What Does an Electrician Do?
Electricians work with the electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems that help make homes, businesses, and factories run smoothly. The job requires many skills, including high technical knowledge and a strong work ethic. You should also be able to think creatively and solve problems in a timely manner.
They also need to be familiar with blueprints, which show technical diagrams of electrical systems. Electrician uses hand and power tools like conduit benders to run and protect wiring. Electricity is a vital part of our everyday lives but can also be dangerous. Electrical hazards can result in serious injuries and even death, so electricians must follow safety measures and procedures while on the job.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a number of safety standards to help protect employees exposed to electrocution, burns, fires, and explosions. OSHA’s electrical safety guidelines address the dangers of electricity in residential and commercial settings, helping to prevent accidents and keep people safe.
One of the most important things electricians can do to stay safe is to make sure that they are familiar with all the rules and regulations that govern electrical safety. By following these rules, electricians can reduce the likelihood of an accident and help keep themselves, their co-workers, and their clients safe.
First of all, ensure that any devices you are working on have a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI. These devices are designed to prevent electric shocks by quickly disconnecting from power sources when a fault is detected.
Another key safety measure for electricians is to lock out and tag out all circuits before beginning any work on them. This is a process that involves shutting off the circuit at the panel, then locking it out with a padlock. This ensures that no one can accidentally turn the circuit back on while you are working.
To further ensure your safety, be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves when you are handling conductive equipment, such as wires, wire brushes, and soldering irons. Keeping your hands dry and wearing insulated gloves will help to minimize the chances of an electrical shock.
Additionally, it is important to work in a well-ventilated room or place your electrical equipment above the floor so that condensation doesn’t build up and get inside. This can cause current to leak through the air, and it’s easy for an accident to occur.
As an electrician, you should always treat every device as if it were live. That means you should always lock out and tag out any devices that are energized, or you should never touch them if you are wet or perspiring. You should also avoid using tools with metallic handles, such as pencils or rulers, as these can conduct current if you have them in your hand while you are working on an electrical device.
Electricians are skilled tradespeople who install and maintain the electrical systems used to power lights, appliances, and other equipment in homes, businesses, and factories. They also repair and troubleshoot problems with electrical equipment and systems, such as circuit breakers, motors, and switches.
Many electricians receive on-the-job training through apprenticeship programs that can last four or five years, although some work as self-employed independent contractors. They also receive ongoing training to stay up-to-date with changes in the electrical code, safety practices, and how to handle specific products.
Workers also need good manual dexterity to lift heavy objects and stand, kneel, or stoop for long periods of time while working on job sites. They may also be exposed to dirt, dust, fumes, and inclement weather.
Because of the high risk of injury, electricians must follow strict safety guidelines. They often wear protective clothing and safety glasses while on the job to reduce the risk of cuts, burns, or shocks.
The work environment for an electrician can vary depending on his or her specialization, but it usually involves working indoors and outdoors at construction and industrial sites. It can be physically demanding, including climbing ladders and scaffolding.
Most electricians work full-time, with evening and weekend hours as needed. In addition, they are generally on call for emergencies to resolve urgent issues quickly.
They are often required to travel to multiple worksites, but they can establish a schedule that fits their needs. For example, some independent electricians work at one location for several days or weeks, then move to a new location when the job is complete.
Depending on the position, they may work indoors or outdoors in any kind of weather conditions. Some may work in enclosed spaces or at great heights, which exposes them to dust, chemicals, and temperature extremes.
The work environment for an electrician can be both challenging and rewarding, as they are involved in the design, installation, and maintenance of electrical systems. They are in demand, and employment is projected to increase 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
An electrician has a variety of skills and qualifications that make them a valuable member of the construction team. They are detail-oriented and can often perform complicated tasks in challenging environments. They also have strong manual dexterity, so they are comfortable climbing ladders or entering crawl spaces to carry out their work.
There are a number of ways to get training for an electrical career, including attending vocational, technical, or trade school and completing an apprenticeship program. Some of these programs are free, while others cost up to $30,000.
High school diplomas and a GED certificate are required for admission into any trade school or apprenticeship program. You can also take courses at community colleges or technical schools in addition to your apprenticeship.
The coursework in these programs is usually complemented by on-the-job training and mentorship from master electricians. During your apprenticeship, you’ll learn about the National Electric Code, workplace safety, and many other topics.
Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship and gained experience, it’s time to get licensed in your state. This will require you to pass an exam that tests your knowledge of the National Electrical Code and other skills. Most states require between 4,000 and 10,000 hours of apprentice experience before you can apply for licensing.
You’ll also need to complete classroom training, which can include 144 hours a year. You can find this through a trade school or through a union apprenticeship program.
Depending on the type of electrical work you want to do, you may need additional training. For example, some types of electrical installations, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, require additional certifications to ensure you have a complete understanding of their components.
The process of becoming a certified electrician will vary by organization, but most certifications are awarded through specific education courses and exams. These certifications don’t replace a license, but they can help you stand out in the competition.
There are a number of apprenticeships available, including those offered by Independent Electrical Contractors and Associated Builders and Contractors. You can also find apprenticeships through the Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees, which have locations throughout the country.
An Electrician’s salary can vary widely depending on the industry, level of education, and experience. It’s also possible to make more money by moving to a different company or taking on a higher-level role.
A career as an electrician can offer many benefits, including excellent pay and the potential for a long and satisfying career. However, it does take a lot of hard work to earn an acceptable salary.
Most electricians start their careers as apprentices. This involves classroom studies and on-the-job training under a certified electrician called a journeyperson. This is usually done over four to five years. Then, you must pass an exam to receive your license.
During your apprenticeship, you learn wiring, electrical applications, motors and controls, grounding and bonding, construction basics, maintenance, troubleshooting, and trade safety. You also need to understand the National Electrical Code and local codes.
As an electrician, you can expect to work indoors and outdoors, as well as in a variety of buildings. This job can be very physically demanding, especially if you’re working at heights, so it’s important to be in good health and have strong manual dexterity.
In addition to learning about the electrical systems in various buildings, you need to be able to read blueprints and technical documents that detail your tasks. This will help you to complete your assignments safely and efficiently.
You may work as a self-employed electrician, or you can work for an electrical contractor or building maintenance department. Some employers offer benefits like health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid vacations.
The average salary for an electrician is $59,190. This is higher than the average for all occupations, but it can vary significantly by state and area.
A career as an electrician can be rewarding and challenging, with the opportunity to work with a variety of people on projects large and small. This career is also unionized, so it offers some of the best protections and benefits for your family.
If you are considering a career as an electrician, it’s important to consider your personal goals and your unique skills. You should also explore the salary of other electricians in your area. This will give you an idea of how much your skills are worth and how to increase your own pay.