How to Become an Electrician
Electrician 24/7 installs electrical wiring, systems, and equipment in homes, buildings, factories, and public spaces. They also comply with state and local rules based on the national electrical code.
People interested in a career as an electrician can pursue a non-union apprenticeship or trade school program to learn the skills needed for this job. Some states require a journeyman license, which requires education and experience.
Electricians are in high demand, with a projected growth rate of 6% over the next decade. This makes it an ideal time to start training for this field. If you are interested in becoming an electrician, you will need to complete a comprehensive program of study and hands-on experience. In addition, you will need to pass the licensing exam. Once you have passed the exam, you will be ready to work as a professional electrician.
Most electricians train through apprenticeship programs, which combine paid on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. These programs usually last four or five years. You can also choose to attend a trade school or technical institute. These programs are typically more flexible than apprentice programs and offer an in-depth introduction to the skills needed for this career. In addition, they can provide a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree.
During electrician training, you will learn about the unique interaction between magnetic and electrical fields. You will also learn how to recognize hazards such as loose connections and improper wiring. This will help you avoid expensive mistakes that can lead to safety and health issues for your customers, clients, or employees.
You will also learn how to read blueprints, understand electrical codes, and perform safe first-aid practices. These are important skills for any electrician. Additionally, you will take courses on electrical theory, circuit design, and trade math. Moreover, you will learn how to use tools and safety equipment. You will also take specialized classes such as alternative energy solutions, drywall installation, and telephonic and fire alarm systems.
After you complete your education and training, it’s important to focus on the type of electrical work you want to do. There are a variety of options, including commercial, residential, industrial, and voice-data-video (VDV) wiring. Some electricians specialize in one of these areas, while others specialize in a combination. In some cases, you may need to pass a background check and drug screening. You should also be aware that the industry is constantly changing, so you need to be open to learning new techniques and technologies.
An electrician’s job duties include installing, maintaining and repairing electrical wiring, equipment and fixtures. They also ensure that their work complies with local electrical codes. Often, electricians must troubleshoot malfunctioning systems to determine the cause of the problem. They must be able to read and understand diagrams and blueprints. Additionally, they need to use a variety of hand tools and power tools, such as wrenches, soldering irons, drills, volt-ohmmeters and circuit testers.
Another essential skill for electricians is critical thinking. They must be able to quickly evaluate a situation and make the right decisions, such as whether to use a different tool or technique. This is especially important in emergency situations when quick decisions can prevent further damage or injuries. For example, if there’s a fire in a home, an electrician should know how to safely shut off the electricity.
Good verbal and written communication skills are also vital for electricians. They must be able to explain complex electric issues to customers and subcontractors who may not have any technical knowledge. They also need to be able to read and interpret plans, schematics and wiring diagrams.
In addition, electricians must stay apprised of revisions to National Electric Code (NEC) and other relevant legislation, building and safety regulations. They must also have excellent physical strength and be able to climb ladders, maneuver in tight spaces and lift heavy objects. Additionally, they must be able to work in inclement weather.
Because they are responsible for working with high voltage, electricians must be careful and follow strict safety guidelines. They must also be knowledgeable about the proper way to use power tools and understand how to correctly install and maintain equipment. Moreover, they must be able to handle the pressure of the job and meet deadlines. Lastly, they must be honest and professional in their interactions with clients. This helps build trust and customer loyalty. If they fail to do so, it could put them and their clients in danger. The best way to become a qualified electrician is to take part in an apprenticeship program. These programs usually last 4-5 years and require the completion of classroom and on-the-job training. Alternatively, students can attend trade schools to earn an associate’s degree in two years.
If you have the right combination of skills and aptitude, you can start a career as an electrician. Most apprenticeship programs require a minimum of two years, but some offer four-year bachelor’s degrees and allow students to specialize in different fields like renewable energy or industrial electrical technology. During this time, you will learn to work with a master electrician and gain valuable hands-on experience. You’ll also learn important safety procedures and other job-related tasks. Some states will allow you to apply academic credits towards your apprenticeship hours.
Having strong math and reading comprehension skills is essential for an electrician’s work. You will need to calculate currents, volts, and cable lengths and will constantly be reading and understanding rules and standards. You will also need good verbal communication to explain your ideas clearly to customers and supervisors. Without these skills, you will struggle to do your job and put people in danger.
Other qualifications for an electrician’s job include physical stamina and the ability to take on a challenging job. You will spend a lot of your time standing, crouching, and climbing ladders, and you’ll need to be comfortable working in confined spaces. Some electricians also need to be able to lift heavy objects and transport equipment. If you’re interested in becoming an electrician, you can gain the required experience by getting a job as a mate or apprentice with a company or family member.
Licensed electricians can make competitive salaries, and their wages can grow with experience. They can work for a large company, or they can choose to become self-employed. There is also a chance that they can choose to specialize in specific areas of electrical engineering. For example, if an electrician is certified to work on solar energy systems, they can command a higher salary.
Whether an electrician works in construction or is a service tech, they need to be able to sell to increase their earning potential. For example, if a customer has a small problem such as “the lights are flickering,” an experienced technician knows that turning it into a larger job could double their income for the day.
Many electricians are part of a union, and their wages can vary depending on their experience and location. A member of a union may be able to negotiate better wages for their job and is more likely to receive health insurance and retirement benefits. In addition, they can access additional resources such as technical training and certification courses.
Electricians are required to install the wiring in new buildings and maintain existing power lines. Those who specialize in construction can earn the highest salaries. However, those who prefer maintenance duties tend to earn the lowest wages.
The most important factor in determining the salary of an electrician is their education and experience. Apprentices and those with less experience earn lower salaries, while those who are master electricians or have other specialized qualifications can earn much more.
Wages for electricians also depend on their industry and location. For instance, a qualified electrician who works in the oil industry in Texas can earn a lot more than someone working in agriculture.
As the demand for electricians continues to rise, their salaries are also increasing. With the need for alternative power sources growing, and aging buildings in need of maintenance, there will be plenty of opportunities for those with the right credentials to find jobs. This is why it’s important to stay on top of your skills and continue to learn as you go. You can also take advantage of technology such as ServiceTitan, which automates time tracking for technicians. This will help you make sure your employees are being paid correctly at the end of every week, month, or established payment period.