They power our lives in the most fundamental way, fueling us, guiding us and allowing us to move forward. The path from the industrial age to the modern day is illuminated by the work of electricians.
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It's almost impossible to overstate the value of electricians in the technological age. From every light switch at home or computer at work, to every monitor in a hospital or air traffic control tower — electricity is all around us.
$57,350 is the median salary, but many seasoned electricians can earn over $100,000.
Attention to detail is needed at every step as electricity becomes more advanced.
Electricians offer creative suggestions to help the homeowner live more comfortably.
An electrician works independently in most cases.
Most solve problems in existing homes, providing safety and peace of mind.
While codes govern this trade, variety is delivered in new technology versus old construction.
What Does an Electrician Do?
Electricians generally install, inspect and repair electrical systems throughout residential homes, offices, shopping centers, airports and a host of other structures and environments. In new homes and commercial buildings, an electrician installs the wiring, lighting and framework based on blueprints and technical diagrams of previously designed electrical systems. Master electricians may assist in theses designs of electrical systems in new construction.
Electricians also diagnose, identify and repair electrical systems, replacing faulty wiring and other electrical equipment such as light fixtures and control systems. Industrial electricians often work on commercial equipment such as heavy machinery, motors and general facilities.
What Does It Take to Be an Electrician?
Aspiring electricians often attend a trade or vocational school for two years. Online trade school is an excellent alternative for non-traditional students who have other responsibilities like full-time employment or family obligations.
Most programs include a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Coursework includes electrical safety, electrical theory, principles of current, system design, cabling and wiring, commercial wiring and systems, understanding trigonometry and algebra, blueprint reading and design and more. As solar energy increases in demand, courses in photovoltaic theory and system design will be more common.
Apprenticeship training often happens concurrently with trade school. Most electricians complete approximately 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. After the apprenticeship program, electricians are qualified to perform both construction and maintenance work.
How Much Does an Electrician Earn?
The median salary for a general electrician is approximately $57,350, but can vary based on location, field and experience. Top electricians can often make $100,000 or more, particularly due to the high demand for emergency services which have a premium cost.
The job outlook is expected to grow by at least 9% or more, with trade school and apprenticeship graduates boasting a high degree of employability.