Career Development

What Does an Electrician Do?

Find out what an electrician does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an electrician.

Electricians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems in both residential and commercial settings. They work with a wide range of equipment, including circuit breakers, transformers, switches, wires, cables, and other devices.

Electricians must be able to read blueprints and diagrams in order to understand the layout of a building or structure before beginning any installation or repair work. They also need to have strong problem-solving skills so that they can identify and resolve issues as they arise.

Electrician Job Duties

Electricians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Installing electrical wiring for new construction projects such as houses or commercial buildings
  • Installing electrical components such as light fixtures, outlets, switches, and junction boxes
  • Maintaining and repairing electrical equipment such as transformers, circuit breakers, fuses, wiring, and machinery
  • Installing electrical systems in new buildings such as data wiring and fiber optic lines
  • Installing electrical systems in existing buildings such as security and fire alarm systems
  • Estimating materials and labor costs for jobs
  • Installing electrical equipment in industrial plants such as motors and generators
  • Troubleshooting electrical problems by testing electrical outlets and wiring to identify malfunctions in the system
  • Performing electrical maintenance services such as replacing light bulbs, repairing broken switches, and cleaning fans to ensure safe operation of equipment

Electrician Salary & Outlook

Electricians’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $132,000 ($63.46/hour)

The employment of electricians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Electricians will be needed to install and maintain electrical systems in a wide variety of commercial and industrial establishments, including retail stores, office buildings, and factories. In addition, electricians will be needed to update electrical systems to meet current building codes and ensure the reliability of power grids.

Related: In-Depth Electrician Salary Guide

Electrician Job Requirements

Electricians typically need to have the following background:

Education: Most electricians need a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, some employers prefer to hire electricians who have completed an apprenticeship program. These programs typically last two years and include both classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

Training & Experience: Most of an electrician’s training will take place through formal education. On-the-job training is usually minimal, as most of the skills and knowledge an electrician needs are learned through formal education.

Certifications & Licenses: Though certifications are not required to become an electrician, they can show your commitment to the industry and may help you stand out when applying for jobs.

Electrician Skills

Electricians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Electrical knowledge: Electrical knowledge is the ability to understand and apply electrical principles to their work. Electrical knowledge is necessary for an electrician to understand how to properly install and maintain electrical systems. This includes understanding the different types of electrical systems and how to identify them. It also includes understanding how to properly connect electrical systems and how to identify potential hazards.

Problem-solving skills: Electrical problems can occur in any building, and electricians need to be able to identify the problem and find a solution. This can include identifying the source of the problem, finding the right tools and equipment to fix it and communicating with other professionals to find the best solution.

Communication skills: Electrical professionals use communication skills to interact with clients, read blueprints and interpret electrical diagrams. They also use communication skills to explain electrical processes to other electricians. Effective communication skills can help an electrician work with a team and solve electrical problems.

Attention to detail: Electrical work is precise work, so it’s important for electricians to have good attention to detail. They need to make sure they follow all safety regulations, use the correct tools and materials and make sure their work is up to code. Attention to detail can also help them save time and money by noticing any potential issues before they become bigger problems.

Physical stamina: Electrical work can be physically demanding. You may need to lift heavy equipment, climb on roofs or scaffolding and work in cramped spaces. Having good physical stamina can help you complete your work efficiently.

Electrician Work Environment

Electricians work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather. They may be exposed to dust, dirt, noise, and extreme temperatures while working in cramped, awkward positions. Many electricians work full time, and overtime is often necessary to meet deadlines. Some electricians may be on call 24 hours a day. Although most electricians learn their trade through an apprenticeship, some start out as helpers. Electricians must have good color vision to work with the different colored wires. They must also have good physical coordination and manual dexterity and be able to work at heights.

Electrician Trends

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.

The Need for More Cybersecurity Professionals

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow. This is because hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are able to find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems.

Electricians can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in cybersecurity and learning how to protect businesses from cyberattacks. In addition, they can also become familiar with other areas of electrical work, such as lighting and wiring, so that they can offer a wider range of services to their clients.

The Importance of Energy Efficiency

The importance of energy efficiency is becoming increasingly apparent in today’s world. As the cost of electricity continues to rise, businesses are looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption. This is where electricians come in—they can help businesses identify ways to save energy and money.

In order to take advantage of this trend, electricians should focus on becoming experts in energy efficiency. This includes installing energy-efficient lighting and appliances, as well as designing buildings to be more efficient.

More Focus on Renewable Energy Sources

As the world becomes more concerned about climate change, there has been an increased focus on renewable energy sources. This has led to an increase in demand for electricians who specialize in installing and maintaining these types of systems.

As the demand for renewable energy increases, electricians who are able to install and maintain these systems will be in high demand. They will be needed to ensure that these systems are working properly and that they are meeting the needs of customers.

How to Become an Electrician

An electrician career can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to start off on the right foot by getting the necessary training and certifications. You should also network with other electricians and stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends.

When looking for work, consider specializing in a particular area of electrical work. This will help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of finding employment.

Related: How to Write an Electrician Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many electricians start out as apprentice electricians. Apprenticeship programs typically last four years and include a minimum of 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Apprentices learn electrical theory, blueprint reading, mathematics, safety, and first aid. They also learn to identify and use the tools and equipment of the trade.

After completing an apprenticeship program, electricians are journeyman electricians. Journeyman electricians can work unsupervised but usually do not have the authority to design electrical systems. Many journeyman electricians work as employees of electrical contractors. Some journeymen electricians eventually become master electricians. A master electrician has the authority to design, install, and maintain electrical systems. Some master electricians open their own electrical contracting businesses.

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