Job Description

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 tools include: pipe benders, screwdrivers, wire strippers, drills, saws, ammeters, voltmeters, and multimeters.

Occupational specialties for electricians include inside electricians and residential electricians.

Education and Certifications

An electrician career generally begins with a four-year apprenticeship. Completion of the apprenticeship program qualifies individuals for both construction and maintenance work.

After completing an apprenticeship program, electricians are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own, subject to any local or state licensing requirements.

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.

The tests have questions related to the National Electrical Code and state and local electrical codes, all of which set standards for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment.

Electricians may be required to take continuing education courses in order to maintain their licenses. These courses are usually related to safety practices, changes to the electrical code, and training from manufacturers in specific products.

In most states electricians need a license; requirements for licensure vary by state.

Essential Career Information

  • $54,110 - Median pay, 2017
  • $32,180 - Wage of lowest 10 percent, 2017
  • $92,690 - Wage of the highest 10 percent, 2017
  • 666,900 - Number of jobs, 2016
  • 9% - Employment growth forecast, 2016
  • Entry-level education requirements - High school diploma or equivalent