Ways to become an Electrician
Being an electrician may not be for everyone, but if it something you think might suit you, it is a job choice well worth looking into. An electrician’s services are constantly in demand, so it can make for quite a lucrative career move ensuring that you will have job security, a steady above average income and a great future in your career field. If you are considering becoming an electrician, there are many things you should research including the necessary requirements as far as training goes, pay rates, benefits and more. This article will give you some information that you may want to review if you want to become an electrician.
What Type of Electrician Do You Want to Be?
Before enrolling in a course or apprenticeship to become an electrician, you need to think about what kind of electrician you want to be. These can be divided into three main branches.
Outside Linemen: These are electricians who work outside to repair high voltage distribution lines. This takes a highly specialized skill considering this sort of work can be very dangerous. Linemen must deal with extremely high voltages of power, sometimes in inclement weather.
Low Voltage Technicians: These electricians install audio, video, data, fiber optic and security cabling for low voltage requirements. Low voltage technicians will sometimes work alone in their own area of specialization, but more often will network with other electricians to make one efficient business model.
Inside Linemen: These electricians work in the construction field and take care of distributing electric power from the service drop to residential, commercial, manufacturing and various other industrial end users. Of the three, inside linemen are most typically thought of as ‘electricians’.
What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become an Electrician?
Before becoming a journeyman electrician, you are required to have around 180 hours of classroom instruction and four years of actual work experience out in the field as an apprentice. As far as classroom instruction goes, you need to find a trade school or online course that is accredited by the state you live in. Once the course is completed, you will need to find an apprenticeship. As an apprentice electrician, you begin earning money, but it will not be as much as that of a fully skilled electrician.
In order to secure an apprenticeship, it’s a good idea to talk to local electrical contractors and see if they are in need of work. It is important not to feel intimidated while doing this. Confidence is key, and remember, a reliable apprentice is valuable in the electrical field. It’s a good idea to try to contractors about prospective employment between the hours of 8 and 9 in the morning, before they have started their work days.
Once you complete your training and apprenticeship, you need to pass the state journeyman electrician test as well as provide proof of your job work time.
Benefits of Becoming an Electrician
Electricians have the highest paid positions in the construction field. Once you do become a fully licensed electrician, you can expect to make an average wage of $55,590 a year. The highest paid electricians can earn up to $88,130 while lower paying positions may earn $31,410. While apprenticing, you can expect to make 30% to 50% less than someone who is fully trained. Insurance and health benefits may vary according to who what company you are working for.
Other than earning a competitive wage, and getting paid, on the job training, there are many other benefits that you can gain if you want to become an electrician. One of these benefits is job security. Electricians are always in high demand and there is often a shortage of skilled and trained employees. This means it is easier to find and keep a position in the electrical field, especially if you are able to offer green services which are currently attractive to many customers.
Another benefit of being an electrician is that you have the option to join a union. You can join a company union or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which supports electricians all over North America. Unions help workers so that their jobs are even more secure and also offer salary protection. The union can also help you get a better caliber of jobs.
However, before deciding to join a union, you might want to see how active that union is in your area as far as securing work. If the union is not getting you much work, you won’t have the option to find another job if it is not acquired through the union. You do have the choice to move to a locality where the union is more active, but this may not be as simple as it sounds. The IBEW may be helpful in determining how active your local unions are.
Become an electrician and it can be very rewarding, both financially and mentally, if you take pride in completing a hard day of work. Be sure to consider what type of electrician you would like to be and research your options for training and apprenticeship before you begin your path. Working in the electrical service is not for everyone, but it can be a quite lucrative and enjoyable field for those who think they have what it takes.