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How & Why: Pursuing A Career As An Electrician

electrician at work

Electricians work on the installation and maintenance of electrical power, communications or lighting for both companies and homes. Working as an electrician includes duties such as installing and maintaining wiring systems; testing devices, determining electrical problems; and replacing equipment or fixtures. Electricians use a variety of power tools and hand tools to complete these jobs. They must adhere to building regulations and most importantly, the National Electric Code. As an electrician, you must be able to follow technical diagrams and blueprints.

electrician at work

What are the benefits?

There are plenty of benefits to pursuing a career as an electrician, firstly the role is a fascinating one, those who enjoy technical and science-based topics will certainly find an outlet for their passion here. Next up, electricians have consistent job security, because services such as theirs will always be in demand. There’s also every opportunity to use the skills to start your own company and gain the freedom of self-employment. Electricians earn a nice salary too, according to Money News USA the median salary for electricians is $55,190. Those considering the career path, have a few options in terms of entry routes. The minimum requirements to begin training are obtaining a high school diploma; from here, candidates are free to pursue various training options.


There are a number of electrician apprenticeship programs available, offered by the government, electrician trade unions, or external service providers. An apprenticeship program takes approximately four or five years to complete. The idea is that candidates learn on the job, starting with simple electrical tasks and increasing the difficulty gradually. These training routes do not involve much classroom-based learning; nearly all learning is practical under the guidance of a qualified electrician. Apprenticeships are beneficial to get plenty of hands-on practice and encounter the real-life projects that you’ll face on the job. These programs usually require around 140 hours of classroom study and up to 2,000 hours of practical training. Every candidate seeking to qualify as an electrician must complete an apprenticeship program. Some candidates choose to take an educational course prior to this, as discussed below. 

Associate degree 

There are plenty of associate degrees available in electrical studies or the equivalent. This is a two-year degree which provides candidates with knowledge of electrical work via both theory and practical assignments. Many apprenticeships will accept associate degrees as credit towards the apprenticeship program. Completing an associate degree can be useful to determine if the profession is right for you or not. On an associate degree, candidates can complete the classroom study, which is also required by an apprenticeship program. Due to this, associate degree candidates can give themselves a nice head start. One of the key benefits is that you’ll enter your apprenticeship with existing knowledge of the work, plus you’ll be learning whilst you pursue acceptance onto the right program. Another advantage is that many associate degrees are available as applied degrees, meaning that students are prepared to begin working right after graduation. You may prefer to pursue an apprenticeship right away, which is a quicker route to becoming qualified electrician.

Electrician Certificate 

Another pre-apprenticeship option is studying for an Electrician Certificate. These programs are shorter than an associate degree, taking just one year to complete. Such courses are created to prep students for the apprenticeship route. You may also be able to take credits from these certificates to put towards your apprenticeship. When you are researching courses, be sure to check that the programs are up to date with the National Electric Code. The NEC is a series of standards which ensures the safe installation of electrical systems and wiring in the USA. Topics studied on a certificate include common electrical components; study of residential and commercial systems; safe installation techniques; configuring wiring for the household; creating large electrical systems and use of the electrical code. Studying for a certificate allows candidates to begin their apprenticeship with confidence and ease.

Electricians License

After completing an apprenticeship, candidates are eligible to complete a test to obtain an electrician’s license. On passing the test, electricians may take on work in a variety of settings, whether industrial, commercial or residential. You can choose whether to work independently or as part of a firm. To advance further in your career, there is also a higher level to be accessed known as a ‘Master Electrician’s License’. Obtaining one of these licenses will enable you to charge more for your services or have the option of starting your own company. If a practical trade and being your own boss sounds good to you, an advanced electrician’s role could be your dream job! Self-employment can increase your levels of freedom and job satisfaction, plus allow you to pass on your wisdom to less-experienced workers.

Choosing a provider 

When you are choosing a provider to complete your apprenticeship with, it’s essential to do thorough research. Not all training providers offer the same quality, and you’ll want to make sure that you choose the best program possible. Look for a provider with great experience and expertise, offering a program which can give you a competitive edge. Check the components that the program will entail, and decide if you are looking to specialise in a particular type of electricians work. Write down all of your burning questions so that you can discuss the program in detail when you speak with your training provider. For a top-quality training route, be sure to take a look at

Above all, when you choose to pursue a career, it’s important to be sure that you will gain long-term job satisfaction. Getting on the wrong career path only slows you down when you have to change your plans later down the line. For further advice, it can be useful to invest in a careers advisor to discuss your goals and options. Besides this, some find it useful to keep a career journal, to write down their research, goals and long-term plans.

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