Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. They install electrical wiring and fixtures, build and repair electrical panels, and install and maintain electrical control systems. Electricians also install communications wiring, such as telephone and cable television lines, and data lines.
Electricians may specialize in a particular field, such as residential electrical work or wiring control panels in large buildings. They also may specialize in a particular type of electrical equipment, such as wiring electrical outlets or installing electrical systems in a hospital.
Electrician Job Duties
An electrician’s job duties and responsibilities can include:
- Installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical systems
- Performing routine inspections of electrical equipment to ensure that it is operating safely
- Conducting research on new technologies in the field
- Working with contractors to ensure compliance with safety standards and building codes
- Maintaining a current knowledge of state and federal regulations governing the industry
- Inspecting and testing completed work for quality assurance purposes
Electrician Salary & Outlook
As of May 2020, the median annual wage for electricians was $56,900. The lowest-earning 10% of electricians took home less than $33,810, while the highest-earning 10% earned more than $73,090.
The number of electrician jobs is predicted to increase by 9% between 2020 and 2030. These jobs, however, will mostly be for skilled electricians who can maintain and repair solar and wind energy equipment.
Electrician Job Requirements
The requirements for electricians are as follows:
Training: Electricians learn their skills on the job, through apprenticeships or on-the-job training. Apprenticeships last from four to five years, and include 2,000 to 4,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training and 8 to 12 weeks of technical instruction.
Certification: The Electrical Training Alliance is a nonprofit organization that offers several certification programs in electrical work, including wiring. These programs are intended to help employees gain specific knowledge of the electrical industry and to help employers find employees who are prepared for specific positions.
The following skills are required for this job:
Work ethic: This is a physically demanding job that requires long hours and hard work.
Physical strength: Electricians must be able to lift heavy equipment and tools, climb ladders, and stand on their feet for much of the day.
Knowledge of safety procedures: Electricians must know how to follow safety procedures in order to avoid accidents on the job site.
Electrical knowledge: A working knowledge of electrical theory will help you do your job more safely and efficiently.
Hand-eye coordination: Hand-eye coordination is crucial for an electrician because he or she needs steady hands when working with tools and equipment such as screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, wire strippers, and soldering irons.
Electrician Work Environment
An electrician’s work environment is often indoors, but they may work on construction sites, on rooftops, or in other outdoor areas.
The work is often strenuous, and electricians must be in good physical shape to handle the work. They may have to work in tight spaces, and they are at risk for serious injury or death from electrocution, falls, or contact with dangerous equipment.
Electrician Career Advancement
Electricians can gain additional responsibility by taking on more complex projects. For example, a journeyman electrician can become a master electrician, which involves a rigorous exam process. These electricians are often tasked with managing a team of electricians and overseeing a project from start to finish. They may also decide to become a part of the management team of a construction company.
Here are three trends influencing how Electricians work. Electricians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Rise of the “Smart Grid”
One of the emerging trends in this field is the rise of the “smart grid,” which refers to a network that allows consumers to manage their energy consumption and usage.
The concept was originally developed in 2005 by Duke Energy but has since been adopted by other companies around the world. The emergence of smart grids in urban areas has led to the development of new roles within electrical fields, such as “distribution engineers” who work with utilities to manage information systems and keep track of smart grid technology.
Focus on Energy Efficiency
Electrical companies are increasingly focusing on energy efficiency as it has become a more popular trend among homeowners. This is due to the increased popularity of green technologies, such as solar panels and LED lighting, which can significantly reduce electricity bills for customers. As this trend becomes more widespread, electricians will need to have expertise in these systems to ensure that they are installed properly.
Increasing Importance of Communication Skills
Employers are also increasingly looking for employees who can communicate effectively with clients.
To ensure that they get the most out of their work, electricians will need to be able to clearly communicate issues or questions to customers, suppliers, and fellow electricians in order to get projects completed on time and within budget.
How to Become a Electrician
1. Planning Your Career Path
Becoming an electrician is a natural next step for many people who have worked in construction or trades. If you’re considering this career path, keep in mind that many states require electricians to have their own licenses and permits.
Additionally, it’s important to choose the right training program and educational institution to ensure that you get the skills you need to succeed. There are many options available, ranging from on-the-job training to apprenticeships to classroom instruction. Be sure to do your research before deciding on the right training program for you.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for electricians highlight not only their electrical skills but also their ability to work well with others. Electricians must be able to solve problems, adapt to different situations, and work independently. You can demonstrate these traits by describing past projects and the way you approached them.
3. Applying for Jobs
The best way to find an electrician job is to talk to electricians in your area. Get in touch with them and ask them if they know of any opportunities, or if they could recommend you to anyone. If you have any personal connections to people who work in the industry, see if they can help you. Also, search online for local contractors and other companies that hire electricians. You can also try posting your resume on job boards like Indeed, CareerBuilder, and SimplyHired.
4. Ace the Interview
For an interview as an electrician candidate, you will want to make sure you have a firm grasp on the electrical code, and be able to discuss common projects that electricians take on. You should also make sure you know how to read a blueprint. During the interview, remember that the employer will want to see your knowledge in action.
If possible, try practicing your skills with wiring and electrical equipment ahead of time so that during the interview it will seem like second nature! Make sure you look professional by wearing clothes that are clean and well-kept. And be prepared for tough questions — don’t hesitate or get flustered if asked about any part of your experience. It is important for employers to see how you react under pressure.