In any building or outdoor space where electricity is used, electricians are needed to install and maintain it.
That's why the demand for skilled electricians grows every year.
It's not a career for everyone — it requires a lot of training, is physically demanding, and can even be dangerous.
But it's one of the highest-paid trades, and it offers great job security. Plus, many electricians enjoy the opportunity to be their own boss.
Read on to learn more about what it's like to be an electrician and how you can become one.
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring and components. They work in all settings where electricity is used — from homes to construction sites to oil rigs.
Electricians are often self-employed. Others work for electrician businesses or in maintenance positions.
Electrician duties include installing, inspecting, and maintaining electrical components, wiring, machines, lighting, control systems, and more.
As an electrician, you have to be comfortable working with a variety of hand tools, power tools, and testing devices and be knowledgeable about how to follow safety procedures when dealing with electricity.
You also need excellent problem-solving skills. A lot of the work of an electrician involves troubleshooting electrical problems and coming up with solutions.
Some electricians are involved with planning electrical systems for new buildings. They’re required to be able to read and understand electrical blueprints and schematics.
Finally, electricians have to stay up-to-date and follow state and local building regulations and the national electrical code.
Electricians work in all sorts of settings. Most specialize in a particular type of electrical work.
Some types of electrician jobs are available to any electrician, while others require specific training and certification. For example, marine electricians typically train at schools of seamanship or other specialized trade schools.
Electrician specializations include:
Residential electrician: Comes to people’s homes to do electrical work.
Commercial electrician: Works in commercial buildings like offices.
Auto electrician: Maintains and repairs the electrical systems in cars.
Marine electrician: Installs and repairs electrical systems in ships and shipyards.
Oil rig electrician: Works on oil rigs. These are the highest-paid specialists.
Substation electrician: Maintains circuit breakers, transformers, and voltage regulators associated with an electrical substation.
Highway electrician: Installs, maintains, and repairs the electrical infrastructure on roadways.
The specific requirements to become an electrician vary by state, but the typical career path is fairly similar everywhere. To start training as an electrician, you need a high school diploma or GED.
The next step is getting on-the-job training as an apprentice. Some people go to a trade school before or during the apprenticeship, but it’s not always necessary. If you do attend school, you may get credit for your apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships tend to be offered by local electrician unions and professional organizations. An electrician apprentice works closely with a master electrician, assisting them with tasks and learning as they work.
In most states, you’ll take a test at the end of your apprenticeship to become a journeyman electrician.
As a journeyman, you no longer require supervision and can work for yourself. However, you can’t employ or train other electricians. For that, you need to be a master electrician.
After about two years as a journeyman, you can become a master electrician. Depending on the state you’re in, you may have to complete more training. In most states, you’ll take another exam.
Master electricians can hire and train other electricians. They’re usually the ones who do advanced work like planning the electrical systems for a new building.
Pay varies by location, with California, Texas, and Florida being some of the states with the highest-paid electricians.
As long as we use electricity, we’ll need electricians.
Alternative energy sources like wind and solar are becoming more popular, and electricians will increasingly be needed to connect those alternative power systems to homes and power grids.
Consequently, the job outlook is excellent, with the employment of electricians projected to grow 8% by 2029.
Landing your dream electrician job requires the perfect resume.
Every electrician job is different, and you should tailor your resume to the specific position you’re applying for. Look through the job ad for the required and desired skills and include those exact words if they’re relevant to you.
Focus on your technical capabilities, but mention soft skills, too. Electricians need strong communication and problem-solving abilities.
Make sure to include your licensing, certification, and educational credentials. You can put these things in their own section called “Education” or “Certifications.”
Don’t go crazy with the format and font — keep it simple. List your previous work experience in reverse chronological order with three to five bullet points describing what you did at each job.
The number of jobs for electricians is growing every year — your perfect position is out there. You might even find it here at Jobcase.
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If you’re a mechanically-minded problem-solver looking for a well-paying career, electrical work might be just the thing for you.
The demand for electricians is high, but the best jobs are still competitive. Learn more about how to get your dream job at the Jobcase Getting Hired Resource Center.