Being an Electrician: Is This a Good Career Choice?

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Sep 27, 2018

Sep 27, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Stuck in the crossroads of life and uncertain about your future? Take comfort in the fact that this is normal. A lot of people don't know what career to follow, even in their 30's.

Why not consider being an electrician?

There are always houses and buildings to build, which all require electricity. That's why an electrician is one job that's never going to disappear. In fact, experts predict that there's going to be a 14% job growth for electricians from 2014 to 2024.

Many are becoming interested in being an electrician, but many are in doubt whether it's a good career choice. You might be asking, "should I be an electrician?"

If the industry's stability is not enough to sway you, read on to see what being an electrician is all about.

What Electricians Do

Let's keep it short - electricians are the people responsible for getting electricity to power up any building or structure. You could say that their job is to install and maintain the wiring and control equipment. Their responsibilities are more than that, though.

  • Interpreting architect blueprints, electrical systems, and circuit diagrams
  • Installing circuit breaker panels, switches, relays, and other equipment
  • Planning the electrical systems for new buildings, including the positioning of lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, heating outlets, and so on
  • Making sure that the lighting, wiring, and control systems are in good condition
  • Using testing devices, hand tools, and power tools to test and repair faulty wiring
  • Adhering to the local, state, and National Electrical Code

These are only their most common responsibilities. These might change depending on their specialization.

Job Types

Not all electricians do the same things. You want to make sure that you're getting the right man for the job to ensure great results

1. Inside Wiremen

They install and maintain the electrical wiring in larger structures, such as buildings, factories, schools, airports, and such.

2. Residential Wiremen

They install and maintain the electrical wiring in residential structures. They're the ones who go into your homes. Click here to learn more about professionals available near you.

3. Outside Linemen

They set up the cables that bring the electricity from its source to homes and buildings. You'll see them on telephone poles or the side of the road, laying thick cables.

4. Telecommunications Electricians

They specialize in laying cables needed for telecommunications. This involves the wiring for phones, local area network, and such.

What the Work Environment is Like

The work environment will vary depending on your area of specialization.

Electricians may spend most of their time inside buildings or homes, whether they're still under construction or already built. However, their duties might still involve going outside. Some electricians are working outside more often than the others, though.

Their job entails various projects, meaning their work environment can vary as well. They may go into a building with large spaces on one job site. Then, they may go to a different structure with cramped spaces the next.

With that said, the job also involves a lot of traveling. It's common for an electrician to travel 100 miles for a project.

Being an electrician also means working with live wires, so there's some danger involved in this job. That's why it's vital to practice proper precautions.

Is Becoming an Electrician Worth It?

If you're still unsure whether being an electrician is right for you, check out the benefits that come with this job below.

Career Advancement

Once you become an electrician, there's plenty of room to move up, not unlike regular office jobs. With enough experience and training, you can advance to Master status.

Being a Master electrician gives you access to higher level jobs, which means higher pay. However, the responsibility is greater as well.

Job Growth

Electricians are in high demand, ensuring you have a good foothold once you step into this career. The construction trade industry faces a shortage of skilled electricians time and time again.

Self-Employment

Want to set your hours? Self-employment is an option for electricians. This gives you the benefit of choosing your jobs and your schedules.

Lots of Activity

If sitting in front of a desk all day isn't an appealing idea to you, being an electrician might be a good career choice. You'll be active at all times, and you'll be working in a different environment with every job.

Union Membership

As an electrician, you get the opportunity to become a union member. A union offers a lot of advantages, including salary protection and employment security.

Attractive Salary

You won't make six figures at the get-go, although the average annual salary in some states is pretty close to it. In New York, for example, the average yearly salary of an electrician is at $73,010.

This would still depend on the experience and location, however. The mean salary of electricians in the whole U.S. is at $56,650 in 2016. When you're starting out, you might earn about $21.25 per hour, which is better than most skilled trades, like a mechanic.

Educational Requirements for Being an Electrician

You don't have to get a diploma or a bachelor's degree to become an electrician, like other skilled trades. The minimum requirements are:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Electrician training
  • Licenses and certifications as required by the state

The most common route to being an electrician is through an apprenticeship program. This is where individuals learn about the craft through exposure.

An apprenticeship program usually lasts from 4 to 5 years. It includes 144 hours of technical training per year and 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience per year.

Electricians can also get their training and skills in a technical school. There, they can receive credit toward an apprenticeship program.

Is Being an Electrician Hard?

We can't say that being an electrician is harder or easier than other trades or regular jobs. Like in all jobs, you must have the necessary knowledge and skills to complete the job. The hardest part of it might be in regards to safety since your work will also affect many other people.

Want to Explore Other Options?

Surprised about the career potential of an electrician? It's arguably one of the good life choices today.

If you want to learn more about being an electrician or other careers, check out our blog now. Find tips to be better at your work, how to start a career, and more, such as getting a business loan.