What does an electrician do?
Electricians are responsible for bringing electricity into homes, factories, businesses, and many other entities. They install and maintain the wiring, fuses, and the other mechanisms that electricity flows through. Many electricians also set up and maintain electrical equipment in factories. Electricians read blue prints to understand the location of outlets, circuits, panel boards, load centers, and other electrical equipment. Electricians are required to follow the National Electrical Code and local and state building codes to make sure the public is safe.
Electricians connect all wire types to circuit breakers, outlets, transformers, and other components. They use many different specially designed connectors to join wires into boxes. They use a variety of equipment including screwdrivers, conduit benders, pliers, hacksaws, knives, wire strippers, saws and drills. They also use equipment to test the connections and to make sure the components are compatible and safe.
What kind of training does an electrician need?
Most electricians are trained through apprenticeship programs. A high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.) is required for all apprenticeship programs. These programs combine related classroom instruction with paid on the job training. The programs typically last 4 years. Some electricians also receive training in specialized areas. Some aspiring electricians begin their classroom training before applying to apprenticeship programs. Many public and private vocational and technical schools offer electrician training. Many electricians complete continuing education programs throughout their career. Most states require electricians to be licensed and requirements for licensing differ by state, but typically involve passing an examination.
What are the prospects for a career as an electrician?
Employment of electricians is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 7% from 2006 to 2016 (1). As the population increases, more electricians will be required to install and maintain electrical wiring and equipment in homes, businesses, offices, factories, and other structures.
Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for electricians that have a wide variety of skills such as data, voice, and video wiring. Opportunities will also arise from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the profession for other reasons.
How much do electricians make?
As of July 2009, the middle 50% of electricians earned annual salaries between $35,027 and $49,009. The top 10% earned annual salaries of more than $55,528 (2).
A career as an electrician is an excellent choice for individuals who have good manual dexterity, physical fitness, sense of balance, and eye-hand coordination. Good color vision is also essential because electricians frequently have to identify different electrical wires by their color.