Electricians are vitally important nowadays. Let’s face it – without electricity, you would not be able to charge your newest iPhone, you would not be able to catch Pokemons at your local district, not to even mention sending snaps to your friends and liking their pictures on Instagram. With or without a license, electricians are well-trained technicians who are responsible for starting from replacing an electrical outlet up to wiring buildings who are newly built.
If you want to know and find out more about electrician work, what skills it requires, what kind of education and training are necessary, this is the right place! Keep reading and you will find it out…
What does an Electrician do?
You will agree – our lives depend on electricity. Electricians are involved with a variety of settings. Basically, any type of building or facility that needs electricity to function. Our day to day life indeed relies on these workers and believe – there always will be demand for these workers.
In broad terms, electricians;
- maintain, install and repair wiring, transformers, and different other systems;
- fix circuitry problems all around us (homes, shopping centers, and so on);
- read technical diagrams and blueprints;
- follow building codes and newest requirements in order to build wires safely;
As you may guess, electricians work outdoors as well as indoors, and almost in every type of facility. If you really like your work and want to earn indeed good money, you don’t have to worry – most of the electricians have full-time work. Evenings and weekends are also working days.
The work involves electricity, so it is obvious that if you are a potential electrician, your negligence will cause you electrical shocks, burns, and even falls.
How to become an Electrician?
If you want to dedicate your life to this profession, the best way how to start is by attending a technical school. Most states require these general requirements to start your electrician career;
- pass a drug test;
- have a high school degree;
- be 18 years old;
- obtain a qualifying score on the test;
A lot of people don’t know this – you don’t need a college degree to become an electrician. You can attend electrician training school, community college or trade school. Choosing this path you will become journeymen electricians ( a fully trained electrician who is capable of all types of electrical design, maintenance, and installation).
Above mentioned schools provide important preparation;
- electrical theory, mathematics, motor control, wiring, and circuitry;
- some programs include apprenticeship program – completing this program will get you certified;
- the specific number of training hours;
- an exam about electrical theory, electric and building codes;
As you may guess, a solid understanding of mathematics is required. You don’t have to be a genius, but basic knowledge and understanding will be a good asset for your future career.
Climbing around the buildings and different facilities requires respectable strength and condition. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder or a triathlonist, but you need to be in good and healthy shape to become an electrician. You will never know what you will have to do to reach the target – reaching, crouching and climbing buildings. Don’t get this wrong – each of us has seen electricians in their fifties and they are not athletes, however, feeling your body and having a full range of motion will be only a helpful asset. Let’s talk more about licensing. After you finish an apprenticeship, you will have to get your license to become a journeymen electrician (description of this “position” is mentioned above). Licenses are granted by the state, but in certain states, you can get them at the local municipal.
STOP. STOP. STOP.
If some of you got confused about requirements and paths what you can choose to become an electrician, here we will break it down:
You can choose between two options –
- you find an apprenticeship on your own;
- you attend a technical college, where you will learn skills to get a job.
Each of the options got its pros and cons. Further, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each option;
Apprenticeship Vs. Electrician School
- they call it “earn as you learn” You will not earn as much as journeymen, but your wage will increase as the training continues and you get more skilled;
- after finishing, your college debt will be a lot less than finishing technical college;
- nowadays, this becomes a more popular way to become electricians through apprentice programs;
- months of waiting, sometimes even years, if you don’t have contacts in the apprenticeship organization. So if you want to become a specialist in this field as soon as possible, you might consider the second option;
- lack of skills and knowledge to pass the exams and be skillful throughout the training course. So if you feel like you should brush up your mathematics skills, the technical school will be the right option;
- employers see electricians who attend technical school much more reliable and experienced than people who attend apprenticeship program;
The good thing is – there is a huge variety of electrician schools all across the country. Here let’s look at the reasons why you should consider this option and why you shouldn’t.
Electrician school advantages;
- chances of getting into school are much bigger. With your high school diploma, you should get into this system very easily. There is a bigger competition for applying to apprenticeship than electrician schools;
- you can apply at any time. Technical colleges have multiple times a year when you can start to study. Moreover – it is up to you when you apply for the studies;
- if you didn’t do that well in high school, you will still have the opportunity and chance to apply, so this is a great option how to get started;
- they are affordable. You will not have to worry about student loan debt or other sources to get money;
Electrician school disadvantages;
- college debt can be a pain in the ass if I can say it like that. Even it costs much less than attending a four-year degree, you will still have to consider the loan option. Let’s face it – if you are not working and you need to attend classes, you will need money to pay the rent and other expenses;
- research before you apply. Out there are a lot of great training colleges, but not all of them are created equally. With that being said – before you apply for studies, you should visit the school, maybe talk with some students about studies and environment in the classrooms as well as in school. You will agree – that’s the worst thing what can happen when you already got a student loan, you paid for your studies but only after a few months you realize that the money what you pay for studies, isn’t worth it;
Summing-up above mentioned things: if you are honest with yourself and you know that you’ve been lazy throughout your high school years, your math isn’t at that level as it supposed to be to become an electrician (at least to start) – electrician school is the best option for you. Also – if you are urgently searching to get started – electrician school is the best option
The reputation of your chosen school is more than important. Don’t be lazy – do research and find out what people are talking about each school. In this way, you will also find out about costs for classes – if they do not charge too much. And in the end, you don’t want to end up with a huge debt and an expensive diploma that can’t help you get the desired job position.
How much do Electricians Make?
