Electrician essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $49,840
- 2012, number of jobs: 519,850
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 23 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Electricians; what they do:
Dealing with wiring within your home can be confusing and incredibly intimidating; it is a job best left to a professional electrician. Electricians install and maintain electrical systems in homes, businesses, and other buildings.
Electricians interpret blueprints and technical diagrams in order to determine where electrical wires already exist or where they can add them. Electricians install wiring and lighting systems or inspect and maintain existing systems. When inspecting or installing electrical work, electricians must adhere to state and local building regulations based on National Electric Code.
When electricians work on older electrical systems, they sometimes replace outlets, circuit breakers, motors, or robotic control systems.
An electrician career includes using a variety of tools, ranging from hand tools to power tools and testing devices used in identifying electrical problems. Common electrician’s tools include: pipe benders, screwdrivers, wire strippers, drills, saws, ammeters, voltmeters, and multimeters.
Occupational specialties for electricians include inside electricians and residential electricians.
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Electrician job titles:
- Master Electrician
- Residential Electrician
- Inside Electrician
- Licensed Electrician
Electricians Education, Certification and License Requirements
An electrician career generally begins with a four-year apprenticeship. Completion of the apprenticeship program qualified individuals for both construction and maintenance work.
Some electricians attend a technical school with programs related to safety and basic electrical information. Credits earned here often go toward the individual’s four-year apprenticeship.
Sometimes electricians need to take continuing education courses, usually related to safety practices, changes to the electrical code, and training on specific products from a manufacturer.
Electrician programs cover subjects such as:
- Electrical theory
- Blueprint reading
- Electrical code requirements
- Safety and first-aid practices
In most states electricians need a license; requirements for licensure vary by state.
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Electricians Job Outlook
Forecast: 23 percent increase in employment from 2010 to 2020 for electricians, faster than the average for all occupations.
Homes require more wiring than in the past which increases the demand for electricians. The increasing popularity of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power, requires installation work from electricians.
Government policy and the shutting down of older facilities can negatively affect employment growth for electricians.
- 2012 median annual wage: $49,840
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $65,470
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $37,720
- Electrical contractors
- Wiring installation contractors industry