How to Become an Electrician
An electrician is a specialist who works with electrical appliances, wiring, and installation. An electrician's role could include wiring up a new house, installing lights, repairing existing electrical work, or checking for electrical safety in a homes or business. Electricians may also install and repair wiring to machinery or other equipment.
Electricians have excellent problem solving skills and technical knowledge. Good manual dexterity is also a good skill to have, as you need to have a steady hand. Creative thinking will always come in handy as an electrician.
There are many good reasons to become an electrician. You work will be constantly changing, allowing you to work in a wide range of locations, indoors and outdoors, as well as meeting many interesting people on the job. There is also the opportunity to work for yourself and start your own business later on.
Education Requirements to Become an Electrician
To become an electrician, you will need to complete a four year apprenticeship program. During this time you will take part in a combination of classroom activity, as well as practical on the job training.
Mathematics and an understanding of all things technical are required to become an electrician. If you are still in high school, you should take subjects such as math, as well as technology if your school offers it. Some schools will offer vocational programs where you can start your classroom work to become an electrician while still in school.
Theoretical work focuses on reading blueprints, electrical theory, mathematics, safety requirements, building codes, as well as first aid practices. You can also continue on to further training in niche areas such as communications, auto electronics, communications, or machinery work.
Some electricians start out by enrolling in a vocational school and completing their classroom learning first. They then seek out 2 years of practical experience to complete their training. As apprenticeships can be competitive, this is a good alternative option to keep in mind.
When you complete your apprenticeship, you will be qualified to work in both the maintenance and construction sectors. Most states require you to become licensed. This means that you will need to sit a state set exam, which will test theoretical knowledge such as the National Electrical Code.
Electrician Job Description
An electrician can find themselves completing many different tasks as a part of their work. Most jobs will start with studying the blueprints of the building they are working on. They will then formulate a plan to install the wiring, lighting, components, and conductors required of the job they are doing. Here are some of the tasks an electrician may find themselves completing.
- Installing wiring to new construction
- Repairing wiring in existing buildings
- Installing lights, appliances, and wiring
- Checking wiring for safety
- Following state building codes
- Analyzing building blueprints
Most electricians work a 40 hour week as a minimum, with many also working overtime hours. Electricians working on construction sites will mostly work Monday to Friday. Those who work in maintenance may need to be on call, and find themselves working out of business hours in the case of an emergency.
Electrician Salary and Career Path
Job opportunities for electricians are good, the broader your skills base is, the better. Most electricians work within the construction industry, working on new homes, offices, factories, and renovation projects. The remainder work within other sectors, such as repairs, installations, or are self-employed.
As an electrician, you will likely be trained to work in both maintenance and construction, most tend to end up working in either one area or the other. There is much more opportunity and work within the construction industry for electricians.
The median salary for an electrician is $45,000 a year. Those starting out could earn around $35,000, while those with more experience could earn as much as $65,000. Most electricians are employed as contractors, and paid on an hourly basis.
If you are looking for a varied workplace, with plenty of things to do and always something new to learn, you should consider becoming an electrician. This role offers challenging and changing tasks, you'll also meet a lot of different people. You'll need good technical ability and problem solving skills to succeed. Employment is secure and a reasonable salary is available.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics