Electricians perform an important job that can sometimes be dangerous, and their responsibilities can range. What exactly does an electrician do? Read on to find out.
What an Electrician Does
Electricians have to understand each building before they begin work on the wires and equipment within it. Each structure has a different layout, so an electrician has to read blueprints and learn where everything is before repairing, installing, or replacing circuits and fuses, or even before doing general system upgrades.
For crucial safety reasons, an electrician needs to understand the flow of currents within a building. You'll likely be responsible for setting up additional precautions to avoid fires or dangerous shocks to anyone in the building. You will climb ladders, travel to job-sites, and work in sometimes harsh conditions both indoors and out. You may work with generators, motors, switches, and other electrical devices.
List of Common Required Skills to Get a Job as an Electrician
- Run and bend conduit
- Perform work in new and existing buildings
- Read blueprints
- Understand National Electrical Code
- Understand safety practices
- Understand basic OSHA standards
- Work well with other trade contractors
- Be a creative thinker and problem solver
Electricians should be confident in themselves, good with their hands, and excellent at performing complex analysis on their own. To be an electrician, you should have great balance without fearing heights. Whether it's a single family home or a 50-story building, you need to work with the proper tools and think on your feet to complete the job.
If you want to be an electrician, then a large part of your role is to adhere to safety regulations. A skilled worker can spot frayed, old wires from a mile away and replace them, which can help prevent fires and save lives.
You also ensure that people have heat and light at any hour of the day. You might help turn cities into twinkling light displays during the holidays. Or maybe your satisfaction lies in knowing that because of your work, a family can gather in their living room to watch TV together at the end of the day.
Experience & Continuing Education
Generally, you need to be licensed in most states. Complete a certification class at your local community college to learn the trade. Electricians also go through an apprenticeship program that lasts about four years. This lets you work alongside an experienced professional - a master electrician. You will also be paid during this time period.
If you want to be a master electrician, then you'll need to have about seven years worth of experience. You'll also be expected to keep up with your studies and absorb any changes to the National Electric Code. This may require more classes to understand how new technology is changing the field. With more and more wireless connectivity, it helps to stay on top of how the digital and physical worlds are working together to continue to shape our society.
Electrical Trade Schools
A great place to start learning how to become an electrician is at a trade school near you.
The courses are set up to teach you what you need to know to get started, as well as prepare you for your apprenticeship and help you earn your license.