Tasked with the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical systems, electrical technicians can work outdoors and indoors, at residential homes, offices, factories, and construction locations.
Electricians working full time may have a set schedule or a variable schedule, either of which can include evenings and weekends. In some employment situations, electricians regularly work overtime. Some electricians are self-employed. These professionals typically work in residential settings and have the capacity to dictate their schedule.
While some electricians work by themselves, others work as part of a team. At bigger businesses, electricians are more likely to be part of a crew of electricians, which may include apprentices.
Essential Education and Training
Before being employed as an electrician, most people earn a degree through a technical school. Most technical schools offer classes on electrical circuitry, safety practices, and how to read technical documents. Those that graduate generally gain credit toward an apprenticeship program.
Nearly all electricians complete an apprenticeship program before becoming fully employed. Apprentices are normally paid as they receive on-the-job training and classroom education. Apprentices in some industries receive specialized education and training on topics such as soldering and elevator mechanics. Unions, contractor organizations, and other associations sponsor apprenticeship programs, with the specifics of these programs vary based on state and municipality.
Some employers offer their own electrician training programs that are not officially certified apprenticeship programs. While most people directly enter an apprenticeship program, some get into these programs after working as an assistant.
After finishing an apprenticeship program, electricians are regarded as journey employees and allowed to carry out electrical duties by themselves, as dictated by any local or state guidelines.
Most states mandate that electricians must pass a licensing test. Requirements and other licensing details can be found by contacting local or state electrical licensing boards. A lot of the licensing requirements can also be found on the official website for the National Electrical Contractors Association. Licensing tests normally have questions associated with the National Electrical Code, state codes and local codes, which establish standards for the safe installment electrical wiring.
In some situations, electricians may have to continue their education to be able to retain their licenses. These continuing education classes are generally associated with updated safety practices, to the electrical code and new electrical products.
Job prospects for electricians are expected to increase 10 percent over the coming decade, which is better than the average. Rises in construction investment and the developing need for alternative energy is said to drive future needs for electricians.
In particular, clean energy, including wind and solar power, should drive the need for more electricians for installation, as they will be required to install and connect these power sources. It should be noted; however, that government policy will play a major role in the growth of and investment in clean energy.