Electrical Contractor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an electrical contractor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about apprenticeship programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Electrical contractors, commonly known as electricians, install and maintain wiring and electrical devices in a wide variety of settings. Prospective electrical contractors normally complete several years of apprenticeship training and acquire a license prior to starting a career.

Required Education Completion of apprenticeship program standard requirement
Other Requirements Licensure requirements vary by state
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 20% for all electricians
Mean Salary (2013)* $53,560 for all electricians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for an Electrical Contractor

Electrical contractors are responsible for the installation and maintenance of electrical systems, including wiring, breaker boxes, switches and other machinery in a variety of settings. Electrical contractors may work in a residential, commercial or industrial setting, with widely varying hours and working conditions, depending on the employer and their specific job description. Electrical contractors may focus on either construction or maintenance in their work, though some contractors may do both.

Job Duties for an Electrical Contractor

Electrical contractors may complete many different tasks, in areas that include customer service and administrative work, maintenance, and installation. Customer service and administrative work often includes contacting customers, scheduling appointments and completing regulatory requirements, such as taxes or permit applications. Maintenance duties include inspecting electrical equipment, replacing worn parts and repairing complex devices. Construction duties include bending conduit, lifting heavy objects, stringing wire and using power tools.

Education and Career Requirements for an Electrical Contractor

Aspiring electrical contractors are commonly trained through an apprenticeship program in electrical work which can be completed in four years. Apprenticeship programs normally include a minimum of 144 hours in the classroom and at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year. Common subjects that electricians study during their classroom education include blueprints, math, electrical theory, work safety and the National Electrical Code.

All states have licensing requirements for electricians, though requirements vary by state. State licensure processes may include demonstrating knowledge of codes and regulations and passing an examination. Some states may require electrical contractors to acquire a master electrician's license before they can work. To become a master electrician, electrical contractors generally fulfill experience requirements determined by the state and pass an exam.

Career Outlook and Salary Info for an Electrical Contractor

Jobs for electricians are anticipated to grow 20% from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This above-average job growth will be partly due to residential and commercial structures requiring more wiring than in previous years. Electricians, on average, made $53,560 annually in 2013, per BLS figures.

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