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What Does an Electrician Do?

Some people are natural trouble-shooters, and good electricians often possess that quality. Electricians design, install, maintain and repair wiring and electrical systems in any kind of structure, from homes to factories. They use testing equipment to identify problems, inspect electrical components such as circuit breakers and transformers, and install all elements of the electrical distribution system. They follow safety regulations as set by the National Electrical Code.

Electricians may be construction electricians, who install wiring, or maintenance electricians, who fix previously installed wiring. Construction electricians install wiring systems, fuse boxes and fixtures. Maintenance electricians repair and upgrade existing electrical systems and all components.

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Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
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An electrician installs wiring
An electrician may rewire a home one day and install a fuse box in a factory the next. (Credit: guruXOX/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Plan electrical systems
  • Install, maintain and repair wiring, fixtures and fuse boxes
  • Inspect and maintain circuit breakers, transformers
  • Read circuit diagrams and blueprints
  • Troubleshoot electrical issues using appropriate testing devices
  • Follow safety measures as laid out in the National Electrical Code
Education + Training

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. Those with no prior experience attend technical school, taking classes on circuitry, electricity and electrical safety. Graduates usually receive credit toward an apprenticeship. Workers who gained electrical experience in the military or in the construction industry may qualify for a shortened apprenticeship based on their experience.

Most students learn their trade in an apprenticeship program lasting about four or five years. For each year of the program, apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training and technical instruction.

Electricians are considered to be journeymen — meaning they are able to perform duties on their own — after they complete an apprenticeship, pass an exam and get a license, which is required in most states. Some continuing education courses are required to maintain the license, and some electricians continue training to become licensed master electricians.

  • Have excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills 
  • Are good at math 
  • Are safety-conscious
  • Communicate well with customers
  • Are skilled with hand and power tools
  • Are able to see the full spectrum of colors (not color blind), as electricians need to identify wires by color
  • Have the physical strength to move heavy items and the physical stamina to move around all day for tasks like wiring

Electrician training in your area


Independent Electrical Contractors Apprenticeship

Tallahassee Community College
Tallahassee (0.0 Miles)

Apprenticeship - Electrician, A.A.S.

Delta College
University Center (0.0 Miles)

Electronics Technology, A.A.S.

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (0.0 Miles)

Limited Maintenance Electrician Apprenticeship

Portland Community College
Portland (0.0 Miles)

Electrical Systems Technology, A.A.S.

Tri-County Community College
Murphy (0.0 Miles)
Brookdale Community College

Electric Utility Technology-Overhead Lines, A.A.S.

Brookdale Community College
Lincroft (0.0 Miles)

Basic Electrical Certificate

Tohono O'odham Community College
Sells (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology, A.A.S.

Navajo Technical University
Crownpoint (0.0 Miles)

Basic Electricity Technician Certificate

Atlanta Technical College
Atlanta (0.0 Miles)

Electrical Recertification Preparation Certificate of Performance

San Diego City College
San Diego (0.0 Miles)

Electrical Technology, A.A.S.

San Jacinto College District
Pasadena (0.0 Miles)

Basic Electrical Certificate

Pitt Community College
Winterville (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Adolfo Terrero
Meet Ambassador
Adolfo Terrero

Many new electricians are offered paid on-the-job training, alleviating the need to spend money on learning a trade. “The opportunity for people to start out in our trade is tremendous,” says Joe Strada, who runs an electrical services company. “It’s never too late to get started in this industry.”

Read Adolfo Terrero's success story.

Find Electrician Jobs in Your Area


Emergency Vehicle Tech w/ 12-volt electrical knowledge (Little Rock, AR)

Scott-McRae Automotive Group
Little Rock ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 7 months ago

Apprentice Electrician

Bart's Electric
West Jordan ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 years 10 months ago

Master Electrician

PAE Government Services Inc
Richmond ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 6 months 1 week ago

Solar Field Technician II

NextEra Energy, Inc
Desert Center ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 3 weeks ago

Electrician Specialist

Stanford University
Stanford ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 1 week ago


Fulton ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 4 weeks ago

Electrician (Team Lead/Journeyman)

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
Buena Park ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 2 weeks ago


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Toledo ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 2 weeks ago
Ask the Expert: John and Richard Wood
kitchen remodel with white cabinets and kitchen island
Ask the Expert: John and Richard Wood

John and Richard Wood are the owners of American Contracting Services. Their company in Chesapeake, Virginia, has experienced extraordinary growth over the years, so they do their part to help others make their way up the ladder.

When they find good subcontractors, they stick with them for the long haul.

"They become like family. It’s not just about the work anymore. We’re there when they go through stuff. If a guy’s truck breaks down, we get him a truck. The relationship is really where it starts," says Richard.

Their advice to anyone who wants to run their own general contracting firm?

"There is always a next step for you to take," says John. "Never be complacent."

Read more of their keys to success.