Security system installers install and service electronic alarms in homes and businesses to protect them against break-ins by intruders, fire or flood. They might also fit closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems or access control systems.
They are also known as security system engineers.
You could be:
visiting customers’ homes or business properties, assessing the risks and giving advice on different types of alarms and other security devices
designing a suitable security system for each customer and giving an estimate of the cost
following an overall plan to fix devices throughout the building, and connecting them by cable to a control panel
installing wire-free radio system links, infra-red devices or fibre optic technology
drilling holes using power tools, lifting floorboards and following wiring diagrams to lay cables
repairing any damaged plaster or woodwork and tidying up at the end of the job
testing the new system and explaining it to the customer
carrying out regular checks on existing systems, and servicing them
responding to call outs when systems develop faults, and repairing them.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The salaries for security system installers tend to be around £20,000 to £24,000 a year. With experience this rises to around £40,000 a year, sometimes more. You can earn more through contract jobs or working shifts and overtime. You may be provided with a vehicle to use.
You would travel to customers’ premises and you may have to spend nights away from home.
Saturday and evening work is common, and you may sometimes have to be on call to deal with emergencies outside normal working hours.
You work indoors and outdoors, and you may have to climb ladders and work in tight spaces.
Conditions can be dusty or dirty, and you may have to carry equipment and materials.
There are no formal entry requirements, but employers may expect some subjects at National 4 or 5, including English, maths and a science or technological subject.
You may get in through a Modern Apprenticeship.
A driving licence is useful and in some cases necessary.
You may need to pass a colour vision test.
As you will work in peoples' homes and businesses, you may require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
Firms range in size from those employing large numbers of security system fitters to small businesses with only one or two. Some larger firms specialise in fitting complex systems for industry based on CCTV.
What Does it Take?
You need to be:
honest and trustworthy
able to follow technical instructions and work from diagrams
able to work both on your own and as part of a team
You need to have:
good practical and technical skills
an interest in electronics
good communication skills to explain to customers how systems work
good attention to detail.
Training is usually on the job with an employer.
As a trainee you might attend a day release course to gain SVQs in electronic and electrical subjects at SCQF Levels 4 and 5. You could also do the SVQ in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems at SCQF Level 6.
You may do short specialised courses run by private companies and manufacturers in particular products.
If your company is approved by the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) you may do short courses run by SSAIB.
After gaining experience, you may be able to move into a supervisory or management post.
You might specialise in surveying premises or designing new systems.