Electricians are responsible for installing and conserving electrical systems that power homes and commercial establishments. Read more to find out if a career as an electrician might be a good fit for you.
If you are fascinated by how things work, work well with your hands and are in good physical shape, you may be fit for a career as an electrician. Work in all aspects of electrical operations is very hands-on. Electricians measure voltage, install and repair lighting systems, splice wires and conduct inspections to ensure the safety of electrical systems at different establishments. Many electricians work as part of a construction crew, installing electrical systems into new homes and businesses. Others specialize in maintenance, which primarily involves repairing and replacing things like switches, wires, circuit breakers and other electrical components. All electricians are also responsible for ensuring that their work meet local building codes and state protocols.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for electricians is expected to grow 20% over the 2012-2022 decade (www .bls.gov). Individuals with a wide range of skills should have the best job prospects. The BLS also reports that the annual median wage for electricians was $50,510 in May 2013, though wages vary depending on individual employer and experience.
If you choose to become an electrician, you will need to complete an apprenticeship program, which combines classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training alongside an experienced electrician. Apprenticeships typically take about four years to complete. Additionally, many technical colleges and vocational schools offer electrician training programs for students who wish to begin their classroom training before beginning an apprenticeship. These programs can last about nine months and may include classes such as electrical theory, commercial wiring and circuitry, industrial controls, codes and blueprints, hazardous locations and power distributions, fire alarm systems and safety procedures.
After completing your education, you will likely need to earn a state license before you can begin working as an electrician. Some states also require special certification for positions like master electrician and electrical contractor. In many states, a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering may compensate for experience needed in certain positions, according to the BLS.