Electric vehicles (EVs) may be the future of transportation, but only if there are enough accessible charging stations for drivers to use. As it stands, there is currently some disconnect between the dream of EVs going mainstream and the reality of an insufficient infrastructure to support them. However, both state and federal governments are keenly aware of the problem, and plans are being made to increase the number of charging stations nationwide. Along with that will come the need for even more EV Charger Technicians!
Cited as a “hot job of the future” by Axios, qualified EV Charger Techs are actually already in demand because of the tendency for direct current fast chargers to develop problems. These range from “broken screens or damaged plugs” to “power interruptions, network connection failures, or faulty credit card payment systems.” Indeed, a recent study published by Cornell shows that nearly a quarter of the electric vehicle service equipment randomly tested in the San Francisco Greater Bay area didn’t function properly.
Sounds like EV Charger Technicians already have plenty of work waiting for them!
- Maintaining the infrastructure for EVs to become viable around the nation
- Being part of a growing field expected to lower carbon emissions
- Contributing to the EV economy at large
- EV Charger Technicians may work full- or part-time, and they could be called in to fix problems at any time.
- Travel to different locations to conduct onsite repair work
- Enhance charging station equipment reliability through electrical and mechanical preventative maintenance and repairs
- Troubleshoot charging station software
- Determine causes of network connection failures
- Correct issues related to credit card payment systems
- Configure digital devices using routers, modems, or cellular signal repeaters
- Help wireless carriers establish Virtual Private Networks
- Fix or replace broken screens and damaged plugs
- Investigate power disruptions
- Perform testing of circuits, insulation, thermal imagery, torque, and performance
- Find and isolate ground faults
- Respond to work request calls and emails
- Follow maintenance schedules
- Ensure work orders are done in a timely fashion
- Assist electricians in installing new charging equipment
- Assess safety hazards at job sites and fill out the necessary documentation
- Document all work done and generate service reports for employers or customers
- Respond to unplanned/emergency issues
- Upgrade equipment as authorized
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
- Normal color vision
- Quality assurance
- Safety conscious
- Strong communication skills
- Time management
- Training in electricity and electrical systems
- Ability to understand technical books
- Familiarity with EV software, E3 wireworks, and Visio
- Familiarity with Computerized Maintenance Management Systems
- General knowledge of lithium-ion batteries
- Knowledge of tools such as power analyzers, multimeters, cable crimpers, cutters, plyers, soldering irons, ohmmeters, voltmeters, and EV charging test sets
- Knowledge of equipment like routers, modems, or cellular signal repeaters
- Knowledge of OSHA safety (Lockout/Tagout, or LOTO, Arc Flash, JHA/JSA)
- Private companies
- Government agencies
EV Charger Technicians may need to drive far to reach some of the stations assigned to them. Depending on their employer’s needs, they could be called up to respond to after-hours problems at night or on weekends. The work often requires being outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather conditions.
EV Charger Techs must also take great care to wear personal protective equipment and to closely follow all safety protocols as they work around high voltages, currents, and cables that can be tripping hazards.
Also called Field Service Technicians, EV Charger Technicians work in a relatively new career field. Previously, companies relied only on licensed electricians to maintain charging stations. But using electricians gets expensive fast, especially for routine matters.
EV Charger Techs need some of the basic skills that electricians have, but not all of them. On the flip side of that coin, EV Charger Techs do work that electricians don’t know how to do without training. So it makes sense to simply create this new role!
The job of EV Charging Techs is evolving as companies figure out the right mix of qualifications and training necessary. As Axios points out, “The industry is fragmented…with many players and different business models—and no clear line of responsibility for maintenance and upkeep.” One company that’s at the forefront of training EV Charging Techs is ChargerHelp!, which offers three workforce development training pathways for candidates. But many more such companies are sorely needed, soon!
WeForum cites that there are ~53,000 public EV charger stations in the United States. But research organization McKinsey states the US will need “1.2 million public EV chargers and 28 million private EV chargers by ” to meet projected demands. Currently, there’s no roadmap to get to that point…but based on those numbers, it seems like the need for qualified EV Charger Technicians will grow even more in the coming years.
EV Charger Techs may have enjoyed working with mechanical equipment, electrical gadgets, or computers growing up. They are very hands-on and able to focus on technical work for long periods and may have had hands-on hobbies that took up a lot of their time as kids. A fair amount of stamina is also needed, and they might have developed that from playing sports, exercising at the gym, or doing manual labor tasks.
