Do you enjoy taking things apart and figuring out how to put them back together? If so, a career as an electrician may be for you.
Electricians install, test and repair electrical wiring, light fixtures and other equipment. They often work for contractors, maintenance departments or as self-employed independent electricians.
To become an electrician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED certificate and then complete trade school or apprenticeship programs. These programs offer classroom instruction and hands-on training in a variety of electrical skills. They also prepare you to take the National Electrical Code exam and work as a licensed electrician in your state.
In addition to technical knowledge, electricians need critical thinking and communication skills. This is because they use specialized tools to test and analyze equipment and electrical systems. They must also understand how to interpret memos, blueprints and other technical documents that they receive on job sites.
Physical stamina is another important skill for electricians. They often have to climb ladders and work in confined spaces. They also need to be able to lift and carry heavy equipment and tools. Many electricians find themselves working independently, so they need to be self-motivated and able to manage their time effectively. They should be comfortable with manual dexterity because they’ll be using drills, pliers, wire strippers and screwdrivers on a daily basis.
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, factories, and public spaces and thoroughfares. They ensure that all electrical work meets governmental safety standards.
They use diagrams or blueprints to plan the layout and installation of electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. They also inspect the integrity of circuits and equipment, using a variety of testing devices. Electricians are often called on to perform hazardous tasks, such as working from ladders or scaffolding and installing conduit. They must have excellent manual dexterity and be able to use small hand and power tools.
Electricians may progress through a series of journeyman apprenticeship programs to become master electricians. They can then go on to become supervisors or managers. In some jurisdictions, electricians can even obtain the status of field safety representative (FSR) to pull permits and supervise other electrical workers. This can open up more employment opportunities. Many electricians set up their own businesses and work as subcontractors.
Working as an electrician, you will need to adhere to the electrical, building and fire codes. You will have to prepare, make, install, test and troubleshoot wiring and electrical systems for buildings and structures. You will also need to prepare cost estimates and documentation for clients. You may work for electrical contractors or directly for building maintenance departments. You can also be self-employed.
Electricians work indoors and outdoors, at construction sites, homes, businesses and factories. The work can be strenuous and involves bending conduit, lifting heavy objects and standing or stooping for long periods of time. You may have to travel locally or long distances for work and you will be exposed to inclement weather conditions.
If you want to become a licensed electrician, consider completing an apprenticeship program that includes classroom instruction and on-the-job training. You can also earn an associate degree in the field of engineering, technology or electrical science from a trade school.
An electrician’s salary can vary depending on their skill level, experience, and geographic location. For example, those who specialize in working on industrial projects can make significantly more money than their counterparts who work on residential projects.
In addition to a competitive salary, electricians often enjoy other benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. Additionally, they may receive additional compensation for taking on emergency calls or working overtime.
In fact, electricians are a highly desirable workforce and the field is expected to grow in the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 79,900 new electrician jobs will be created each year over the next decade. And that’s not even a close estimate—this number only accounts for replacing current workers who retire or transfer to different occupations. For those interested in becoming an electrician, it’s definitely worth researching the salary data available. You can also sign up for ServiceTitan, which provides an online labor rate calculator that takes all of your business costs into account so you can charge your customers the right price for a quality electrical job.