Choosing to become an electrician is a great decision for thousands of men and women, but it can be hard to know if becoming an electrician is the best option for you.
Picking a career is serious business, and that is why you will want to make the right choice. If you have ever wondered what it takes to be an electrician, below are several personal attributes that indicate a career as an electrician might be perfect for you.
Many of our survey respondents said that they had been fascinated by electricity ever since they were small, and few were disappointed with their choice of careers.
There are two general types of electrical work: Construction work, which includes reading blueprints, wiring, installing, and testing electrical systems; and maintenance work, which involves troubleshooting, testing, and fixing already installed, improperly functioning electrical systems. Contractors employ most construction electricians during the secondary phases of building.
Maintenance electricians work as freelancers or for large factories, office buildings, or hospitals. “If you make it through the training, and spend a little time with someone good, you’ll be alright,” commented one electrician. Almost all electricians go through an academically rigorous apprenticeship program.
Only people with a careful eye for details, responsible work habits, and sound on-the-spot judgment should consider becoming electricians. Electricians must know how to read blueprints and specifications and install, connect, and test electrical devices and power sources. They must be familiar with local and federal electrical codes and regulations. Those who succeed have a sound theoretical understanding of electrical systems and good manual skill and patience.
While on-the-job injuries are not uncommon, electricians are seriously injured by electricity at half the rate of the general population, while taking ten times the amount of risk. Most of these injuries occur at the end of long hours, when being rushed to complete a task, or when blueprints have been incorrectly drawn.
An important part of becoming a good electrician is knowing when it would be dangerous to proceed. Electricians are finding that their profession is becoming linked with those who do computer and telecommunications wiring.
These systems are installed at the same time, and more often than not, new structures are wired for networks and telecommunications immediately.
Over 15 per cent of electricians take additional classes on telecommunications systems, wiring, and the electrical interfaces to do this work themselves.
- The Risks of Being an Electrician
- Have you considered training as an electrician? Here are reasons why you should.
- What’s it like to work as an electrician?
- Attributes That Indicate Being an Electrician Might Be the Career for You
- Is Being an Electrician the Right Career Move for You?
The Risks of Being an Electrician
There are so many benefits of being an electrician. We’ll discuss them in a second, but before we do, there are a few risks you should be aware of prior to enrolling in an electrical technician training program.
Take a look at some of the risks you should carefully consider below.
You Won’t Be Able to Become a Full-Fledged Electrician Right Away
There are some people who are under the impression the only thing you need to do in order to become an electrician is to attend the aforementioned electrical technician training program.
You do need to take classes at a trade and vocational school before becoming an electrician. But it’s not the only step you need to take to start your new career.
You’re also going to need to spend at least a few years working as an apprentice under a master electrician. This electrician will be in charge of showing you the ropes and teaching you everything you’ll need to know to work as a full-fledged technician.
As an apprentice, you probably won’t be forced to do a lot of dangerous jobs. But you will get saddled with many of the jobs the more experienced electricians don’t want to do. You’ll have to pay your dues before eventually becoming a real electrician one day.
You’ll Have to Work a Lot of Odd Hours
Working as an electrician is not a normal 9-to-5 job.
There are going to be times when you’re out making electrical repairs to someone’s home after they woke up to find they didn’t have any electricity. There will also be times when you’re responding to calls late at night.
Those in your community are going to depend on you to help them with all their electrical needs. And if you want to show them, they can count on you, and you’re going to have to sacrifice your work-life balance for it at times.
At the same time, you’re going to need to make sure you’re capable of focusing on the tasks at hand while you’re logging long hours. If you make one wrong move while working with electricity, it could put you and others in harm’s way.
Your Job Will Often Be Physically Demanding
There are some electrical jobs which are relatively simple. For example, replacing a lighting fixture or installing a new outlet for a homeowner isn’t exactly back-breaking work.
But there are going to be times when you’re pushed to the limit while tackling electrical jobs. You might have to climb up tall ladders or crawl through dark basements to finish a task.
When you’re 25, 30, or even 35, doing these things won’t be that difficult. But once you reach the ages of 40, 45, 50, and higher, you’re not going to be able to move around the same way you used to.
Working as an electrician can take a toll on everything from your back and shoulders to your knees and feet. Make sure you’re prepared for how physically demanding it can be.
Your Job Will Also Be Dangerous at Times
No matter how well you do in an electrical technician training program and how long you work as an electrician, there is always going to be a risk associated with working with electricity.
If you make a mistake while you’re installing electrical wires or putting in a new electrical panel for a home or business owner, you could end up electrocuting yourself. There are, unfortunately, almost 200 electricians who die every year on the job.
This represents a very small percentage of the total number of electricians. But still, it’s a reminder that working as an electrician can be a very dangerous job.
Have you considered training as an electrician? Here are reasons why you should.
You Won’t Need to Worry About Finding a Job
Today, electricians are in demand more than they ever were. According to Angie’s List, electrical contractors have reported declining numbers of qualified workers. They say that many older electricians are nearing retirement and don’t have enough young electricians to replace them.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for electricians will only grow in the future. The BLS estimates that electrician jobs will see a 20% increase % by 2022.
You Can Work Without a College Degree
The traditional path is to attend college for four or more years, but this path may or may not help you get a better job. And attending college is not cheap-the average cost for a private four-year college was $32,405 for the 2015 – 16 school year. After graduating, many students struggle to pay thousands of dollars in student loans.
If you choose to train as an electrician, you don’t have to worry about emptying your bank account to pay for tuition costs. In fact, through an apprenticeship program, you won’t have to pay tuition at all. Your apprenticeship program is paid for by the contractor you work for, so you pay only textbook fees. You’ll even work as an electrician while you take classes-so you earn money while you study.