- The amount of education and training EV Charger Technicians need may depend on the employer, but in general, they need:
- A high school diploma or GED
- A driver’s license to travel to work sites
- Prior work experience servicing electrical power equipment (solar, uninterrupted power supplies, batteries, high voltage, inverters, etc.), working with telecommunications, doing field service, or doing factory work; formal workforce development training as an EV Charger Tech; and/or training as an electrician journeyman)
- Companies like ChargerHelp! offer training programs in partnership with workforce development agencies. These are not full-fledged electrician training programs; they are designed to train EV Charger Techs on the hard skills needed for their scope of work
- EV Charger Tech training should cover topics such as:
- OSHA safety requirements including Lockout/Tagout, Arc Flash, and Job Hazard Analysis/Job Safety Analysis
- Computerized Maintenance Management Systems
- Electrical, electronic, and mechanical troubleshooting
- Fundamentals of different makes and models of EV chargers
- EV software, E3 wireworks, and Visio
- General knowledge of lithium-ion batteries
- How to use tools such as power analyzers, multimeters, cable crimpers, cutters, plyers, soldering irons, ohmmeters, voltmeters, and EV charging test sets
- How to use equipment like routers, modems, or cellular signal repeaters
- Workers who install EV chargers will need additional training and qualifications. For example, in California, “at least one electrician on each installation must hold an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) certification”
- EV Charger Technicians don’t need a college degree. However, a college certificate in electricity fundamentals or an associate’s in electrical systems technology could be useful
- If going to college, decide if you’ll attend a traditional on-campus program, online, or hybrid (a mix of both)
- Consider and compare costs of tuition and scholarship opportunities
- Look into student financial aid from the government to see what you qualify for
- In high school, future EV Charger Technicians should sign up for traditional classes in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)
- Volunteer for shop activities where you can get practice working with hand tools, learn about mechanical or electrical systems, and get familiar with general safety practices
- Learn some basics about software programming and Internet Protocol
- Apply for jobs where you can get experience working with electrical systems
- Call or email EV charger service providers in your area to ask about the work and any training opportunities they might know about
- Consider doing a college certificate, associate’s, or self-study online courses from Udemy or other sites to boost your resume
- Keep a draft resume that you can add to as you gain experience
- Check out popular job portals like Indeed.com. Upload your resume and set up notification alerts so you can hear about new postings
- Advertise yourself on LinkedIn as open for work
- Call or email local EV charging station service providers to ask about upcoming openings
- Get in touch with a local workforce development center that might be able to connect you to job opportunities
- Move to a city that has a lot of EV charging stations. Currently, the states with the most are California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts
- Make sure your resume is error-free, compelling, and explains your qualifications for the job you’re applying to
- Be familiar with the companies you interview with. Study their websites, look at their end customers and the types of equipment they use
- Try to be familiar with as many equipment manufacturers as possible
- Don’t get discouraged! If you aren’t hired after an interview, consider emailing them politely to request feedback so you can learn how to improve your chances
- The need for qualified EV Charger Techs is projected to grow, so even if an employer doesn’t hire you the first time, they might be interested later!
- First, focus on doing the best job you can for your employer. Arrive to work sites on time and be a proactive problem-solver who can work with little direction
- Talk with your supervisor. Ask them what you can do to help the company. Be willing to take classes, service more stations, or tackle complex upgrades once you have sufficient training
- Demonstrate your competence and loyalty to the employer’s business. Treat their reputation as if it were your reputation. Help them get repeat business and great reviews
- Be accountable and responsible. Train other technicians and set an example to follow
- Build strong relationships with equipment installation electricians, Internet service providers, credit card payment processors, or any other professionals you might work with
- Stay engaged by constantly learning new things. Read manufacturer technical manuals, study industry trends, and become a subject matter expert
- Always wear your protective gear and comply with safety protocols to avoid mishaps
- Electrical Training Alliance
- Electric Car Pledge
- Electric Drive Transportation Association
- Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program
- Explore the Trades
- Helmets to Hardhats
- Independent Electrical Contractors
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- National Electrical Contractors Association
- Plug In America
- Charging Infrastructure and Storage Systems for Electric Vehicles, by M. Venkatesh Naik, Niraj Kumar Chaudhary, et al.
- Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation, by The Institution of Engineering and Technology
- Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation - Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle - EV Charging Book, by Jesse Print
The EV Charger Technician career field is currently evolving and it may be hard to get training in your area. Many towns simply may not have a lot of EV charging stations, which means fewer job opportunities. If this field doesn’t sound right for you at the moment, below are a few related occupations to consider!
- Electrical and Electronics Repairer
- Electrical Engineering Technician
- Electrical Power-Line Installer
- Elevator Installer/Repairer
- HVAC Technician
- Lighting Technician