Electrician: Educational Requirements and Career Profile

Electricians require some formal education. Learn more about the education requirements, licensing requirements and job duties to find out if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Electricians help bring power to residences, commercial areas and industrial complexes by installing and fixing electrical wiring and components. Electricians might specialize in construction or repair, though they often perform both functions. Electricians usually go through an apprenticeship.

Required EducationHigh school diploma or equivalent
Required TrainingApprenticeship
Other RequirementsState licensing
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*20%
Average Salary (2013)*$53,560

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Electricians usually gain career training through an apprenticeship program. Some electricians begin the training process by attending a classroom-based vocational program or serving as an electrician's helper; however, these electricians often go on to complete apprenticeships.

Candidates who hold a high school diploma or the equivalent might apply to become apprentices through various unions, such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers or the National Electrical Contractors Association. Completion of these four-year programs allows apprentices to become journeymen and work on both construction and repair projects.

Apprenticeship Training

Apprentices receive approximately 600 hours of in-class instruction on safety principles, electrical circuits and blueprint reading. Aside from learning in the classroom, apprentices receive on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced electricians. Apprentices might practice wiring outlets and soldering electrical components.

Career Profile

Electricians might work for utility companies, construction firms or service providers. Electricians in different industries have varying job duties. For example, maintenance electricians working for factories might be required to service and repair assembly lines, while construction electricians who work on remodeling homes might need to install switches and rewire lighting.

Licensing Requirements

Electricians in most states must be licensed by their respective state board. Licensing requirements generally include completing a qualifying test on electrical applications and building codes. The BLS notes that self-employed electricians working as contractors might need to earn a separate contractor's license and complete a bachelor's degree program in electrical engineering or a related field.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS stated that opportunities for electricians were expected to increase by 20% between 2012 and 2022. The bureau also noted that employment is very sensitive to economic swings, so electricians might find themselves unemployed when the number of construction projects decreases.

In May 2013, the BLS reported that the average annual wage for electricians was $53,560. Electricians in the 90th percentile or higher earned $83,860 or more per year, whereas the bottom tenth percentile earned $30,660 or less per year.

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