Electrician installs, maintains, and repairs the electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in buildings. They also ensure that these systems are up to code.
The skills that are needed for this career include color vision, the ability to read technical and wiring diagrams, and physical stamina. It also helps if you enjoy working with your hands and have good problem-solving abilities.
The qualifications that you need to start an electrical career vary from state to state. In general, you will need a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). This is important because most trade schools and apprenticeship programs require it before they will admit you or allow you to begin your training. You should also look into taking courses that will prepare you for your future work as an electrician, such as mathematics, wiring and circuitry, motor controls, and electrical theory.
Many electricians learn their skills on the job, working under a master electrician or another licensed journeyman electrician. Some apprentices work for a construction company, while others find jobs as residential or commercial electricians. Residential electricians install all of the wiring, outlets, and fuse boxes that a new house or building needs to function properly. Many of these electricians also operate their own electrical contracting businesses and help individuals fix problems with their homes, such as broken outlets or wiring that is no longer safe.
Electricians are detail-oriented and must be comfortable reading blueprints or technical diagrams of a wiring project. They are also skilled at working with tools, entering crawl spaces, and climbing ladders. Whether they are working on a small wiring project in a private home or installing power lines for a large company, electricians must follow strict safety procedures and regulations to avoid accidents.
Some electricians choose to specialize in certain types of work, such as solar or wind energy systems. This can lead to higher-paying jobs and greater opportunities for advancement. For example, a master electrician who specializes in green energy systems may install solar panels or wind turbines for a homeowner or commercial customer.
For those interested in becoming licensed master electricians, there are several requirements that must be met. The first is to complete a four-year apprenticeship program or have eight years of experience as a licensed journeyman electrician. Then, you must pass a written and practical exam that tests your knowledge of electrical codes and regulations as well as your hands-on skills. Lastly, you must carry workers’ compensation and personal property insurance for your business.
Typically, those who wish to become electricians are required to have a high school diploma. This may be sufficient for some people, but those who truly want to work in the field should look into taking courses in math and physics. This will help provide a solid foundation that can be used in preparing for the apprenticeships that are necessary to obtain a license.
Once a person has their diploma, they should find a trade school that offers electrician training programs. Those programs will include both classroom and lab-based learning. Many of these programs also include an internship that will put the student on a job site working with a licensed electrician in the real world. This is a great way to learn about the various jobs that electricians can take on and how they are performed properly.
In some cases, an associate degree in electrical technology is available from many trade schools. This can be a good option for those who want to start their apprenticeship immediately or who want to use the program as a stepping stone to a four-year bachelor’s degree. These programs usually have a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning as well as providing the students with classroom lessons in things like wiring basics, safety protocols, panel board installations, and load calculations.
Most states require that those seeking licensure as electricians complete an apprenticeship program. This is a process that generally lasts up to five years and involves a lot of on-the-job training. These apprentices will work under the supervision of a journeyman, which means that they are getting paid while they are gaining experience and learning about the various aspects of the career.
These apprenticeships will also focus heavily on teaching the electricians proper safety procedures for their jobs. This is because electricians deal with very high-voltage equipment, so it is vital that they know how to handle it correctly. They will also learn how to deal with various emergencies and crisis situations, as these will likely arise while they are working.
Some electricians choose to skip the apprenticeship route and go straight to passing the licensure exam after graduating from their trade school program. This can save some time, but those who do this will need to be able to prove that they have a certain number of verified work hours before they can actually begin their careers.
Electricians work to maintain the power, lighting, and communications systems that make modern homes, businesses, hospitals, and factories possible. They also ensure that these systems meet local, state, and national electrical safety standards. In order to become an electrician, you must have the right training. This includes a high school diploma or equivalency and on-the-job experience with an apprenticeship. You can also pursue a certificate or associate degree in electrical technology to gain more advanced knowledge and get closer to your career goal of becoming a licensed master electrician.
Many states require that electricians be licensed. Depending on where you live, this may involve taking an exam and paying a fee. You can find out more about the licensing requirements for your state by contacting your local department of labor or a trade school. Some schools offer a pre-apprenticeship program that prepares students for an apprenticeship and helps them learn the basics of the trade while earning money.
Once you’ve completed the necessary steps for your state, you can apply for an electrician apprenticeship. This typically involves completing a four- to five-year program that combines on-the-job training with online and classroom courses. During an apprenticeship, you’ll be mentored by a journeyman electrician and receive a salary while learning the trade.
During your apprenticeship, you’ll need to complete multiple projects to build up the skills and experience you need to work on your own. These projects will likely include installing wiring, repairing existing electrical systems, and maintaining power lines. You’ll also learn how to read and understand electrical plans and schematics, which is a must for anyone working with electricity.
In the United States, electricians can choose to specialize in residential, commercial, or industrial work. There are also specialty electricians, such as linemen, who work on electric utility distribution systems at higher voltages, or inside wiremen, who work with the lower-voltage wiring utilized in homes and business offices.
Some electricians even go a step further and become field safety representatives, or FSRs. These professionals can oversee other electricians, and they are able to pull permits for electrical work in certain jurisdictions.
Electricians assemble, install, and repair electrical wiring, fixtures, and equipment in all types of buildings and structures. They work with a wide variety of electrical systems and tools and must have excellent hand-eye coordination, physical endurance, and logical problem-solving skills.
Some electricians complete an apprenticeship program that includes both classroom instruction and on-the-job training under a journeyman or master electrician. Program prerequisites vary but usually include being at least 18 years old, having a high school diploma or GED certificate, and passing an aptitude test. Apprentices must also be able to read blueprints and other technical documents.
After completing an apprenticeship program or earning a bachelor’s degree in an associate or certificate electrical program, individuals may apply to take a state-approved licensing exam for either a journeyman electrician license or a master electrician license. In New York, for example, applicants must have worked under the direct supervision of a journeyman or master electrician in the state or under a supervisor whose qualifications are deemed equivalent to those of a licensed master electrician by the NYC Department of Buildings for at least seven and a half years.
Other states have different licensing requirements, including submitting proof of experience and completing continuing education courses to renew an electrician’s license. Once a licensed electrician obtains enough experience, he or she can seek employment with an electrical contracting firm or work independently as a freelancer.
Most electricians work alone, but larger companies often assign a project manager to supervise each electrician and ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to complete projects on time and within budget. Experienced electricians also collaborate with other construction specialists, such as elevator installers and heating and air conditioning workers, to install or maintain power, communication, or other building infrastructure. In addition, they may also work on lineman jobs to help install or repair transmission and distribution lines for electricity. As such, they need good communication and teamwork skills. Some electricians also become teachers, offering apprenticeship programs and instruction to help younger electricians get started in the field. Others move into engineering and design, working with the plans for new buildings and recommending the best electrical systems to use.