You’ll Earn a Comfortable Salary
As of May 2015, electricians earned about $55,590 a year, with the most experienced electricians earning up to $88,130 a year. This salary is a higher wage than plumbers, roofers, and construction workers.
As you gain more experience, your salary will also increase. Working as an electrician, you should be able to support yourself comfortably and even support a family.
You’ll Learn Specialized Skills
People respect electricians because they have specialized knowledge and a specific skill set most people don’t have. After all, electrical work requires both strong physical labour and intelligent problem-solving. Electricians need to solve complex issues that require critical thinking and expertise.
Electrical work is not repetitive or monotonous. An electrician will likely face new problems every day.
You Can Move Up in the Industry
With the proper training as an apprentice, you can become a journeyman electrician. As a journeyman electrician, you can work on your own, installing wiring and repairing intricate electrical problems.
With experience and additional training, you can progress to become a master electrician. A master electrician designs and installs full wiring systems. As a master electrician, you can manage other electricians. You can even run your own company.
You Can Choose Where and When You Work
Many people move wherever their job takes them, but electricians are needed everywhere. That need means you can move across the country or stay right in your hometown and still find employment.
Many electricians work a typical 9 to 5, 40-hour workweek. Others work variable hours at many different job sites or travel from place to place for jobs. You have the flexibility to choose a job with a schedule that works for you. You could even decide to work on a self-employed basis.
Working as an electrician is a great job opportunity. If working as an electrician sounds right for you, start a qualified apprenticeship.
What’s it like to work as an electrician?
As an electrician, you will work with your hands, often outside, and you will face new challenges every day. As an electrician, you will be the first tradesman on the job site, and the last one to leave it. More importantly, you will be the most knowledgeable and skilled person on the job site.
As an electrician, you will be able to see the products of your hard work each and every day; lights will turn on because of you wired them correctly, fire alarm systems will sound because you wired the sirens correctly, and hospitals will save lives because you wired their systems correctly. You will make the lives of others better, and even help to save lives, thanks to your knowledge and expertise.
As an electrician, you will enjoy a job market in which you are always in demand, because electricity is everywhere, and electricians will always be needed.
Attributes That Indicate Being an Electrician Might Be the Career for You
Choosing to become an electrician is a great decision for thousands of men and women, but it can be hard to know if becoming an electrician is the best option for you. Picking a career is serious business, and that is why you will want to make the right choice. If you have ever wondered what it takes to be an electrician, below are several personal attributes that indicate a career as an electrician might be perfect for you.
You Enjoy Problem Solving
Being an electrician entails a lot of troubleshooting and finding the answers to challenging questions. Electricians study problems and find solutions, and they spend a good deal of time searching for clues along the way.
Discovering how to make an installation or fix something broken requires a willingness to be persistent and leverage your curiosity to keep you moving forward.
If you enjoy problem-solving, then you possess one of the key attributes needed for success as an electrician. The great news is that you will never be bored as an electrician, and if you love being the one who finds the answers, you are a great candidate for this career.
You Are Skilled at Working With Your Hands
You won’t be expected to know much about electricity when you first begin a career as an electrician that’s what your apprentice training is for-but it’s a good sign that you will thrive if you have a track record of skillfully and patiently working with your hands. The work as an electrician requires you to be hands-on, and you will use a lot of different tools and materials
in the course of your job.
Suppose you gain personal satisfaction by working around the house or by performing other such work, such as painting, auto repair, construction, or gardening. In that case, you should consider a career as an electrician.
In addition, if you are into hobbies such as model building, wood carving, pottery, or similar hands-on activities, you should also give serious consideration to becoming an electrician.
You Are Physically Healthy
The good news is that you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to be a successful electrician. However, it is important that you are in decent physical shape and are not afraid of working hard. Electricians spend a lot of time climbing, crawling and reaching, and you will want to have enough skill and ability to maneuver around to perform the necessary work.
In addition, you will also want to have a good colour vision if you are interested in becoming an electrician. Being able to distinguish among the various colours used in the electrical industry, including wiring and components, is a critical safety skill.
If your colour vision is normal and you care about your physical health, then keep the possibility open of becoming an electrician.
You Believe That Safety Is Paramount
The most important job of an electrician, above and beyond even fixing a problem, is working safely. Dealing with thousands of volts of electricity demands that electricians approach their work with attention and a commitment to being safe.
If you share this view by believing that all accidents are preventable and are serious about placing safety first, then you possess a mindset that indicates you have what it takes to be an electrician.
You Find Satisfaction From Being Part of a Team
Being an electrician means you are part of a bigger team in most cases. Even the electrician who owns their own business is still likely to work in partnership with others on the job site.
For example, if you are performing installation work, such as adding wiring or boxes, then you will be working with other subcontractors and coordinating everything with the general contractor.
That means if you are motivated by working as part of a team and enjoy the stimulation it provides, then being an electrician might be the right choice of careers.
Most training programs have progressed nearly halfway, and those who couldn’t hack the academic rigour of these programs have been weeded out. At the two-year mark, the emphasis switches from classroom-based learning to practical considerations.
Work is still highly supervised, and tasks are limited to basic installation, testing, and maintenance. Blueprint-reading skills are developing. Wages are low for the industry, but many say this is not a problem “as you are learning a career.”
Is Being an Electrician the Right Career Move for You?
If you’ve ever thought about being an electrician, make an effort to learn more about what working as an electrician is like.
Many electricians in your community would probably be happy to speak with you about what their work is like. You can also use the internet to your advantage and read blogs about launching an electrician career.
Additionally, you can reach out to someone at a trade and vocational school to ask them about the electrical technician training programs they have to offer. They can speak with you more about the costs associated with these programs as well as what you’ll learn during them.