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Army Air Force

Electrical Distribution Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time

In Demand

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As a member of the military, Electrical Distribution Technicians provide electrical engineering support to operational units at home and abroad.

The Electrical Distribution Technician is one of seven Construction Engineering positions involved in the supply of all construction, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services in support of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations worldwide. The primary responsibilities of an Electrical Distribution Technician are to:

  • Install, repair and maintain high and low voltage electrical distribution systems, portable and fixed airfield lighting systems, fire alarm and security systems
  • Produce associated electrical designs and specifications and drawings
  • Conduct reconnaissance related to the above, and assist other Construction Engineering tradespersons

Work environment

Electrical Distribution Technicians often work with the challenges that come with varying environmental conditions. Electrical Distribution Technicians maintain their skills while employed at home units or on humanitarian and United Nations operational assignments.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview




GRANT: If electrical work sparks your imagination, one of the best jobs in the military lets you plug in a good salary, great benefits, and the special feeling of pride that you get when you’re serving your country.

CONNELL: We’re Electrical Distribution Technicians – “ED Techs” for short – and we’re an important part of the Construction Engineering division of the Canadian Forces.

I’m Sergeant Robert Grant from North Cobalt, Ontario – I’m an Electrical Distribution Technician currently posted at 17 Wing Winnipeg.

And I’m Master Corporal Les Connell from Greenwood, Nova Scotia – I’m an Electrical Distribution Technician serving with 14 Wing Greenwood.




GRANT: whether you’re in the Regular Force or the Reserve, electrical distribution work in the military is similar to what you’d do in the same trade on the civilian side. That means installing residential, commercial and industrial-grade wiring in all kinds of buildings.

CONNELL: But there’s a lot more to an ED Tech’s job than that: we can go from running simple electrical circuits for plugs and lights to pole climbing and working on bucket trucks, installing hardware on power lines and transformers, even laying in runway lights for the Air Force.

GRANT: I really like the fact that my job is different every day – that’s something you’re not likely going to find working as an electrician on the civilian side.

CONNELL: With the military, you can still do your job, it just has a broader scope. We can come in and be pulling wires, or working on panels, or we can be doing high-voltage work and working on an airfield or a fire alarm system. And it’s pretty rewarding at the end of the day.

GRANT: It’s on deployment that you really feel like you’re part of a big team.

Comradeship in the Forces is one of the best things about it. You make friends that you can’t make on civilian street being an electrician. And you experience things that most people will never experience in their life. While I was in Afghanistan, we maintained all the Canadian assets in Kandahar, we designed buildings such as the Canada House, lighting and power for a hockey rink; we also did jobs out in the forward operating bases where we’d go out and provide power for showers, and heat, air conditioning for the soldiers that are out fighting in the front lines.

CONNELL: You’ve got a job to do, and a tight timeline to do it, and you get a real feeling of satisfaction when you get it done.

The most rewarding part of the job, I’d say, is getting to work with the other trades, getting to learn other trades and I really enjoy the opportunities that they provide for us to continue our education.

GRANT: You don’t already have to be a working professional electrician to become an ED Tech in the Canadian Forces.

CONNELL: The military will train you and take you right through your apprentice and journeyman status.

GRANT: After your basic military training, the first semester of course work to become an Electrical Distribution Technician will bring you here to Gagetown and the School of Military Engineering for about six months.

You’ll start with the basics of wiring and circuitry, how to read blueprints, set up security and fire-alarm systems, and they’ll introduce you to specific military applications like airfield lighting.

CONNELL: After the first course, you’ll be assigned to an Army, Navy or Air Force base in Canada for about two years of on-the-job experience.

GRANT: Then it’s back to Gagetown for another 6-month course to complete your qualification.

CONNELL: We’re very fortunate to be doing the job we love and supporting the mission at the same time.

I’d say it’s a really rewarding job. It not only challenges you mentally, but it challenges you physically too.

GRANT: An ED Tech in the military is trained in many aspects of electrical. And also we train with weapons and in combat. It’s very exciting and that’s my favourite part about the job, is deploying overseas and really making a difference in a country and making a difference for our troops.

it’s a great place to work, and a great place to learn – I hope you’ll join us!




Related Civilian Occupations

  • Electrician
  • Appliance Repair Technician
  • Fire Alarm Installer and Repairer
  • Security Alarm Installer and Maintainer
  • Certified Engineering Technician (Electrical)


The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Electrical Distribution Technicians attend a seven-day course to train to climb hydro poles up to 30 metres in height and towers taller than 30 metres. Continued training depends upon successful completion of this course.

Electrical Distribution Technicians then attend the School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes approximately 19 weeks and includes:

  • Environmental skills such as defensive tactics and firearms
  • Care and use of common and special purpose tools and test equipment
  • Application of occupational codes and regulations
  • Interpretation of drawings and schematics
  • Climbing hydro poles
  • High and low voltage electrical distribution systems
  • Lighting systems
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Airfield lighting systems
  • Electrical motors and controls
  • Electrical and electronic principles

Electrical Distribution Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training.

Entry plans

No previous work experience or career related skills are required. CAF recruiters can help you decide if your personal interests and attributes match the criteria for this occupation.

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondary 4 in Quebec or equivalent secondary school education, including: Grade 10 applied math or math 416 / CST 4 in Quebec.

Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Electrical Distribution Technicians may serve with the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force and are employed to provide electrical engineering support for CAF training and operations. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit located within Canada.

Find a Recruiting Centre

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, Electrical Distribution Technicians attend a seven-day course to train to climb hydro poles up to 30 metres in height and towers taller than 30 metres. Continued training is dependent upon successful completion of this course, which takes approximately 19 weeks, and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends (Air Reserve Electrical Distribution Technicians usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day), although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.