Becoming an Electrician

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Electrical work is a great choice for people who prefer hands-on work to desk jobs. It also requires excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to think on your feet.

Those interested in becoming electricians should consider attending a trade school or apprenticeship program. Then they should get a job working under a master electrician to learn the ropes.
Job Duties

Electricians install, repair and maintain electrical wiring, equipment and fixtures. They are also trained to inspect electrical components for safety and compliance with local codes. They must be able to read and interpret blueprints and technical diagrams to understand the layout of electrical systems. They use a variety of hand and power tools to complete their work, including screwdrivers, drills, soldering irons, wire strippers, pliers, and ohmmeters.

Depending on the size of the project, electricians often work as part of a team. In larger commercial builds, they are likely to be working alongside foremen’s, engineers and project managers. They must be able to communicate well with their colleagues and be able to follow instructions effectively.

Punctuality is also key. Clients will trust their tradesman more if they arrive at a job site on time every day. They will be more receptive to discussing pricing, timelines and other aspects of their work if they know they can depend on the electrician’s professionalism and reliability.
Education Requirements

A high school diploma is the minimum requirement to become an electrician, though many pursue a post-secondary education in trade schools. These programs offer hands-on experience in residential and commercial electrical installation and standards. In addition, classroom instruction covers topics like electrical theory and concepts; wiring; circuitry; and safety protocols.

Electricians also need to have strong critical thinking skills in order to read blueprints and evaluate test results using specialized equipment. The physical stamina to lift and carry heavy items is essential, as is the ability to work independently in a professional environment.

Many electricians complete four to five-year apprenticeship programs as a part of their vocational training. This allows them to earn a wage while learning on-the-job. During this time, apprentices are mentored and trained by a journeyperson or master electrician and usually complete 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training each year. This program prepares apprentices for their state licensing exam. This exam typically includes questions about the National Electrical Code and local and state electrical codes.
Experience Requirements

To become a licensed electrician, you must complete a vocational training program at an approved trade school or through an apprenticeship. Some programs include classroom and lab-based learning, while others focus on hands-on experience in the field. You must also pass a written and practical exam to receive your license.

In this role, you will inspect and repair electrical wiring, equipment and fixtures. You must have strong problem-solving skills and be able to think logically about complex electrical issues. It’s essential to have excellent communication abilities and be comfortable working with customers.

Electricians often work in dangerous environments, so it’s important to have a high level of physical fitness. You should be able to stand or kneel for extended periods of time and have good vision and hand-eye coordination. You must also be able to understand and interpret memos, blueprints and other technical documents. Most electrician businesses require general liability, workers’ compensation and disability insurances.
Work Environment

Electrical workers install and maintain power, lighting, communications, and control systems in homes, businesses, factories, and other facilities. They work both indoors and outdoors, depending on the type of job they do. If they are part of a union, their hours and overtime may be subject to the rules and regulations set by the union.

Electricians often work in cramped spaces, and they spend long periods of time standing or kneeling. They are prone to minor injuries such as cuts and shocks, and they must wear protective clothing and equipment.

Apprentice electricians participate in paid on-the-job training as part of their apprenticeship programs. They usually work alongside experienced journeyman electricians, under the guidance of their supervisors. After completing an apprenticeship program, electricians can work independently or for electrical contracting companies. Those who work for themselves may have more flexible schedules and can choose when to accept jobs. They also have the option to take on extra hours to increase their earnings potential.

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