An electrician is a professional trained to maintain, install or repair electrical equipment in a variety of residential, business and industrial settings. Two of the profession’s largest categories are construction electricians, who perform installations during the construction process, and maintenance electricians, who review and update existing electrical systems. To help accomplish their career objectives, all electricians apply their experience and specialized training in mathematics, electrical theory, blue print reading, electrical code requirements and more.

Many electricians find work as part of a contracting company or organization. Some experienced or highly specialized electricians may also work as independent contractors.

To secure a position as an electrician, individuals are advised to meet specific criteria, such as:

  • Supplementing a high school diploma with specialized classroom courses on electrical theory and related subjects.
  • Successfully completing an on-site four-year electrician apprenticeship program.
  • Earning an advanced degree in electrical engineering or construction management.
  • Obtaining all necessary state and local professional licenses.
  • Maintaining strong coordination, problem-solving skills and manual dexterity.
  • Having a solid understanding of mathematics and blue print reading experience.

Most local and state laws require various forms of licensing for all electricians. Many exams require electricians to demonstrate their understanding of the National Electrical Code, applicable building codes and numerous aspects of electrical theory. Master Electricians typically earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and have a minimum of seven years of field experience.

Electrician Job Description

Electricians are generally responsible for maintaining and installing electrical systems in homes, factories, businesses and other buildings designed for public and private use. They may also review existing electrical wiring and repair systems to comply with current standards.

Electricians are often required to review special construction diagrams, or blue prints, prior to installing wires, circuit breakers and other equipment necessary for controlling the flow of electricity within a building. They may also conduct periodic inspections of existing equipment to help ensure its safe and proper function.

Electricians work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Residential, industrial and commercial construction sites
  • Local, state and federal government buildings
  • Outdoor or indoor homes, private buildings and public facilities

Many electricians work standard 40-hour work weeks. However, some professionals in the maintenance field work overtime or during holidays to complete emergency repairs. Due to the physical demands and potential risks associated with the industry, electricians are also advised to undergo first-aid and other safety training.

Electrician Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 79 percent of electricians work in the construction industry or as self-employed contractors. In addition, around 32 percent of electricians are union members.

An electrician’s average hourly wage is between $17.00 and $29.88. Professionals working in the top 10 percent of the industry’s wage scale earned around $38.18 per hour.

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