Low voltage technology demand grows, no degree required

'The best decision I made was going back to school for a trade'
Posted at 7:15 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 19:16:48-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It’s no secret, COVID-19 has dislocated many workers and some job seekers will have to head back to the classroom. But there’s an industry that’s growing and that doesn’t require a degree.

There’s a simulated fire alarm going off and it’s Alex Acevedo’s job to know what it takes to install, test, and inspect it.

“You’re protecting a building so you need to know what you’re doing and have everything covered,” said Alex Acevedo, LifeSafety Management Inc. project coordinator. “Before COVID-19 we took a couple training classes a week. There’s fire alarms, suppressions, and sprinklers to cover.”

And just one year after receiving a low voltage technician certificate from Palm Beach State College, Acevedo is witnessing his industry on fire.

”The best decision I made was going back to school for a trade,” he said.

The low voltage technician industry is a diverse field and consumers are increasingly using digital technologies to control security, thermostats, lighting, intercoms, and entertainment systems. The result is a greater need for low voltage technicians.

“These systems have to work,” said Peter Shull, LifeSafety Management Inc. director of operations. “And they have to work especially when you’ve got more people staying at home.”

In fact, Shull said LifeSafety needs to hire three to five people immediately. It’s the same story at Carpenter Security Integrators: Palm Beach where the focus is on electric security but the demand for workers is the same.

”Right now we have an opening for five technicians,” said Rick Seymour, CEO of Carpenter Electric and Carpenter Security Integrators: Palm Beach.

New this semester, Palm Beach State College has teamed up with these industry partners to offer virtual panels to reach dislocated workers and workers just looking for a change. The Sept. 16 panel focused on low voltage technology will be moderated by Thomas Gauthier, Ed.D., associate dean for the College’s Industry, Manufacturing, Construction, and Transportation Department. Panelists include Angela Barnard, CEO, Audio Video Systems; Rick Seymour, CEO, CSI Palm Beach and Carpenter Electric; and Alan Mullenax, instructor for PBSC’s Low Voltage Technician program.

“With so many people laid off due to COVID-19, low voltage is a great field to consider getting into,” Gauthier said in a statement. “Graduates of our two-semester program have many career options to choose from ranging from security and home automation installation to maintaining the systems that control hospitals, offices, and other community structures. There’s room for growth in responsibility and salary.”

The low voltage technician program is part of Palm Beach State’s short-term programs. Some can be granted in three months.

“In August, 13 low voltage students graduated from Palm Beach State College and there was a 100-percent employment rate at graduation,” said Seymour.

The learn more about the Low Voltage Technician Program’s virtual panel, click here.