How to Work as an Electrician
Electrician installs and repairs electrical power, communication, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories. They also read and interpret blueprints and other technical documents. These careers require physical stamina and the ability to focus on detailed work for long hours.
Many electricians work with customers and need effective people skills to communicate clearly. They also need to be honest with their clients and keep them informed about progress on their projects.
Electricians are in high demand, and the outlook for this career is excellent. Although employment in this trade fluctuates with overall economic conditions, it is expected to grow by at least 9 percent between 2020 and 2026. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. A construction boom should boost demand for electricians, who are needed to install wiring and equipment in homes and buildings. In addition, emerging technology related to alternative power generation, such as solar and wind, will require electricians for installation and for linking these sources to the grid.
Those interested in becoming electricians can prepare by earning a high school diploma or equivalent and completing a four- to five-year apprenticeship program. Many programs are sponsored by unions and contractor associations. Others are offered at trade schools. After completing the apprenticeship, students must pass a test and become licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state.
The job of an electrician requires physical stamina and the ability to read blueprints, which include technical diagrams that show the location of circuits, outlets, and other electrical components. They must also have the skills to work with hand and power tools, such as conduit benders, screwdrivers, and drills. They must also be able to troubleshoot problems and determine whether the equipment is functioning properly.
While the job of an electrician may seem intimidating, it offers excellent opportunities for growth and career satisfaction. Most Americans work well into their 60s, so they might as well do a job that is enjoyable and satisfying. Besides the potential to advance and earn more money, a career in the electrical industry provides other benefits, such as job security. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that electricians are less likely to experience unemployment than other workers in the construction industry. This is because there is always a need for new electricity in the home and at the workplace. Additionally, the wages of electricians are higher than those of other construction workers.
Education and training requirements
A person who wants to become an electrician needs a high school diploma or equivalent and must complete an apprenticeship program. Many of these programs last four or five years and include classroom instruction and practical on-the-job training. Other people choose to earn an associate degree in electrical construction from a technical college. This program can provide advanced training and make them more marketable as electricians.
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, factories, and public spaces such as streets and highways. They also inspect transformers, circuit breakers, and other electrical components to ensure that they are in good working order. They often use various testing devices to pinpoint issues with electrical wiring and equipment. They also follow state and local regulations based on the National Electrical Code.
Most electricians learn their skills through an apprenticeship, which can take up to 7.5 years in total. This includes classroom instruction in the basics of electrical systems, AC/DC circuitry, motors, electrical wiring, and solar photovoltaic systems. They also learn about electrical calculations, box and conduit sizing, and the safety protocols involved in this type of work.
Once they have completed their apprenticeship, they can apply for a journeyman’s license. This license is required in most states and shows that they have the knowledge and experience to perform their job safely and accurately. It is essential that they pass a written exam and an on-the-job performance test.
Those who want to become electricians should have a strong desire to succeed and be willing to work hard. They should also have excellent interpersonal communication skills and be able to work as part of a team. They need to be able to read and understand schematics or blueprints, and they should be able to use a variety of tools and equipment, including power construction equipment, hand tools, and testing devices such as ohmmeters and voltmeters. They may be required to do heavy work, such as digging trenches and lifting and moving heavy objects. They must also be able to work in cramped spaces and at heights.
Having the right qualifications and training is just part of the job; it’s also important to be licensed by your state or municipality. This will ensure that you are qualified to work safely in the field and that you’re following local electrical codes and regulations. In addition, licensing requirements can vary by region and specialty. If you’re interested in a career as a residential electrician, for instance, you may have to complete specialized education and pass an exam.
Most electricians begin their careers by attending trade or vocational school and then joining an apprenticeship program. The programs typically last four to five years and combine classroom instruction with practical on-the-job training under a master or journeyman electrician. Students in these programs usually learn basic mathematics, wiring and circuitry, motor control, and electrical theory, but many choose to take additional classes to further their knowledge of the profession.
Once an apprentice has finished their apprenticeship, they’ll need to pass a state or city license exam. This test consists of a written and practical examination. The written exam typically has multiple-choice questions, and no reference materials are allowed during the test. A passing score on the written exam is at least 70%. The practical exam will assess an applicant’s ability to correctly install and troubleshoot a variety of electrical systems.
After successfully completing the written and practical exams, electricians will need to submit proof of insurance before they can start working. Depending on the state, this might include general liability and professional liability insurance or personal property and workers’ compensation coverage. Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow licensed professionals to work in other jurisdictions with fewer or no additional licensing requirements.
Most states have different requirements for becoming a licensed electrician, but most require at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. Other qualifications include a technical college degree and extensive hands-on experience. In some cases, an individual must also pass a criminal background check to be considered for a license.
An electrician’s salary is usually dependent on his or her level of experience. While an entry-level electrician can make a modest income, master electricians can command salaries of up to $140,000 per year. Those who are interested in earning more money can pursue additional certifications or learn to repair different types of components. These additional skills can increase their value to the company and lead to a pay raise.
Another way to increase the salary of an electrician is to specialize in a specific type of work. For example, if your boss only needs someone to handle service calls, you could focus on that type of work. This makes you a valuable asset to the company, and your boss will do everything in his or her power to keep you on the job.
There are many ways to boost your salary as an electrician, but the most important thing is to stay focused on your work. If you do your best to be efficient and produce quality results, you will earn the respect of your coworkers, which can lead to a significant increase in your pay. Furthermore, you should strive to make yourself a valuable member of the team and take on more challenging projects.
Electricians are an essential part of the construction industry, and they have a variety of career options. Those who work as journeymen can choose to work for contractors or run their own electrical companies. They can also choose to become master electricians and oversee the work of journeymen electricians. These careers require an extensive amount of training and can lead to excellent career prospects.
The salary of an electrician can vary by state, but it tends to be higher in the Northeast and the West. These states have higher costs of living, which can affect the salary. Those who are interested in this career should consider taking the time to study state-specific wage data.
A career as an electrician offers a good salary, but it can also be stressful and physically strenuous. Some of these jobs are dangerous, and the hours can be long. However, the benefits of this career include health insurance and retirement benefits. Some employers even offer profit-sharing to their employees.