Nearly every home and business uses electricity. Hence, electricians are always in demand. Plus, alternative energy generation like solar and wind may become more popular, requiring more electricians for installation services and linking these systems to power grids.
Electricians Fort Worth install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. They also inspect and test these systems to ensure compliance with safety codes. They must communicate well with other trade professionals and design engineers, as they may need to collaborate on complicated projects. They often work outdoors and indoors and may need to climb ladders or scaffolding to reach difficult-to-reach spaces.
After completing an apprenticeship, electricians may become journeyman or master electricians. Master electricians typically earn more money and have additional responsibilities like supervising apprentices and new hires. Both journeymen and master electricians must regularly update their skills through continuing education programs.
In addition to testing and maintaining electrical equipment, electricians must also troubleshoot problems with these systems. They use a variety of hand and power tools to fix these issues. They must have good color vision to identify wires and be able to think on their feet when solving technical problems.
Many electricians prefer this career because it offers them a varied and interesting job. They can work on various projects, from installing lighting and appliances to rewiring entire buildings or campuses. They can even work on projects in the mining or renewable energy industries.
A career as an electrician can also be a great choice for people who hate sitting at a desk all day. Electricians are on their feet all day and frequently lift objects that weigh up to 50 pounds. They also need to be able to stand for long periods and work at high elevations.
Another perk of this career is that it can be a great source of extra income for people who enjoy freelancing. They can sell their services to neighbors or friends who need help fixing a lamp or upgrading a water heater. This job requires strong communication skills, but making extra cash on the side can be very rewarding.
An individual interested in a career as an electrician must complete a vocational or trade school program and earn a certificate or diploma. The school program may also include a work internship that places the student with a licensed electrician or electrical contracting firm to obtain the experience necessary for licensure. This career path is a good option for individuals who want to enter the profession without incurring large amounts of debt typically associated with completing a bachelor’s degree program at a university.
On-the-job training allows students to learn practical skills and understand the profession’s basics, including safety requirements and electrical standards. The work is fast-paced and requires keen eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to use math and scientific principles to solve problems.
Some apprenticeship programs are available through local unions, such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and offer a way for aspiring electricians to obtain hands-on work experience. However, many apprenticeship opportunities are limited and highly competitive. Individuals who cannot secure an apprenticeship should consider a vocational or trade school program that can provide a jump start on the apprenticeship process or even allow apprenticeship credits to count toward an associate degree program.
Electricians must often obtain a bond and carry liability insurance to do their work. This is because they are responsible for following all building codes and ensuring that the installation or repair of items is done correctly. This is especially important in commercial or high-rise buildings where errors can be catastrophic for the occupants.
A career as an electrician is challenging because of the risks involved with electricity, but it can be very rewarding for individuals who enjoy a physically demanding and exciting job. The pay is good, and various specialties can be chosen, including working with power generation or transmission, green energy/solar, automation, manufacturing, mining, or energy supply industries. The field is always changing and expanding, and it’s a great choice for those interested in a long-term career.
There are several ways to prepare for a career as an electrician. Some attend a technical or trade school offering a certificate or associate degree in electrical technology or engineering. In contrast, others pursue an apprenticeship with a licensed master electrician. Apprenticeship programs typically require between 4,000 and 10,000 hours of work, which equals 2 to 5 years of paid on-the-job training. Regardless of how you complete your education and training, you must pass an exam to obtain a state license to practice as an electrician.
Exam details vary from state to state, but most require intensive study of the National Electrical Code, which is the set of rules and regulations that governs how electricians install, repair, and maintain electric systems. You may also be required to pass a practical exam, which tests your ability to handle tools and test circuits. Many electricians also earn certification in specialized fields such as hazardous materials handling, high-voltage cable splicing, and instrumentation. These additional qualifications can improve your job prospects and open up new opportunities to advance your career.
Even if you want to avoid specializing, earning specialty credentials can increase your value as an employee and help you compete with less-qualified candidates for jobs. For example, becoming certified as a solar or green electrician demonstrates that you have a broad knowledge of the field and can meet customers’ needs seeking more environmentally friendly solutions.
In addition to your professional qualifications, you’ll need the right insurance coverage to protect yourself from liability. In most cases, if you work as an employee for a contracting company, your employer will carry general and professional liability insurance and workers’ compensation. You may need liability insurance if you are self-employed or own a contracting business.
As an independent contractor, you’ll need to have general and professional liability, as well as personal property protection insurance. You may also need to obtain a construction liability policy to cover damage to buildings or other structures that you are working on.
The recession’s end and a resurgence in construction have made the job outlook for electricians very good. The demand for this skilled labor is expected to grow at least nine percent from 2016 to 2026, which is better than the average for all occupations. The increased number of devices, buildings, and vehicles that rely on electricity will require additional electricians to install and maintain these systems.
The emergence of alternative energy systems — particularly solar and wind technology — also creates excellent opportunities for electricians. They will be required to install these new technologies and link them to the power grids, although government policy will determine how large a share of this new employment growth will occur.
Licensed electricians are highly sought after, and their salaries reflect this fact. Even a starting apprentice can earn more than many debt-burdened college grads, with the top earners bringing in well over $50,000 annually. In addition, they can enjoy benefits such as health insurance and a robust retirement plan.
As the demand for electricians increases, some states have more jobs available than others. The states have the most openings for this occupation, but other areas are also growing quickly. For example, the need for electricians to work on the electrical infrastructure of highways and roadways creates great opportunities.
Some electricians specialize in certain areas of the industry, such as commercial and industrial systems or residential services. These workers can often advance to journeyman and master electrician positions, increasing their salary and benefit options.
The pay for electricians varies by state, but it generally is higher in the metro areas of large cities. However, the cost of living and the costs associated with obtaining a license to practice in this field can make a big difference in what an electrician will earn.
To attract qualified electricians, businesses can help with scholarships and apprenticeships. They can also team up with trade or vocational schools to provide educational and training opportunities for students.