Electricians: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become an electrician.
- Training Required
- Most electricians learn their trade in a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program. For each year of the program, apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training as well as some classroom instruction.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 9% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Most states require electricians to pass a test and be licensed. Requirements vary by state. For more information, contact your local or state electrical licensing board. Many of the requirements can be found on the National Electrical Contractors Associations website.
- Median pay: How much do Electricians make?
- $52,720 Annual Salary
- $25.35 per hour
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.
What do Electricians do?
Electricians typically do the following:
- Read blueprints or technical diagrams
- Install and maintain wiring, control, and lighting systems
- Inspect electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers
- Identify electrical problems using a variety of testing devices
- Repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures using hand tools and power tools
- Follow state and local building regulations based on the National Electrical Code
- Direct and train workers to install, maintain, or repair electrical wiring or equipment
Almost every building has an electrical power, communications, lighting, and control system that is installed during construction and maintained after that. These systems power the lights, appliances, and equipment that make peoples lives and jobs easier and more comfortable.
Installing electrical systems in newly constructed buildings is often less complicated than maintaining equipment in existing buildings because electrical wiring is more easily accessible during construction. Maintaining equipment and systems involves identifying problems and repairing broken equipment that is sometimes difficult to reach. Maintenance work may include fixing or replacing parts, light fixtures, control systems, motors, and other types of electrical equipment.
Electricians read blueprints, which include technical diagrams of electrical systems that show the location of circuits, outlets, and other equipment. They use different types of hand and power tools, such as conduit benders, to run and protect wiring. Other commonly used hand and power tools include screwdrivers, wire strippers, drills, and saws. While troubleshooting, electricians also may use ammeters, voltmeters, thermal scanners, and cable testers to find problems and ensure that components are working properly.
Many electricians work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with others. For example, experienced electricians may work with building engineers and architects to help design electrical systems for new construction. Some electricians may also consult with other construction specialists, such as elevator installers and heating and air conditioning workers, to help install or maintain electrical or power systems. At larger companies, electricians are more likely to work as part of a crew; they may direct helpers and apprentices to complete jobs.
Careers for Electricians
- Apprentice electricians
- Chief electricians
- Construction electricians
- Control electricians
- Electrical maintenance workers
- Electrical sign wirers
- Electrician apprentices
- House wirers
- Inside electrician
- Inside wire installers
- Licensed electricians
- Lighting fixture installers
- Lineman electricians
- Maintenance electricians
- Marine electricians
- Master electricians
- Residential electricians
- Solar photovoltaic electricians
- Stage electricians
- Wire installers
- Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
- Construction and Building Inspectors
- Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians
- Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers
- Elevator Installers and Repairers
- Line Installers and Repairers
- Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers