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.
- 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
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