Electrician: Job Duties, Employment Outlook, and Educational Requirements
Do you enjoy working with your hands and providing a valuable skill to others? Have you ever been fascinated by electricity? Electricians are responsible for the construction and maintenance of power systems and equipment. Read on to learn about electrician apprenticeships and the daily tasks of electricians. Schools offering Electrician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Are My Job Duties as an Electrician?
As an electrician, you install and repair power systems for residential or commercial buildings. Although the type of maintenance work performed can vary substantially, you typically use hand tools and power tools to connect electrical wiring to circuit breakers, transformers, outlets and other appropriate components. Your primary role in any situation is to ensure the safe and reliable flow of energy.
Your work as an electrician also requires focus and adherence to safety procedures in order to avoid accidental injury, such as electrical shock. You may have to read and analyze blueprints to determine where circuits are formed. After you have finished wiring, you can use measurement devices to test connections and gauge the amount of electricity running through a particular system. A standard 40-hour workweek is common in the profession, but power outages may result in overtime or evening and weekend work if you are employed by a utility company.
What is the Career Outlook?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of electricians is expected to increase by 12% from 2008 to 2018 (www.bls.gov). Advances in technology, more sophisticated wiring systems and the movement to install more energy efficient devices may drive growth in your profession. You may work in a variety of industries, but will most commonly either work for electrical contracting firms or become self-employed. The annual average salary for electricians was $51,810 in May 2010, as reported by the BLS.
What Are My Educational Requirements?
As an aspiring electrician, your first step is to complete an apprenticeship program, which includes classroom study and hands-on experience. To qualify for an apprenticeship, you typically need to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and pass an aptitude test that covers basic Algebra skills. Apprenticeship programs typically take 3-5 years to complete, and each year includes a minimum of 144 hours of formal instruction and 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training. An experienced electrician provides supervision as you learn about the national electrical code, blueprint reading, fiber optics, transformers, electrical theory and safety procedures as well as residential, commercial and industrial wiring.
You might also progress through your training faster if you take electrician courses at technical or vocational schools before entering an apprenticeship. Most states require electricians to be licensed.. Although the licensure process varies by state, you typically need to pass an examination that tests your knowledge of the national electrical code and specific state codes.
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