A Day in the Life of an Electrician
Modern life wouldn’t be modern life without electricity. Electricity powers lighting, appliance systems, and computer networks. The people who install electrical systems and who make sure they remain operational are electricians. If a career working with electricity sounds appealing to you, learn more about what a day on the job looks like and what you need to do to get started.
Skills Electricians Use
On a daily basis, electricians use a wide range of skills on the job. Problem-solving ability is a critical skill to have as an electrician. During a typical day, you might be called to troubleshoot an issue a customer is having with an electrical device or appliance. To figure out what’s going on, you might need to run through a series of tests before diagnosing the issue and either fixing it or recommending replacement. Electricians are also critical thinkers who need to evaluate issues and consider a variety of possibilities when it comes to correcting them.
Most electricians spend their workdays on their feet or traveling from one location to the next. Some amount of physical strength and stamina is required, as the job often requires a lot of moving and lifting. Depending on the conditions, an electrician might need to climb up ladders or poles or lift heavy pieces of equipment.
Working as an electrician does require a person to interact with the public somewhat. You might need to explain the problem to a customer or answer questions people have. Having good customer service skills and a friendly demeanor will help on the job.
Since electrical wires are often color-coded, it’s essential that an electrician has good vision and that they can distinguish different colors from each other.
Where Electricians Work
Electricians can work either indoors or outdoors. Those who work outdoors are often lineworkers, who work on maintaining and repairing power lines. Their jobs might require them to climb electrical poles or to ride in lift buckets to the top of the pole. Lineworkers are also responsible for repairing and maintaining underground power lines.
Electricians who work indoors typically have the responsibility of maintaining, installing, or repairing electrical systems in a commercial or residential building. They might work on their own and be self-employed or work for a larger company that hires and sends out electricians to work on projects.
Whether a person works indoors or outdoors, the daily job of an electrician can be dangerous. If a person has to climb electrical poles or towers, there is the risk of falling from a height. Lineworkers might need to work outside when it’s very hot, very cold, or in other inclement weather conditions. Electricians who work indoors might need to squeeze into tight spaces or remain in an uncomfortable position for a long period.
What Electricians Do on the Job
What an electrician does on the job each day depends on the nature of the work. If they are working on new construction, they might need to read blueprints and ensure that the electrical system and wiring are installed correctly.
If they are called in to fix or diagnose a problem with a building’s electrical system, they are likely to use specialized tools to test the system and determine what’s wrong.
How to Become an Electrician
A common path to a career as an electrician is through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs often last for four years and provide you with an opportunity to earn a salary while training and learning the ropes.
You can also earn a career certificate in electricity. A career certificate program will cover topics that will prepare you for working in a residential or commercial setting. After earning a certificate, you can transfer to a two-year associate’s degree program or begin working in the field.
Salary of an Electrician
The median salary of an electrician was $56,180 in 2019. People working as electricians for the government or manufacturing tend to have a higher median salary compared to people working for electrical installation contractors. The median salary of a lineworker is $72,520 as of 2019.
Typically, electricians work full-time, 40-hour weeks. Because of the nature of the work they do, overtime is common, as is working evening or on weekends.
If you’d like to learn more about the career of an electrician or are interested in getting started on the path towards a career in electricity, Orange Technical College can help. Get in touch to learn more about our career certificate and apprenticeship programs today.
- Electricians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm
- Line Installers and Repairers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/line-installers-and-repairers.htm