More than 519,000 people across the country work as electricians. The duties of this important job include working with wiring and electrical systems to make sure they are working safely and properly. The job also includes working on public projects, such as installing and repairing streetlights, fixing industrial intercom systems and working on commercial buildings to make sure the electrical work is done according to local and national safety codes.
Electricians can specialize in a specific area, such as working with motion picture or television studios to provide the lighting, or working in industrial settings. Those with experience in management can also work as electrical contractors, who oversee electricians on the construction job site. Electrical engineers design electrical layouts for buildings.
Electrician Job Education Requirements
An electrician at journeyman status must complete a program that lasts about four years. This program will include detailed safety information about working with live wires, along with training on how to correctly wire a variety of different fixtures and equipment. The programs usually require at least a high school diploma, and entrants must be at least 18 years old. Technical schools may also offer electrician programs, although these don't include an apprenticeship, so they won't provide as much hands-on training.
Electrician Job Market
According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrician jobs will grow by almost 20 percent by 2022, which will add more than 224,000 openings. Since there are many buildings around the country that have outdated electrical systems and wiring, these will need rewiring services to meet new codes. As energy sources continue to transition, electricians play a vital role in transferring the energy to a switch and plug that people can use in their homes and businesses. Electricians may also want to go into more specialized and related roles like cable supervisor.
Electrician Job Salary Information
The median wage for electricians in the United States was $49,480 in 2012. Those in the highest range of pay made around $80,000 per year, while the lower end was closer to $30,000. Those who earn the most income usually work for motion picture studios and natural gas plants, where the work requires more physical labor and longer hours. Electricians working in bigger cities earn higher wages, as well those working in remote areas, such as cities in Alaska.
Those who specialize in a specific area of electrical work can usually earn more money as well. Electrician apprentices usually earn about 30-50 percent less than a fully trained electrician.