How to Become an Electrician
Electrician Careers & Degrees

An electrician is a specialist who works with electrical appliances, wiring, and installation.

An electrician’s role could include wiring up a new house, installing lights, repairing existing electrical work, or checking for electrical safety in a homes or business.

Electricians may also install and repair wiring to machinery or other equipment.

Electricians have excellent problem solving skills and technical knowledge.

Good manual dexterity is also a good skill to have, as you need to have a steady hand.

Creative thinking will always come in handy as an electrician.

There are many good reasons to become an electrician.

You work will be constantly changing, allowing you to work in a wide range of locations, indoors and outdoors, as well as meeting many interesting people on the job.

There is also the opportunity to work for yourself and start your own business later on.

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Education Requirements to Become an Electrician

To become an electrician, you will need to complete a four year apprenticeship program.

During this time you will take part in a combination of classroom activity, as well as practical on the job training.

Mathematics and an understanding of all things technical are required to become an electrician.

If you are still in high school, you should take subjects such as math, as well as technology if your school offers it.

Some schools will offer vocational programs where you can start your classroom work to become an electrician while still in school.

Theoretical work focuses on reading blueprints, electrical theory, mathematics, safety requirements, building codes, as well as first aid practices.

You can also continue on to further training in niche areas such as communications, auto electronics, communications, or machinery work.

Some electricians start out by enrolling in a vocational school and completing their classroom learning first.

They then seek out 2 years of practical experience to complete their training.

As apprenticeships can be competitive, this is a good alternative option to keep in mind.

When you complete your apprenticeship, you will be qualified to work in both the maintenance and construction sectors.

Most states require you to become licensed.

This means that you will need to sit a state set exam, which will test theoretical knowledge such as the National Electrical Code.

Electrician Job Description

An electrician can find themselves completing many different tasks as a part of their work.

Most jobs will start with studying the blueprints of the building they are working on.

They will then formulate a plan to install the wiring, lighting, components, and conductors required of the job they are doing.

Here are some of the tasks an electrician may find themselves completing.

  • Installing wiring to new construction
  • Repairing wiring in existing buildings
  • Installing lights, appliances, and wiring
  • Checking wiring for safety
  • Following state building codes
  • Analyzing building blueprints

Most electricians work a 40 hour week as a minimum, with many also working overtime hours.

Electricians working on construction sites will mostly work Monday to Friday.

Those who work in maintenance may need to be on call, and find themselves working out of business hours in the case of an emergency.

Electrician Salary and Career Path

Job opportunities for electricians are good, the broader your skills base is, the better.

Most electricians work within the construction industry, working on new homes, offices, factories, and renovation projects.

The remainder work within other sectors, such as repairs, installations, or are self-employed.

As an electrician, you will likely be trained to work in both maintenance and construction, most tend to end up working in either one area or the other.

There is much more opportunity and work within the construction industry for electricians.

The median salary for an electrician is $45,000 a year.

Those starting out could earn around $35,000, while those with more experience could earn as much as $65,000.

Most electricians are employed as contractors, and paid on an hourly basis.

If you are looking for a varied workplace, with plenty of things to do and always something new to learn, you should consider becoming an electrician.

This role offers challenging and changing tasks, you’ll also meet a lot of different people.

You’ll need good technical ability and problem solving skills to succeed.

Employment is secure and a reasonable salary is available.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$60,370
$33K
$42K
$60K
$73K
$96K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$47,490
Alaska$75,350
Arizona$49,350
Arkansas$44,180
California$70,460
Colorado$55,050
Connecticut$63,560
Delaware$58,460
District of Columbia$79,870
Florida$45,720
Georgia$51,430
Hawaii$77,530
Idaho$51,380
Illinois$78,790
Indiana$59,130
Iowa$56,050
Kansas$54,750
Kentucky$53,440
Louisiana$52,140
Maine$54,240
Maryland$58,680
Massachusetts$71,110
Michigan$62,480
Minnesota$68,620
Mississippi$48,790
Missouri$60,530
Montana$60,290
Nebraska$52,860
Nevada$64,890
New Hampshire$55,770
New Jersey$73,430
New Mexico$50,460
New York$79,480
North Carolina$45,460
North Dakota$64,620
Ohio$53,540
Oklahoma$51,950
Oregon$74,920
Pennsylvania$68,390
Rhode Island$57,740
South Carolina$46,920
South Dakota$46,540
Tennessee$50,440
Texas$52,230
Utah$51,410
Vermont$53,060
Virginia$54,690
Washington$71,160
West Virginia$55,150
Wisconsin$61,220
Wyoming$60,070
Guam$37,160
Puerto Rico$27,910
Virgin Islands$75,470

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $79,870.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $79,870
New York - $79,480
Illinois - $78,790
Hawaii - $77,530
Virgin Islands - $75,470
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Electricians, OCC Code 47-2111, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does an electrician do?

Electricians install and repair electrical systems in homes and businesses.

They inspect electrical components, identify problems using a testing device and repair or replace wiring or fixtures.

As an electrician you will need to know how to read blueprints, how to install and maintain electrical wiring and lighting systems and you must follow state and local building regulations.

Electricians usually work alone but they may also work in teams or collaborate with engineers or architects to design electrical systems for new constructions.

They use a variety of tools, such as drills, saws, screwdrivers, or conduit benders.

Most electricians work full time with work schedules that may include evening and weekends but some electricians, especially those who are self-employed, may be able to set their own schedule.

Electricians need critical thinking skills, patience, physical stamina, and customer-service abilities.

QuestionHow much does an electrician make?

Electricians can make anywhere between less than $35,000 and more than $90,000 a year, depending on their experience, education, and region of employment.

The median annual wage for electricians was $55,190 as of May 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As an apprentice, you will typically earn less than average but your wage will likely increase as you gain experience.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become an electrician?

Most electricians learn this trade through an apprenticeship but some also graduate from a technical school.

Most states require electricians to be licensed, you can find out the exact licensing requirements by contacting your local or state electrical licensing board.

Tuition costs for technical schools vary widely depending on the school and the problem itself; a certificate or associate’s degree program can cost you anywhere between $1,000 and $11,000.

Apprentices receive around 2000 hours of on-the-job training and are paid for the work they do during this period.

QuestionWhat is the demand for electricians?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for electricians is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028.

This growth is explained, in part, by the fact that more buildings are constructed and the demand for sources of alternative energy is increasing.

However, employment opportunities vary depending on the region and the local economy so the demand for electricians may fluctuate year by year, season by season and region by region.

QuestionHow long does it take to become an electrician?

Most electricians learn through an apprenticeship that lasts around 4-5 years.

These training programs usually consist of around 2000 hours of paid on-the-job training each year and technical instruction.

Some electricians also hold a certificate or associate’s degree in the field, which can be completed in a few months or two years, depending on the program.

Electricians typically need a state license; licensure requirements vary by state but all states require electricians to pass an exam in order to get their license.

Licensed electricians may also have to participate in continuing education classes.

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