I had the chance the other day to interview an electrician who has been in the field for a number of years so I thought that I would put it up here as a kind of question and answer session. Sort of an “how do i get a job as an electrician?” and “what do i need to know”.
What does it take to be an electrician?
Well you will have to be able to work with your hands; it is a hands on field, good hand eye coordination that type of thing. Good color vision because of all of the color coding in the industry. Be physically able to do the work though it’s not really too strenuous. And of course be able to finish the training and pass the journeyman electrician training tests. Also you have to be at least 18 a high school grad or GED and a year of high school algebra, to get into the apprenticeship program.
Where can you get electrician training?
There are a lot of good electrician training courses out there that will answer the question “What does an electrician need to know?”, and they will teach you about electrical theory, circuits, and troubleshooting, that kind of stuff. But you will still have to get some hands on training somewhere, like on a job site, that’s why most electricians start out in an apprenticeship program. As an apprentice you will get about 8000 hrs of on the job training and about 600 hrs of class room study, of course if you really get interested you will probably do a lot more studying on your own just to keep up with the things you want to know.
What are the different areas, do all electricians do the same type of work?
The basic electrical theory will be the same, and we all need some trouble shooting skills,but the work and the environment can be quite different depending upon which area that you are working in.
In the construction area the work will be mostly pulling in cable, and then depending on the type of construction, installing cabinets, electrical boxes, terminating all of the receptacles and switches, and breaker panels that kind of stuff. Maybe hooking up the machinery if it’s a factory.
In the industrial area there are usually some installation jobs when new machines are put in or moved, but mostly you will be troubleshooting the machines when something isn’t working like it should. With most of the new machinery being computer controlled it can really get to be a complicated process.
A residential electrician is one who you would call if you were having an electrical problem at home. He would troubleshoot the in home problems like blown breakers or wiring problems, or if you needed a circuit added or an appliance hooked up, that kind of thing
Is this a good paying career, What is an Electricians salary?
Yes I would say that it pays pretty well usually the apprentice makes about $15 to $20 per hr to start out and of course it goes up from there, a journeyman salary runs about $25 to $35 pr hr. If you then go ahead and get your master license or contractors license then it just keeps climbing up from there. I would say that in this trade, or actually most apprenticable trades, someone with only a high school diploma can go on to make as much as a lot of collage grads make.
What are the future prospects in this field?
I would think that the future for electricians in this field looks very good, especially for some one that is not afraid to take off in a new direction and get away from the old wood burners, as it were. There will be an increase in the number of electricians needed in the future just to maintain what we already have built. Not counting the new construction, and if new construction falls off, there will still be a lot of jobs there for electricians, the expansion just will not be there. It will however be made up in other areas. With every one looking at renewable energy the need for green electrician training will increase, whether that is solar electrician training or electricians for wind power generators, the future for electrician jobs is looking pretty good.