How to Become an Electrician

If you’re interested in a career as an Electrician, then you’ll want to keep reading. This guide contains educational and training requirements, average salaries, tips for landing a job and more.

 

What Does an Electrician Do?

Electricians perform a variety of duties, from installing new wiring systems to maintaining pre-existing electrical systems. Electricians can work independently or as part of a team, and also have the option to work in residential, industrial or commercial settings.

Along with knowing how to install and maintain different kinds of new electrical systems, Electricians must also be able to effectively collaborate with other professionals involved in constructing or maintaining buildings and machinery.

Common Electrician duties and responsibilities include:

  • Technical tasks, such as reading blueprints and using various hand and power tools
  • Collaborative tasks, such as helping building developers design a safe and efficient electrical system
  • Maintenance tasks, such as using several different types of testing devices to identify problems

Electrician Skills

Installing new electrical systems is one of the primary functions of an Electrician, but it’s only one part of the job. Electricians must also have a firm understanding of both modern and outdated electrical systems so that they can safely maintain and repair all kinds of machinery, lighting systems, control panels, circuit breakers, appliances and more. And, since each different system and piece of equipment contains a multitude of parts and variables, Electricians need to be able to work meticulously and carefully.

Other key Electrician skills include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Strong technical knowledge
  • Ability to patiently troubleshoot
  • Good communication skills with clients, companies, and other construction professionals

 

How Do You Become an Electrician?

Education and Training

After researching online job listings, we found that employers are looking for an Electrician with a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. Rather than requiring a college degree, employers seek Electricians who have either completed a formal training program from a technical school or completed an Electrician apprenticeship program. Candidates who have completed both types of programs have a better chance of meeting the requirements of all prospective employers.

A technical school program is a great place to start when beginning a career as an Electrician. Technical schools offer programs of varying length: a certificate program can be completed in a year or less, while a degree program includes general education courses and can be completed in two or more years.

After completing a technical school program, you may wish to enter an apprenticeship program in order to gain real-world experience while getting paid to continue training at the same time.

Once you’ve completed a technical school program, an apprenticeship program or both, the final step in your path towards becoming an Electrician is earning your license. To view the licensing requirements and regulations for your state, click here.

Finding a Job

According to findings by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Electricians in increasing by an impressive 14 percent, and will result in the creation of 85,900 Electrician jobs between 2014 and 2024. This significant increase is due to a rising amount of electrically powered technology being used both residentially and commercially, as well as a reported shortage of properly trained and qualified Electricians. So if you’ve decided to become an Electrician, then your job prospects are likely to be great.

Before you begin your job search, be sure to have an excellent resume on hand. Check out JobHero’s library of Electrician resume samples to help get you on the right track.

Once you have a solid resume under your belt, conduct an online job search to find open positions in your area. Before you start applying to available positions, you’ll want to have a cover letter on hand. A cover letter will communicate your own personal work ethic, motivations and experience highlights to prospective employers. Read through JobHero’s Electrician cover letter sample for ideas on how to craft your own.

 

How Much Do Electricians Get Paid?

Depending on whether they work as an independent contractor or as a permanent employee for a company, Electricians are paid either on an hourly wage basis or an annual wage basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for an Electrician is $26.77, with the lowest-paid earning $16.62 per hour and the highest-paid earning $38.00 per hour.

Top Ten States for Electrician Salary

Electricians in the following ten states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

  1. Alaska: $38.38
  2. Illinois: $35.61
  3. Hawaii: $33.81
  4. New York: $32.53
  5. Oregon: $32.26
  6. Washington: $30.46
  7. Massachusetts: $30.19
  8. California: $30.16
  9. District of Columbia: $30.11
  10. Missouri: $29.07

 

Electrician Resources

We compiled this list of resources to help you keep researching your career as an Electrician.

Professional Groups

Independent Electrical Contractors – The IEC has more than 50 chapters across the United States, and offers training, apprenticeship, and continuing education resources, regular meetings and events and community outreach opportunities. Electricians can become a member at their local chapter.

National Electrical Contractors Association – NECA has 119 chapters across the country, and offers online courses, specialized training, various conferences and events and a wide array of informational resources. Students can get involved at NECA’s student chapters, and Electricians can become a member at their local chapter.

Electrician Websites

Electrician Talk – This free discussion group provides forums in which its members can talk about any Electrician-related topics, from apprenticeship to workplace safety to general electrical matters.

Mike Holt’s Forum – This free Electrician discussion group provides forums regarding business management, education, technical issues and more. It also offers newsletters, YouTube videos, and a Facebook group.

Electrician Books

Electrician’s Exam Study Guide – This study guide helps students prepare for each type of the Electrician licensing exam, and is filled with over 1,500 practice questions and answers. It also reviews various topics which will be included on the exam.

Ugly’s Electrical References – Whether you’re a student studying for a test or a licensed professional Electrician looking for a convenient pocket reference, this book is a great solution. It contains easily accessible formulas, calculations, abbreviated National Electrical Code tables and first-aid procedures in case of an emergency.

The information in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.

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