How to Become an Electrician
During a typical day, an electrician will work in a variety of environments. He or she will install new electrical components, maintain existing electrical infrastructure, and troubleshoot problems with electrical equipment. The job requires excellent communication and critical thinking skills. It also requires physical stamina, as electricians spend much of their day kneeling, bending, and working in cramped areas.
The electrical industry is constantly changing. With the growing use of alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, the demand for electricians will increase. However, the number of jobs available will depend on the amount of government incentives. Government incentives can lower the installation costs of alternative energy systems, and thus spur consumer demand.
In most jurisdictions, electricians are required to get a license, which is issued by the state or locality. A license is obtained by passing an examination. The exam usually consists of questions related to state or local electrical codes. A licensed electrician may also be required to take continuing education courses to stay up to date on changes in electrical codes and safety practices.
An electrician can specialize in wiring transmission lines, power systems, or electrical wiring of stationary machines, such as factory equipment. In some cases, electricians work in construction, while others are self-employed. As the electrical industry continues to evolve, the number of jobs will increase, and electricians should look forward to a stable career.
In the United States, an electrician can also receive an apprenticeship. This is a four- to five-year program that teaches the skills and knowledge required to become a licensed electrician. Apprentices must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma, and pass an aptitude test and substance abuse screening exam. They will also receive a journeyperson’s certificate.
After an apprenticeship, electricians can obtain a state license, which is issued by the state or locality. Some states, such as California, require electricians to get paid work experience before they can take the test. In British Columbia, electricians can become field safety representatives, which allow holders to pull permits and become licensed electrical contractors.
Those who wish to get more involved with the electrical industry may consider becoming a Master Electrician, a career path that requires three years of paid work experience, a master’s degree, and a passing score on the master’s exam. Master Electricians are usually employed for seven to ten years.
An electrician is responsible for installing electrical systems, wiring and maintaining buildings, factories, and other facilities. He or she will use power tools and test the wiring to ensure it is up to code. A successful electrician must be able to recognize wires by color, identify problems, and fix them. He or she may also consult with heating and air conditioning workers, architects, and other professionals on power systems. He or she may work alone, or with a team. In addition to installing electrical systems, electricians may work on new electrical components, such as LAN cables.