What Does an Electrician Do?
Electricians install, repair, and maintain electrical wiring, lighting systems, and control systems in homes, buildings, and factories. They are also responsible for ensuring that the work meets all applicable codes and standards.
Electricians can qualify through various routes, including college courses and apprenticeships. They must have normal color vision and be able to pass an industry-recognized competence test, such as the AM2 assessment from City and Guilds or EAL.
As an electrician, you work with electrical wires and other equipment to provide electricity to homes and businesses. You install, maintain, and repair this equipment. You also ensure that your work is in accordance with relevant codes. Your responsibilities may include installing or servicing street lights, intercom systems, or electrical control systems. You may also test and analyze electrical wiring or other systems to identify problems.
The job duties of an electrician are diverse and require special skills to perform. You must be able to read and interpret diagrams, use hand tools and power tools, and understand and follow blueprints and other drawings. You should also be familiar with various types of electric motors and generators. You should be able to identify and solve electrical problems quickly and effectively.
Some electricians have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field, while others learn through an apprenticeship. The latter includes classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a journeyperson electrician. An apprentice typically starts at about 40 percent of the journeyperson’s hourly wage and works until he or she reaches the journeyperson rate. In addition to these skills, an electrician must be physically fit and able to follow safety protocols.
The duties of an electrician include inspecting and testing circuits and equipment, replacing faulty switches, sockets, and other parts, and installing new wiring. Some electricians also have the ability to troubleshoot problems with equipment, and they must keep abreast of revisions to the National Electrical Code (NEC), state and local laws, and building and safety regulations.
An electrician’s work can be dangerous, especially when working in cramped spaces. You can also get burned or shocked when you touch a live wire, and you might have to work on ladders or other elevated locations. As a result, you should wear protective clothing and equipment to minimize the risk of injury.
A good electrician is a detail-oriented person who can follow instructions precisely and stay up-to-date on the latest building and safety codes. They should also have a high school diploma or GED certificate and pass a background check. In addition, they should be able to understand technical diagrams and blueprints and possess strong communication and interpersonal skills.
The path to becoming a licensed electrician involves a high school diploma or GED certificate and a vocational training program at a local trade school or technical institute. The program should include classroom instruction on electrical theory and fundamentals as well as practical experience working in the field under an experienced electrician. Many programs offer an internship that gives students the chance to work full-time with a contracting company to gain the necessary hands-on experience.
Once students complete the trade school program, they typically move onto an apprenticeship with a master electrician who will oversee their work and teach them the basics of the business. They will learn electrical installation and maintenance techniques, including reading blueprints, understanding and interpreting schematics and wiring diagrams, and the use of small hand tools such as drill motors, soldering irons, volt-ohmmeters, ampere meters, and circuit testers. They will also be trained on safety protocols, power quality, and solar photovoltaic systems (in some programs).
In addition to an apprenticeship, some electricians choose to upgrade their qualifications by studying for a higher-level qualification at college. An associate degree in electrical technology is a common choice and takes about two years to complete. This type of qualification will open doors to jobs in industrial electrical technology, renewable energy, and other fields.
Regardless of the type of qualification they hold, electricians must be well-versed in the National Electric Code, or NEC. Failure to follow the NEC can lead to costly and dangerous mistakes that could put people at risk. It is important for electricians to understand their role in the industry as well as the roles of other professionals, such as plumbers and carpenters.
Some electricians will continue their education and become master electricians, which opens up the door to more lucrative job opportunities in a variety of industries. Others will branch out into their own businesses, such as electrical design or electrical contracting. Some even go into teaching, as they can share their knowledge of the trade with future generations. The physical requirements of this career are fairly minimal, but it is important for electricians to have a certain amount of strength, stamina, and clear eyesight and hearing.
Electricians work both indoors and outdoors at homes, offices, factories, and construction sites. Their work environment can be very challenging, as they have to deal with live electrical wires and other dangerous materials. They also need to wear protective gear like rubber-insulated gloves and sleeves, hard hats, and safety shoes. The career requires strong problem-solving skills and the ability to think on their feet. It is a good choice for people who prefer working in hands-on environments and do not want to sit at a desk all day.
Apprentice electricians spend about 4-5 years in an apprenticeship program after earning a high school diploma. During this time, they learn through on-the-job training and take courses from trade schools. After they graduate from the apprenticeship program, they must pass a state exam to become licensed as a journeyman. The work of a journeyman involves more complex tasks, including reading blueprints and technical diagrams to determine the location of circuits and outlets. They must also be able to use hand tools such as screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, and drills. In addition, they must be able to read and understand English well to read electrical diagrams and installation instructions.
The work of an electrician is varied and exciting, and it provides a sense of accomplishment in solving complex problems. It is a good choice for people with good communication skills who are able to explain technical knowledge to clients in a way that makes it easy to understand. In addition, they need to be able to remain calm and professional when dealing with difficult customers.
Electricians can choose to specialize in residential, commercial, or industrial electrical systems. In addition, they can choose to focus on the repair and maintenance of existing systems or new installations of wiring, lighting, and controls. They can also choose to become master electricians, which will allow them to install more advanced and complicated electrical systems. In this case, they must be able to work with engineers and other engineering technicians to ensure that the electrical system is safe. This career can be very satisfying, and it is possible to earn a decent living from it.
Almost every building has electrical wiring, and these systems need regular maintenance. Electricians may also install and replace electrical power, lighting, communications, and control systems.
They work between 30 and 40 hours a week, with the ability to take overtime when needed. Electricians can find employment with construction firms, manufacturers, and utilities. They can also set up their own business as independent contractors and seek out projects on their own.
The salary of an electrician depends on a number of factors, including the type of work they perform and the industry in which they operate. Those working in the construction industry, for example, tend to earn more than those working in other fields. This is because the work in this particular field is more complex and requires a higher level of skill.
In addition to these factors, the location of an electrician’s job also influences their salary. Those who work in large metropolitan areas usually earn more than those employed in rural regions. This is due to the higher cost of living in urban areas.
Those who choose to pursue a career as a journeyman electrician can also increase their salary by taking on supervisory roles and overseeing the work of others. After two years of experience as journeymen electricians, they can apply to become master electricians and earn even more money.
An additional way that electricians can boost their salaries is by acquiring certification in the field of alternative energy sources. This is because these types of power sources are becoming increasingly popular and will require additional electricians to install them. Whether this growth in demand is due to government provisions for solar and wind-powered energy systems or not, it will certainly lead to more opportunities for electricians.
If you want to attract the best and brightest electricians, your job description needs to clearly define the role’s responsibilities and qualifications. Be sure to include a call for applications and provide clear instructions on how to apply. This could be done by email, online application forms, or by calling the company directly. You should also state whether references are required, what the salary range is for the position, and if there are any other requirements that applicants must meet.