring, and home automation and entertainment systems.
Security technicians work mainly with low-voltage systems under 30 volts, using many specialized installation and testing tools. Students are trained to work safely and effectively on 12 volt systems, 120 volt circuits, TCP/IP and telephone networks, and more.
BCIT’s SST program was the first of its kind in North America and continues to occupy a unique position in the security industry. Employers specifically ask for our grads when advertising for new positions.
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 intrusion alarms, surveillance cameras, card access and system integration. This level includes a mandatory four-week work experience practicum with a licensed alarm company.
The program includes a total of six courses, each requiring a passing grade of 70%. Students must pass all Level 1 courses to advance to Level 2, and must complete all courses to graduate from the program.
“I acquired the skills and knowledge to operate a security company on my own. I did my practicum with Kamloops Alarm, and six months after graduation I bought the company. I’ve since hired two BCIT grads and would definitely hire more.”
Ryan Moffett; owner and president of Kamloops Alarm
“I just had my 3 month review and am excelling at this job more than I have at any other job I have ever done…I really enjoy what I am doing and I feel confident in my job because of my time at BCIT.”
Ian Halpin; graduated 2019 and currently working as a security technician.
“I can honestly say that attending the program is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and everyone in that classroom made those past 7 months worthwhile. I will say goodbye for now, but I’ll definitely keep in touch.”
Jay Falsis; graduated July 2016 and currently working with a security company as a technician
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:
- Safety boots: CSA-approved, steel toes, etc.
- Safety glasses
- Wire strippers: K Millers or equivalent
- Flat blade screwdrivers: small and medium-sized blades
- Multimeter: 10 A scale, mounting bracket, audible continuity tester
Instructor will provide information as to which items to purchase on the first day of class.
Required by sixth week of program:
- Electrician’s tool pouch and belt or tool case
- Robertson #1 and #2 screwdrivers
- Phillips small and medium screwdrivers
- Lineman’s pliers: for heavy-duty use; with cutting blades and crimpers
- Wire jumpers with alligator clips
- Utility knife with replacement blades
- Drywall saw
- 16′ Tape measure
- Needlenose pliers
- Putty knife
- Mini Flashlight
- Small level (Torpedo level)
- Audible circuit tester (will be built in lab)
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. The control panels for these systems are programmable and may be customized to suit the individual needs of the client. You will learn how to connect these controls to a telephone network for remote monitoring and programming. Next, you will work with cameras and card access systems, and learn to connect them together using TCP/IP and the internet. Your work experience will be rounded off by spending four weeks with a licenced security company, job shadowing and learning on the job.
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 extremely high for graduates of the BCIT Security Systems Technician program. Many students receive job offers before the final week of class, so you could start work immediately after graduation.
After 18 months of work experience, you will be eligible to write the B.C. Certificate of Qualification exam for Security Systems Technician. 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.
The two instructors in this program have extensive backgrounds in the security industry, with a combined total experience of over 45 years! Both instructors hold Certificates of Qualification in the trade and B.C. Provincial Instructor Diplomas. The positions held by either or both instructors in the past include installation (residential and commercial), service/maintenance tech, Service Manager, Project Co-ordinator, counter sales/distribution (including technical support for dealers), security consultant, and business owner/operator.
- Stu Armour, Affordable Security
- Peter Hodgson, Orion Security Systems
- Michael Jagger, Provident Security
- Barry McGowan, Independent
- Peter Moore, Moore Security
- Tim Neill, Atlas Alarms Ltd.
- Jim Porter, Price’s Alarms
- Mark White, Intelligent Security Solutions
- Bryan Sweeney, SOS Security Solutions Ltd.
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