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Electricians Job Description, Career as a Electricians, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Apprenticeship Training

Salary Median: $20.97 per hour

Employment Outlook: Very Good

Electricians are responsible for installing electrical machinery and maintaining and repairing existing infrastructure. They specialize in electrical wiring, and are sometimes involved in designing electrical systems.

Electricians have various job titles. Construction electricians handle the actual wiring of buildings. Service or maintenance electricians are primarily responsible for troubleshooting wiring problems and making necessary repairs. One can also choose to work in the specialty areas of research electricians, marine electricians, or hospital electricians.

Electricians work with transformers, motors, electronic controllers, and generators. They install electrical equipment in accordance with the codes of public safety. For the installation process, electricians generally consult blueprints. They may also have to work in tandem with line installers, maintenance workers, engineers, and engineering technicians.

Education and Training Requirements

Candidates wishing to take up the profession of electricians should have appropriate training in the field. A number of apprenticeship programs are available, and for enrollment to these courses one needs a GED or a high school diploma. Organizations like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Electrical Contractors Association, and Independent Electrical Contractors Association sponsor apprenticeship programs for electricians. These courses generally last for about four years and include both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Electricians are taught mathematics, electrical theories and code requirements, blueprint reading, as well as safety procedures.

Prior to joining the profession, an electrician must obtain licensure. This is mandatory in all states, and the requirements for licensing vary from one state to the other. Generally, one is required to pass an examination on electrical theories and codes in order to get the license. Those wishing to become master electricians also need to have licensure for which a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of work experience as an electrician.

Continuing education is an important criterion for electricians. They need to attend safety programs, management training courses, and manufacturer-specific trainings at regular intervals.

Getting the Job

Interested candidates can get in touch with organizations like the Associated Builders and Contractors, Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Home Builders Institute, and National Electrical Contractors Association. These associations generally offer apprenticeship programs as well as information about job prospects. There are various union-management committees that list job openings. Often, organizations advertise their requirements on job portals or the classified sections of newspapers. Besides, one can also approach local firms or electrical contractors for jobs.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

With experience, electricians can advance to administrative and supervisor positions. Most electricians go on to become electrical inspectors. The advancements depend on their respective job profiles. For instance, construction electricians can take up the roles of superintendents and project managers. One can also set up a contracting business or transfer to related jobs like that of maintenance electricians and equipment installers and repairers. Advancement possibilities are the best for those having good communication skills in English and Spanish.

The job market for electricians is expected to grow by 7 percent in the next ten years. Employment opportunities are largely dependent on the location and specialty. Those working in power plants in fast-growing regions of the country are expected to have the best opportunities. Electricians in electrical contracting organizations will also have very good prospects in the near future.

Working Conditions

In consideration of the nature of their work, electricians should be prepared to work in all kinds of weather conditions. Most of their work is carried out at construction sites, which may be outdoors or indoors depending on the project. Electricians normally have 40-hour work week with the possibility of overtime. Those employed in maintenance services may frequently have to work at odd hours in the evenings and nights. Also, due to the nature of their work, electricians are prone to injuries from cuts, falls, and electric shocks.

Where to Go for More Information

National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee
301 Prince George’s Blvd.
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

National Electrical Contractors Association
3 Metro Center, Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
1125 15th St. NW.
Washington, DC 20005

Earnings and Benefits

The median hourly wage of electricians, as per the data of May 2006, was $20.97. The wages can range anywhere between $12.76 and $34.95 on an hourly basis. Entry-level electricians earn about 40% to 50% of the earnings of skilled electricians. However, wages are increased at regular intervals throughout the training periods. According to research, the annual mean earnings of electricians employed in motor vehicle parts manufacturing industries are about $65,680, while those working in motion picture and video industries earn around $82,450.

Electricians generally enjoy regular benefits like paid leaves and vacations, generous retirement plans, and insurance.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesConstruction & Skilled Trades