What Can I Expect From a Job as an Electrician?
An electrician is a skilled craftsperson who creates, places, fixes, and the electrical equipment and systems used in homes, businesses, and industries. Whether installed inside or outside structures, lighting, equipment, and appliances are always operated safely and dependably by electricians. There are many different types of specialized electricians, including residential electricians who install wiring and handle electrical problems in homes and inside electricians who maintain and repair control systems, motors, and electrical equipment in commercial buildings and manufacturing facilities.
It is your duty as an electrician to move electricity from its point of origin to the locations where it can be used by homeowners and businesses. The specific responsibilities of this position could include any of the following, depending on the area of specialization:
- The ideal locations for electrical outlets, heating outlets, light fixtures, and ventilation systems are considered while designing the electrical systems for new buildings.
- To examine and comprehend circuit schematics, building plans, and other technical documents.
- Install wiring, lighting, and control systems in new and existing structures that adhere to local codes.
- Building electrical circuits, checking them once they’re finished, and attaching electrical cables to fixtures and other components.
- Installing switches, relays, circuit breaker panels, and other gear for electrical control and distribution.
- Installing hangers and brackets to support electrical equipment.
- Carrying out maintenance procedures to keep the wiring, lighting, and control systems operational.
- Examining transformers, circuit breakers, and other electrical parts for flaws.
- Using testing equipment to identify the root cause of faulty electrical components and systems.
- Repair, replacement, and modernization of outdated or broken electrical fixtures and wiring, as well as isolate issues for safe removal and replacement.
- Directing other electricians to complete specific jobs.
Electrical contractors may work on electrical and telecommunications systems outside or in newly constructed or refurbished buildings. They can have to operate in large or small spaces. Because they typically contain live electrical wires, these working spaces can be extremely dangerous if the proper safety measures aren’t implemented. Electricians generally work alone on projects, while they occasionally could be a part of a larger construction crew.
Unlike many employees who have a permanent place of employment, electricians work on a remote site for a particular period of time, ranging from a single day to a few months, before moving on to the next task. The homes of electricians could be far from where they work. Electricians frequently travel more than 100 miles from their homes to finish work.
Electricians can find employment throughout the year. Their working hours fluctuate based on what they do. Maintenance electricians frequently finish routine chores in a typical 40-hour workweek. Most people keep conventional office hours on weekdays and don’t frequently work on weekends, federal holidays, or late at night. Some electricians put in extra time to address urgent problems and are available on call.
On the other hand, independent electrical contractors don’t adhere to the same rigid schedule as the trainee electricians who work for them. They might alternate between a hectic and a light week. Electricians have the most flexible work schedule options when employed as independent electrical contractors or consultants.
What Qualifications Are Required To Be An Electrician?
Working as an electrician is one of the best occupations you can achieve with just a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Instead of receiving their education in a classroom, electricians learn on the job. Usually, a four- or five-year apprenticeship program is used to earn this. An apprentice must be at least 18 years old, have completed one year of algebra, and possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Additionally, students must pass an aptitude test and a drug abuse check.
As part of their apprenticeship, beginning electricians must undergo 144 hours of technical training each year. They learn electrical theory, algebra, safety procedures, first aid, and the electrical code requirements throughout this time. They also examine blueprints. In addition, apprentices complete 2,000 hours of practical on-the-job training every year.
Electricians are less likely to attend technical schools. They go over circuits, safety practices, and fundamental electrical understanding in their training. Typically, an apprenticeship program will provide technical school graduates credit.
Most states in the United States require electricians to have licenses. The National Electrical Contractors Association’s website details the licensing requirements in each state.
The majority of the time, electricians receive ongoing training while working. This allows them to stay abreast of updates to the electrical code, new safety guidelines, and directions for handling certain items.
Experience is more important than education for electricians because degrees are not necessary. As a result, on-the-job training is prioritized in many apprenticeship programs around the country. It also explains why experienced electricians are paid significantly more than newly hired employees.
As a result, electricians with less than a year of experience make up only 2% of the workforce. About 31% of jobs are held by electricians who have between 10 and 19 years of experience. One-fourth of electricians have between one and four years of experience, one-fourth have between five and nine years, and one-fourth have at least 20 years.
This demonstrates how crucial experience is to an electrician’s job. Those that are enthusiastic about their work should have several opportunities throughout their careers.
Electricians need various technical skills and personality qualities to thrive in their careers. Even though the following skills aren’t frequently listed in an electrician job description, don’t underestimate their attraction to hiring managers:
- Electrical standards must be understood and followed for all installations and repairs by electricians.
- Understanding of basic scientific and mathematical concepts – Although electricians don’t need highly developed scientific or mathematical skills, they still utilize the basic concepts from these subjects in their work.
- Strong cognitive skills will help electricians understand and interpret any instructions, blueprints, or other technical documents they could be handed at new jobs.
- Working with electrical systems, components, and products necessitates precision, steady hands, and good vision, so it is crucial to have strong eyesight and hand-eye coordination.
- Independent worker – Although electricians may be a part of larger construction teams, this is mainly a solitary vocation that suits people who like to work alone.
- Electricians must learn time management skills to do their work effectively and on time.
- Electricians operate in dangerous environments where they run the risk of electric shocks and burns, thus safety awareness is crucial.
- Electrical contractors utilize their critical thinking skills to pinpoint problems and select the most effective solutions after conducting system and product testing.
- Logic-based problem-solving skills – When electrical devices and systems fail, electricians must utilize logic to find a fix.
- Customer service skills – By being approachable, electricians can work with both home and commercial clients.
- Physical endurance – Standing or kneeling for extended periods of time is a common task for electricians, which can be stressful on the body.
- As their careers progress, electricians will be expected to oversee less experienced and apprentice electricians.
How much does an electrician make?
Everything is based on their current location and level of experience. Entry-level electricians typically make $21.25 per hour. The pay for electricians increases dramatically at the beginning of their careers. An electrician with between five and 10 years of experience may expect to make $49,000 annually. Currently, the average yearly salary is $54,000. However, electricians in some of the wealthiest locations in the nation might make a lot more money. For instance, the average yearly salary for an electrician in Boston, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington, is $86,000; $89,000; and $89,000, respectively.
Recent high school graduates find working as an electrician particularly appealing because of the robust job growth and the possibility of a long, stable career. If you have a logical mind and a knack for math and science, becoming an electrician might be the right career choice for you. Find a great job as an electrician as soon as possible.