Why Become An Electrician
Working with electricity is a fulfilling career because it requires an electrician to have a good working knowledge of the relevant electric codes. Electrical work doesn’t get tedious, because every day brings something new and fresh to the profession. It also offers tremendous benefits and career potential.
Many electricians work alone but may collaborate with others. An electrician can be responsible for installation, maintenance and repair work in either a residential or commercial setting. Electricians work with a wide range of tools and their duties can vary between positions, however, electricians typically read blueprints and technical diagrams, install and maintain wiring, inspect electrical components, test and identify electrical problems, repair or replace equipment and fixtures, and follow state and local regulations based on the National Electric Code.
Some examples of the many types of electricians there are include:
- Inside electricians maintain and repair equipment and control systems in businesses and factories.
- Residential electricians install, maintain and upgrade electrical systems in homes and apartments.
- Commercial electricians work in commercial buildings, on construction sites, and mechanical electrical systems and perform installations, upgrades and troubleshooting.
- Journeyman electricians work in both residences and commercial buildings, working with lighting installations, power supplies and mechanical connections.
- Master electricians are highly skilled and typically work in a supervisory role or own contracting businesses.
On The Job Training
A huge benefit to becoming an electrician is that you won’t accumulate an unimaginable amount of student debt to earn a great living. In fact, as an apprentice electrician, you’ll be able to earn while you learn your trade. That means that while others are attending college with no guarantee of a job after they graduate, you’ll be earning a decent wage and your electrical training at the same time.
To find a paid apprentice program near you click on the buttons below.
Based on the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average electrician in the United States makes just over $48,000 a year.
To determine your potential pay as an electrician use this salary calculator.
Job Security & Opportunities
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicts that the demand for qualified electricians will explode in the next ten years. In fact, they expect more than 130,000 new electrician jobs to be created over this time period, which is a staggering 23% increase. Based on their analysis of the growth of various industries and professions, this is significantly higher than average.
Throughout the United States, there is an opportunity for hardworking newcomers to enter into the electrical trade. Electricians have great job security because electrical services will always be in need – in homes and in businesses – and there is no danger of electrical jobs becoming outsourced overseas to machines. The map below, provided by MyNextMove.org, shows the current demand for electricians per state across the United States.
Jobs Are Available Now
When considering becoming an electrician you are considering a career path that grants you the opportunity to find a job today. The demand for skilled tradespeople continues to grow across the USA. As Mike Rowe, the host of the TV series Dirty Jobs, pointed out in his speech to the Senate Commerce Committee on May 11, 2011, there is an intense need for HVAC technicians, plumbers, electricians and other skilled tradespeople.
‘Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions. There are 450,000 openings in trades, transportation and utilities. The Skills Gap is real, and it’s getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They’re retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them.’ -Mike Row
Watch Mike Rowe’s Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee
How to Become an Electrician
- Get formal training. Join an electrician apprenticeship program sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) or Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC). These programs include both classroom courses and on-the-job training, and take about 4 years to complete. Or earn a certificate in a technical vocational school or training academy. If you go this route, you will learn the classroom theory in the vocational school, and will then have to look for an apprenticeship to develop the on-the-job skills.
- Get working. Those already with a year or more of training are usually called helpers. Helpers can expect to be assigned to work with one (or more) journeyman electricians on job sites. If starting out as an apprentice however, these will have to be learned on the job (and in the case of electrician apprenticeship training – a classroom) while working under the close supervision of a journeyman electrician.
- Get licensed. Although electrician licensing requirements vary from area to area, electricians usually must pass a location-specific examination that tests their knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local electric and building codes. To learn the specific qualifications, licensing needs and training hours necessary to become an electrician in your region, please click on the link below.