Electrician Job Overview
Electricians and electronics installers and repairers install and maintain wiring, equipment and fixtures at residential, commercial and industrial sites.
Basic electrician work can be as simple as wiring electrical outlets in a house, or as complex as setting up programmable logic controllers to control sophisticated equipment in billion-dollar power plants or factories.
Electrician employment requires a variety of specific trade skills and a firm command of the sometimes complex logic of electrical circuitry and electronics wiring. Troubleshooting is a key skill for the trade. Electricians typically work in conjunction with other skilled trades workers or technicians.
Electrician jobs can entail safety hazards ranging from electric shock to injuries sustained in falls, on construction sites and in manufacturing environments.
Electricians are nearly always required to have a high school diploma or GED.
Most electricians learn the trade in an apprenticeship program. Each of the four years of the apprenticeship includes a minimum of 144 hours of technical training plus full-time on-the-job training. Most states require electricians to be licensed.
States often require seven years of experience plus additional education for the master electrician designation.
Electrician Job Market
Electricians held 577,000 jobs in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Electrician employment opportunities are projected to grow 23 percent by 2020, faster than the average occupation. Workers classified as electrical and electronics installers and repairers held an additional 141,100 jobs.
Median wages for electricians were $49,320 in 2011, according to BLS. The top 10 percent earned $82,680. Electrical and electronics repairers in powerhouses, substations and relays earned median salaries of $67,450.