Electrician Career Training

The electrician’s job is to install electrical wiring and machinery in homes, industrial complexes, and commercial buildings. They may also be responsible for other specialized tasks involving electrical wiring such as alarm systems and elevators. They repair and service these same systems as well.

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At a Glance

Electrician Training CenterOther Job Titles: Construction electrician, service/maintenance technician
Salary Range/Pay:[1] 
$30,420-$82,930; Median $49,840
Education/Training Required: 
Technical training school and 4-year formal apprenticeship program
Desired Skills/Aptitude: 
No color blindness, troubleshooter, critical thinker, communication skills
Certification/Licensing: 
All states require licensure
Locations with Best Opportunities[2]
Texas, California, New York, Florida, Illinois
Employment Outlook: 
Expected growth 23% through 2020 (faster compared to average)
Opportunities for Advancement: 
Specialization and learning more skills opens up greater opportunities; can advance to master electrician with more education and experience

What an Electrician Does

Structures used for residential and commercial purposes all have electrical wiring for lights, climate control, alarm systems, appliances, and whatever else draws current. The electrician is in the middle of construction projects and installs wiring to provide the required power feed based on specifications provided by the building designer. Some of their usual job tasks include:

  • Using testing meters and devices to isolate electrical troubles
  • Practicing strict adherence to local building regulations and code
  • Reading and understanding blueprints and applying those specifications to their work
  • Supervising other apprentices
  • Inspecting, installing, and repairing other electrical components such as circuit breakers and transformers

What an electrician does also goes beyond construction. They install electrical machinery wherever it is required. For example, they might install back-up generators in commercial buildings. They work with engineers, construction crews, and other technicians when it comes to installing or repairing anything electrical.

The Workplace

The workplaces of electricians are just as varied as the types of jobs they work on. As a result, they are called upon to work outdoors, indoors, and in tight crawl spaces. They may have to work in adverse weather conditions as well.

Their job has some hazards inherent to it. They are susceptible to injuries that any other worker would have at a construction site such as falls, cuts, and falling objects. Their job requires a significant amount of bending, kneeling, and standing. If working at industrial installations, they may be susceptible to excessive noise from heavy electrical machinery.

They also have the additional risks of electric shock and burns from electrical accidents. Thus, they are required to wear safety garments and glasses plus adhere to strict guidelines to prevent these mishaps.

Oftentimes for small jobs electricians will work on their own while consulting with other specialists on site. For example, they may consult with those responsible for installing heating and cooling systems before running the electrical feed wiring for them.

Education and Certification

While some post-secondary vocational and trade schools offer programs to be an electrician, most go through a 4-year apprenticeship which typically involves 2,000 hours of on-the-job training with pay and 144 hours of classroom training for each year the apprentice is in the program. Trade unions and contractor organizations such as the Electrical Contractors Association and Independent Electrical Contractors Association offer various apprenticeship programs.

These apprenticeship programs cover topics such as electrical building codes, reading blueprints, theory of electricity, safety, first-aid, elevators, soldering, fire alarms, and more. Apprentices are trained in both installation of new wiring (construction) as well as maintenance of existing installations.

The first step to getting into an apprenticeship program is to earn your high school diploma or equivalency. One beneficial course you should take in high school is algebra. Other qualifications to get into an apprenticeship program include achieving the required score on an aptitude test, passing a drug test, and being at least 18 years of age.

Licensing is required in all states and the requirements vary between them. It is best to contact the licensing authority of your state to get the specific requirements.

 


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Electricians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes472111.htm

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Electricians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes472111.htm

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