How to Become an Electrician

How to Become an ElectricianPeople who want to become an electrician will find that the process involves specific training and a lot of on the job education. Electricians are key components in the lives most people live. They provide services for residential areas as well as commercial and industrial businesses. They work to ensure the safety of individuals while also working to reduce energy consumption, wire homes, and help businesses to fill the needs of customers. The process of becoming an electrician is one that requires several steps, including the following.

Job Overview
$48,250
High School or GED
None
Apprenticeship
577,000
23%
133,700
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The job of an electrician can be varied from day to day. Generally, these highly skilled professionals will work in areas of repair, installation, and maintenance of electrical systems throughout buildings. Because so many components of daily lives, in both a commercial or residential setting, rely on electricity, it is critical for individuals to seek out these professionals from time to time. They work on construction sites. They work in hospitals. Some are full time business owners managing a number of different electricians and workers. Others work through government agencies inspecting the electrical components of buildings for safety.

Their job includes tasks such as the following:

  • Running wires from exterior to interior fixtures, through walls, and underground
  • Installing lighting fixtures
  • Designing wiring systems, including electrical panels; wiring electrical panels for safety
  • Repairing security systems and alarms
  • Handling the installation of major, electrical-run appliances
  • Inspecting wiring for fire risks

These are just a few of the tasks the average electrician may do. Depending on the specific area in which the individual works, his or her training may be in specialized systems, electronics, or in construction.

Requirements and Qualifications to Become an Electrician

Most states require electricians to be certified. In fact, in order to perform electrical-based work on any commercial way, in which you provide services for pay, you must have an electrician’s license. This ensures that the person doing the work has the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure the safety of everyone else. According to the Department of Industrial Relations, of the State of California, individuals wishing to operate as an electrician in the state much pass the State Electrician Certification Exam, gone through a state-approved Electrician Trainee Program, and have approved Electrical Apprenticeship Program experience. Each state’s rules may be slightly different.

Typical Educational Requirements

The educational requirements of an electrician often start with obtaining a high school diploma or the equivalent. Individuals then, typically, enter into a technical or vocational school to earn their electrician training. Some individuals will be able to begin working in the field once they complete these programs to gain experience.

Most students will also need to enroll in a formal apprenticeship program. This can last up to 18 months and provides individuals with an opportunity to work next to a licensed and certified electrician in the field. The goal is to learn about the job and how to make sure that upgrades or changes are done in accordance with standards.

Salary and Job Outlook

It may seem impossible to foresee a world without electricity, which means there will always be the need for trained, skilled electricians. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some information on the demand for this position. For the period ranging from 2010 through 2020, it is expected that as many as 133,700 more jobs will be added in this field to the US payroll. That is an increase of 23 percent, which is faster than average.

In 2010, the median pay for someone in this field was $48,250. It is a highly competitive field with plenty of opportunities for advancement, as well. For this reason, it may be a good idea to enroll in courses to become an electrician.

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