For those interested in a career that can be both challenging and lucrative, and also ultimately fulfilling, being an electrician should be a viable choice. In the following article, we’ll talk about the electrician job description, duties, skills, qualification, training, hours, and future prospects.
From fixing a broken light switch in a family home to wiring an entire factory, electricians take care of the installation, maintenance, testing, and repair of electrical components, such as lighting and video systems, as well as power distribution, such as wiring and conduits.
Job Overview: What Does an Electrician Do?
Because the modern world thrives on electricity, electricians work for nearly any type of construction and industry. They may work independently, in collaboration with other independent tradespeople, or under the supervision of a large services firm or company.
The exact duties in the electrician job description depend on their specialties. For example, residential electricians deal with the systems inside people’s homes, with tasks that include replacing old wiring during renovations or fixing broken fixtures. Inside electricians, on the other hand, are concerned with the electrical systems inside businesses like factories, which can cover installing and wiring new power grids, or maintaining existing machinery so it functions at peak efficiency.
Electrician Job Duties
- Understand the requirements for completing a project successfully and to client satisfaction by reading work orders or looking at technical blueprints and diagrams.
- Travel, when necessary, to different locations to perform tasks, sometimes over long distances.
- Understand industry standards, local building regulations based on the National Electrical Code, and common practices, so that they protect themselves, fellow workers, and clients from electrical hazards.
- Install, test, and maintain electrical systems and components such as lighting systems or control panels.
- Inspect electrical systems and parts to ensure that they are functioning correctly and efficiently, with no potential hazards to users.
- Look for electrical problems using different diagnostic devices, and be able to explain their findings to industry professionals or clients.
- Fix or replace equipment, fixtures, wiring, and other electrical components using power tools or hand tools.
- Supervise and train workers or apprentices on how to install, test, maintain, repair, or replace wiring, fixtures, and other electrical equipment.
Electrician Job Essential Skills
Critical thinking. Electricians must be able to logically determine the cause of problems, such as by using a multi-meter to check wiring, and then determine the best way to fix it.
Color vision. Because many electrical components, such as wires, are color-coded, the ability to distinguish between different shades is critical.
Physical stamina. Electricians may need to spend long hours standing while running wires, and must tolerate uncomfortable positions, such as kneeling or crouching, as they install fixtures in cramped spaces.
Physical strength. Electricians have to be able to carry and move heavy components.
Customer-service skills. When dealing with other people such as managers, fellow workers, and customers, the ability to listen to other people’s needs and address them is critical.
Business skills. These are particularly important for electricians who are self-employed, who must solicit and bid on new jobs, plan and perform projects, track inventory and hours, assign tasks, and manage billing and budgets.
Becoming an Electrician
Given the complexity of their work, as well as potential hazards, electricians must undergo specific training to learn the skills needed for the job. This is typically achieved through an apprenticeship, although technical school is also possible.
Continuing education courses may be needed to keep pace with advancing technology and changes in the electrical code or safety regulations.
Qualifications and Training
Before beginning, electrician trainees typically require a high school diploma or equivalent. They also must be at least 18 years old, pass an aptitude test drug screening, and have one year of algebra.
Most learn their skills in an apprenticeship program that lasts four or five years, and are sponsored by unions and contractor organizations. Every year of learning normally grants at least 144 hours of technical knowledge. This covers such theoretical knowledge as math, blueprint reading, electrical code, electrical theory, and safety.
Specialized training is also available in fields like communications, fire safety systems, or soldering. Every year also requires about 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, where apprentices learn hands-on skills while getting paid.
Apprentices who successfully complete their programs enter the workforce as journey workers who can now perform duties without having to work under the supervision of a more experienced electrician, as long as they follow local practices and regulations.
Training is also available from technical schools, which may count as credit against an apprenticeship. Programs are also available from some contractors.
States usually require licensing for prospective electricians, who must pass a test related to the regulations spelled out by the National Electrical Code. Requirements are available on the National Electrical Contractors Association website.
Electricians who complete an approved apprenticeship program will already have thousands of hours of work experience by the time they enter the workforce as independent journey workers. Even those who attend technical school classes only receive credit for an apprenticeship that requires on-the-job experience. So, it is not possible to become an electrician without having job experience.
Nearly all electricians work full-time, which can include evenings, weekends, and holidays. When projects are on a schedule, such as during construction or during scheduled maintenance, overtime may be required to complete electrical tasks.
Those working outdoors may need to adjust their schedules when the weather doesn’t cooperate, while those whose jobs are indoors can perform their tasks according to their schedules. About 10 percent of all electricians work independently, which allows them to set their own timetables.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
Electricians typically earn $52,720 per year, which is more than the $42,310 annual mean made by the average construction trades worker and than the $37,040 yearly average for workers in all industries. The lowest-earning electricians typically earn under $31,800 a year, while those at the top can make more than an annual $90.420.
Prospects for this career are excellent, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting 14 percent growth over ten years for electricians, compared to 10 percent for construction trades workers, and 7 percent for the average employee.
Much of the demand will come from a growing population that needs places to live, work, and play in, which in turn requires wiring. More efficient systems and procedures, as well as the introduction of alternative energy sources, will also provide employment.
Many employers report finding qualified applicants. Those professionals who have experience with different types of electrical systems, or who have military service experience, will find the best opportunities.
Electricians who undergo the right apprenticeship training can look forward to a career where they can pick and choose the type of work that they want. Both demand and salary for electricians are expected to be better than average in the coming years.
We hope this guide to the electrician job description has helped you figure out if you want to pursue a career as an electrician yourself. If so, don’t hesitate to use the resources provided to learn more about the job.