We owe a lot to the electrician. He or she works behind the scenes to provide us with one of the most essential benefits in life – the ability to charge our phones.
Electricians are about much more than wall sockets and light switches. They are very important members of a construction team. If you’re considering becoming an electrician, your services will always be needed. So you need to stay current in your knowledge and skill sets.
Electrician jobs come in three basic forms:
- Electricians in the construction industry install wiring and outlets to new homes, buildings or factories to ensure power is safely delivered through the entire structure. Their mastery behind those walls helps make a building fully functional.
- Residential electricians install wiring and troubleshoot electrical problems in people’s homes, including apartment buildings. Those who work in maintenance and remodeling typically repair or replace faulty equipment.
- Commercial electricians maintain and fix the big stuff – large motors, equipment and control systems in businesses and factories. These electricians use what they know to help commercial buildings run safely and efficiently. To keep the place running, these electricians often perform scheduled maintenance.
Electricians need to know how to analyze problems – and they need to be detail-oriented to fix problems. They also have to work from a blueprint to know where everything is and pinpoint the trouble.
Most importantly, electricians need to be careful and precise. Electricity can be dangerous – shocking, right? – so caution and care are critical. Close attention to detail helps avoid injuries as well as costly mistakes.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ELECTRICIAN IN GEORGIA
If you land one of those electrician jobs, you’ll…
- Read blueprints, or diagrams that show locations of things like circuits, outlets and load centers
- Install wiring systems in factories, businesses and new homes
- Fix, maintain and upgrade existing electrical equipment
- Install and connect wires to circuit breakers, transformers, outlets and other systems
- Use tools like screwdrivers, pliers, hacksaws and conduit benders (What’s a conduit? A pipe, tube or tile that protects electric wires or cables)
WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME AN ELECTRICIAN
This is what the best electricians say you’ll need to have:
- The ability to distinguish colors. Wires are labeled by color, so you can’t be color-blind.
- Good people skills. This is not a solo profession. You’ll be around people all day, especially if you are a residential electrician. You’ll need to be helpful and willing to answer questions (even if the customer keeps asking the same one!).
- Problem-solving skills. Whether a ceiling fan isn’t working in the bedroom or a company’s entire electric system goes down, it’s up to electricians to figure out the source of the problem and to fix it.
- Good endurance. Electricians are on their feet throughout the day, constantly moving around as they install and repair electrical systems. Some jobs require the electrician to maneuver in tight, cramped spaces.
- Physical strength. Electricians often have to carry or move electrical equipment – such as transformers and circuit breakers. A lot of that stuff isn’t light.
IS THIS YOU?
Here are some things to think about as you decide whether becoming an electrician is right for you.
- Job security. Electricians are always needed, even when the economy is not doing so well.
- You’ll be working indoors and outdoors in a variety of different settings. Every day can be different.
- Electricians often get to work independently, choose their own jobs and set their own hours. Do well at this job, and you can go into business for yourself!
- Electricians may have to work in tight, sometimes uncomfortable spaces, sometimes for hours at a time.
- Some electrician jobs require you to be on call 24/7 to respond to emergencies.
- Potential injuries include electrical shocks and burns, cuts and falls.
A FEW DETAILS OF INTEREST
How much do electricians make?
In Georgia, electricians earn an average salary of $46,490 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016).
How do you become an electrician?
Some technical schools train electricians, but most electricians learn on the job or through an electrician apprenticeship program, which combines classroom and on-the-job training.
Most electrician apprenticeships last four or five years. Each year of the apprenticeship will typically include 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours on the job.
The advantage to apprenticeships is that you learn by doing and earn while you learn. Since you get paid for the hours you work during your electrician training, you can still support yourself and pay your bills even while you’re still mastering your trade.
During the technical training (a.k.a. electrician school), you’ll learn things like…
- Electrical theory – that includes electricity, currents, Ohm’s Law and what all those wires do
- How to read those blueprints – so you don’t electrocute yourself or anyone else
- How to use ammeters, voltmeters, thermal scanners and cable testers – equipment used to troubleshoot problems
- Electrical code requirements
- Safety requirements and first aid
To enter an electrician apprenticeship, you typically need to be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or legal resident. You’ll need a high school diploma or the equivalent. You also need to have taken a year of algebra (or an equivalent math class) and will have to pass an aptitude test and a drug test.
Georgia requires electricians to be licensed before they can do any electrical work, so you will need to pass a licensing exam. Before you can take the exam, you must meet certain educational requirements. More information on how to get an electrician’s license in Georgia.
FIND AN ELECTRICIAN SCHOOL
APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP
If you’re a high school senior and want to get electrician training at one of Georgia’s technical colleges, why not apply for a Trade Five Scholarship? OK! Bring on the application >
OUTLOOK FOR ELECTRICIANS
Nationally, the demand for electricians is projected to increase about 14% by 2024, adding 85,900 jobs.
A REAL ELECTRICIAN REALLY SAID THIS
“I love that while I do the same job, it’s in a different location every day. And I meet people from all walks of life. If you are a knowledgeable electrician with a good reputation, you will never be without work. Everyone you know will need an electrician at some point.” –Chris Rodriquez, Cumming, Georgia
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
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