How to Become an Electrician
Electricians prepare, assemble, install, test and repair electrical wiring, fixtures, control devices and related equipment in all types of buildings and other structures. They may be self-employed or work for electrical contractors or building maintenance departments.
A job as an electrician has a lot of benefits, including steady employment, good job prospects and a high salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average electrician wages are about $56,900 per year.
The demand for electricians is expected to increase by 9% over the next decade. This should mean many new jobs for the trade, but it also means there will be a shortage of skilled workers.
To become an electrician, you must complete a rigorous apprenticeship program. This involves classroom instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. It can take 4-5 years to complete and requires at least a high school diploma.
Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you can seek employment as a journeyman electrician. You’ll need to pass a state exam and meet any other requirements. Experienced electricians earn more than entry-level electricians.
Depending on their career goals, some people opt to specialize in a particular aspect of the electrical industry. For example, some electrical contractors specialize in installing solar panels or other renewable energy systems. These technicians must be able to install and test different equipment for the power grid and for individual clients.
For others, the desire to help people with their electrical needs is the driving force behind their career. These professionals focus on electrical safety, quality and customer service. They have a strong work ethic and can handle heavy work loads.
Electricians also have excellent communication skills, strong attention to detail and a high level of mechanical ability. These characteristics can make them attractive to a variety of employers, including commercial building owners and industrial facilities.
Aside from their practical experience, electrical workers also learn about the National Electrical Code. This code defines the safety rules for electrical installations and procedures. It’s updated annually.
The code focuses on electrical safety, protecting people from injury and ensuring that wiring is done correctly. It’s also designed to prevent fires and explosions.
In addition, it protects property from damages and theft. It also sets out standards for the handling of hazardous materials and electrical components.
While working with electricity is exciting, it’s often a challenging profession. It’s also subject to frequent changes in the national codes, so Electricians need to be able to keep up with changing regulations.
They must also stay on top of new technology and innovations in the field. This is especially true with emerging technologies like LAN cables and fiber optics.
Some electricians go on to advance their careers to supervisory or management positions. These are typically higher-paying, more responsible roles that require leadership and problem-solving skills. They may also become electrical inspectors.