Be a Maintenance Electrician: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a maintenance electrician. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to start a career in electrical maintenance.

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  • 0:01 Should I Become a…
  • 0:35 Career Requirements
  • 1:26 Complete an Apprenticeship
  • 2:24 Advance with…

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Should I Become a Maintenance Electrician?

Maintenance electricians repair electrical equipment in a variety of settings, from industrial complexes to homes. Maintenance electricians use testing devices to discover problems with wiring, fixtures, or other electrical equipment. They replace or repair the defective elements using various types of hand or power tools. They could work on their own or as members of a team. Electricians may be exposed to shocks and burns and must wear protective gear to prevent injury.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None required; certificate or associate's degree generally preferred
Experience Required experience gained through apprenticeships
Licensure and Certification State licensing is required; rules vary by state
Key Skills Critical thinking and troubleshooting skills; customer service skills; knowledge of electrical systems, electrical codes, and safety regulations; color vision is necessary to distinguish between different-colored wires
Salary (2015) $51,880 per year (for all electricians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May, 2015)

Complete an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship programs combine classroom learning with significant hands-on training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, apprentices typically complete 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Apprentices start by performing basic tasks under the supervision of a professional electrician and are given additional responsibilities as they advance through a program. Apprenticeship opportunities can be found through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Most states require professional electricians to obtain licensing before they can operate. Requirements vary from state-to-state, and prospective electricians should contact the Department of Labor in their home state to learn more. Typically, licensure requires a passing score on an exam, demonstrating work experience, and completing an application.

Advance with Continuing Education

Continuing education is an important part of an electrician's career. Electricians must keep abreast of changes to the National Electric Code. They must also stay on top of new electrical and energy systems as they become more widespread through trends like the green economy. Some states require a certain number of continuing education hours for license renewal. Similar to initial licensure requirements, these also vary by state and are subject to change.

To recap, aspiring maintenance electricians are required to gain experience in their field, typically through an apprenticeship program. Earning state licensure is also required.

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