Let’s get down to the numbers – because that’s what you are interested the most, right? I got a piece of good news for you – electricians make a solid salary if I may say so. If we look at the statistics, for the last year (2018th) average income in the United States was $55,190 per year. Thanks to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here we can look at the graph of the average electrician salary in each state. Moreover – comparing with the average salary of all other jobs;
the table above is for 2016, but Electricians earn pretty good money no matter in which state you will or desire to work. And numbers speak for themselves – in 47 out of 50 states, electricians are earning more than the average salary for all other jobs. Wait, wait, wait – you may be jumping up and down, already calculating and looking what kind of goods you will buy after the first year of working, but keep in mind – to earn good money, you have to be a good, skilled and reliable worker. Nobody will be interested in working with you if you will be an unskilled or negligent electrician. Another interesting fact – electrician salary is much higher than most of the positions with an expensive four-year college degree.
If some of you been too lazy to check above showed data, here I will mention some interesting data:
- in 10 states the average income of electricians is more than $60,000 per year (Montana, New York, Illinois, Alaska, New Jersey, Oregon, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Hawaii);
- in South Carolina electricians earns the least, but what is interesting – it was still more than the average income for all other professions;
Electrician apprentices earn less money than journeymen. But what is interesting – apprentices income increases as they progress more and more into their apprenticeship.
Job Outlook for Electricians
If you believe in statistics, it is estimated that employment of electricians will grow by 9% from 2016 to 2026, which is obvious, if we keep in mind that we are living in a technological century and our day to day life depends on electronic devices and most important – electricity. Homes and other facilities require more wiring, so electricians will be needed to install all these necessary components. Getting a job in this field should not worry you because many employers are already trying to find qualified applicants in their companies and firms. Electricians who can perform different tasks, such as solar installations, electronic system repairing and component wiring will have the best job opportunities and they will be highly demanded.
Currently, in the United States are working over half a million electricians. And as mentioned before – this number will grow within the next few years. Electricity is a clean, renewable source of energy. We read and see on social media that society should use less energy, become more efficient, use less petroleum and other energy sources, but as cities are developing, as technology is developing, we will continue to use (and I believe in much bigger quantities) electricity. Moreover – these “energy consumption” campaigns and “saving the earth” campaigns suggests that we should use and implement more solar power and wind power. But don’t get scared – how do you think, who will install and maintain these solar and wind turbines? Of course – ELECTRICIANS! And that is why this field is expected to grow so rapidly.
If you are still confused and don’t know if you want to apply for studies or no – this is the right time to make the decision.
Why An Electrician?
I believe that this article reads not only potential electricians but also people who are confused and still are looking for their path after high school. And if “electrician” as a profession is somewhere at the back of your head, here will be some other reasons why you should consider this profession as your future one:
- well paid job for a profession that doesn’t require a 4-year bachelor’s degree. Already mentioned above, the average salary for electricians is $55,190 per year, but the average salary for people with a high school diploma is about $32,940 per year. You don’t have to be a mathematic genius to see, that it is more than $20,000 difference;
- taking student loan is a reasonable thing. You invest in your future. Like dentists, doctors or other professions – even if the price for the studies is high, in the end, you will get a well-paid job and this student loan will disappear within a few years. The price for the studies varies, so you need to research and consider all options before you start your studies;
- you will have approvement for your skills – electricians license. In this way, your employer will be sure that you got all the skills to get the job done. For example, in business or marketing, employers actually aren’t sure if their possible employees are able to do the jobs what they are asked to do. But if you have a license, your future employers can be sure that you are properly trained and you got the required skills for this profession;
- you get stable and high demanded workplace. Think about postal workers – when was the last time you saw that guy in front of your mailbox? Social media, e-mails and other 21st century tools leave a lot of people without the job. There are a lot of jobs out there that will not be around us within the next few years. On the other hand – there are a lot of jobs out there who will not go anywhere, and guess what – an electrician is one of them;
- you get an active work. Desk jobs can cause you some health problems, not to even mention about overweight and so on. But electrician profession is perfect mix and equilibrium between active and lazy jobs;
- opportunity for your own business. After years of work and gained experience, a lot of electricians opens their businesses. Having know-how and contacts within this field, it is easy to take the job in your own hands and make a pretty good number with your own electrician company;
As we already mentioned some of the necessary skills that electrician profession requires, below-mentioned ones will give a huge asset for you as a future electrician, if you have them;
Physical strength – you need to be strong enough in order to carry heavy components;
Business skills – if you consider opening your own business, you must be able to bid on new opportunities, plan payroll, plan working assignments and track your inventory;
Troubleshooting skills – if a device stops working, it will be necessary to do some tests to understand and determine what causes the problem, and then, depending on the results, fix or replace the device. So finding, diagnosing and repairing problems can be on your day to day basis;
Physical stamina – as mentioned before, being active all day, carrying and moving around with you different components can be tuff, so your physical condition and cardio must be on point;
Colour vision – if you are Daltonian, it will cause you a lot of problems, because you will have to identify electric wires and other components by color;
Customer skills – you will work with different people (clients) on a regular basis. So in order to be successful and well demanded, you have to be polite with your clients, think about what kind of words you are using while around them and how you are behaving. As they say – if your customer is happy, your business will grow and do well in the future;
Critical thinking – when you will have to perform different tests to understand and diagnose problems, it will be up to you what kind of tools you will use to determine the problem. For example – an outlet is broken. You can use a multimeter to check the amperage, voltage or resistance to determine the best and most efficient action to take;
A lot of talks, a lot of numbers. But let’s summarise this article. First things first – you need to like, I would say to love your profession or field, where are you working or studying. Only by loving and liking what you do, you can become a successful person in the specific field. If we talk about electricians – nowadays they are fundamentally important. And if this article convinced you, that the electrician is a profession what you would like to become in the future, visit as many sites as possible to figure out your next moves, check the available options for you, decide your path and once you start your journey – don’t let anything or anyone to stop you. As far as you love and like what you are doing – that is the most important thing in your life.