You’ve probably heard lots of people say that they don’t know what they want to do when they grow up. If you are looking for a fun, exciting career with lots of opportunities, great pay and long-term job security, then working as an electrician should be at the top of your list.
“Being an electrician is awesome. You don’t have to have a lot of money or a fancy resume. You can literally get a job fresh out of jail.” – Dustin Stelzer, Master Electrician
Electrician Job Description & Job Application
In our digital world, everything runs off electricity. From the lights in your house to sophisticated technology, there is an electrical system making things happen.
The general job duties of an electrician are to install, perform maintenance and repair electrical power, communications, lighting and control systems. On a daily basis, they work with electrical components and electrical equipment like panels, switches and conduits.
The most common job titles are helper, apprentice, journeyman and master electrician. As you gain more experience you will be expected to diagnose problems and think creatively to solve them.
There are also a variety of work environments. There are electrician positions in residential, commercial, industrial and government sectors. For new construction, you will perform installations and for existing structures, you will troubleshoot problems with equipment that someone else installed. There are lots of ways to do things in the field so analyzing and repairing someone else’s work is a valuable skill to have.
While most of us are familiar with the electrical systems in single-family homes, there are far more complex electrical components in large commercial installations. Maintaining them requires expertise and the ability to collaborate with your team members.
Electrician Job Requirements and Training
Unlike many popular careers today, an electrician needs a high school diploma or equivalent, a strong work ethic and a desire to learn. Most of the training is done on the job through an apprenticeship so you can earn while you learn. There is no need to rack up student loan debt and you can draw a pretty good paycheck.
“You have to be smart. You have to understand the circuit logic and think outside the box.” -Dustin Stelzer, Master Electrician
When hiring electricians, companies are looking for job seekers with a mix of skills and personality traits. Every day is different so skilled electricians will be reading blueprints, thinking critically and creating solutions. They also should be able to teach more junior members of the team how to approach problems and how to interact with customers.
Experienced journeymen will be responsible for much of the work on any job site and they will have more direct contact with the apprentices. Apprentices provide the labor while they learn. They set up the equipment for the more experienced team members and they try to anticipate their needs.
Electrician Job Salary
Now that you know what electricians do, let’s talk about how much they earn. The median salary is $60,800 and the top 10% of electricians earn $99,800.
Apprentices typically make between $18-$25/hr
Journeyman salaries are usually between $25-$30/hr
Master electricians earn $35/hr and up
Please keep in mind that these are ranges and that salaries vary based on where you live and your work environment. Some master electricians that specialize in a specific areas make well over $100k. It will take several years of work experience to get to that level but the opportunities are only limited by your work ethic and skills.
If you are an entrepreneur at heart, you can start your own business. There is a ton of risk involved, but you are in control of everything. As you scale your business you can go after major construction contracts and the sky really is the limit.
Is an electrician a dangerous job?
Yes, working with electrical systems and electrical equipment is dangerous. In addition to the normal safety issues on a job site, electricity can lead to serious injury for the workers and, if not installed properly, for customers.
How to get an electrician job?
If you want to become an electrician there are two basic paths. As I mentioned earlier, most people start out as helpers or apprentices and they learn as they earn. There aren’t any special requirements or certifications to be a helper or apprentice. To advance you will have to take certification exams to become a journeyman and a master. The other path is a trade school. Community colleges and vocational programs provide in-class training and in some states, those programs reduce the amount of time you have to spend as an apprentice.
If you want to find electrician jobs, there is no need to set up a bunch of job alerts or sit around waiting on a buddy to call you about a job. Instead, sign up for BlueRecruit and we’ll match you with great jobs.
Electrician Job Openings
The need for electricians is expected to increase by 9% between 2020 and 2030. There are 729,600 electricians in the US and there are 84,700 openings in a typical year. If you are looking at the latest job alert, you will probably be overwhelmed with all the email updates. The field is full of lifers and the average age of a master electrician is 55. All the master electricians will tell you about the shortage of talent and the need to get young people into the trade.
As you can see, being an electrician is a challenging career with lots of rewards. Just like other skilled trades, there is an aging workforce and plenty of opportunity. If you still haven’t decided what career is right for you check out our other posts on welding and plumbing. We also have a series of posts to help you prepare for your interview. Last but certainly not least, you should also create a free profile on the platform so we can match you with companies that are hiring.
Good luck with your job search.