How do I know if I would make a good electrician?

So you think that you might want to have a career as an electrician, but you are just not sure and are looking for further information – you have come to the right place.

I. What Do Electricians Do

Electricians are in the category of work that involves skilled tradespeople and they set up, repair and upgrade electrical systems in residential or commercials and set up and repair outside lines, especially after storms. Without this type of tradespeople most of our modern conveniences would not be available.

Be aware though that there are differences between electricians and electrical engineers and you should know which one you want to follow. One doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.

II. Proper Education

Since this type of work can be extremely dangerous, it is important that you get a proper education to work in this industry. In some cases that would be a trade or vocation school that could be as long as getting college degrees, but both paths of education pay off very well in salaries. A good electrician at the top of his career can make as much as his counterpart who worked for the college degree.

III. Extremely Dangerous

Because working with electricity is extremely dangerous, you must get a proper education in order to work in this field. This can take just as long as obtaining college degrees, or less depending on the state, but it will probably pay off in terms of salary.

IV. Traits That Make Good Electricians

Those individuals who make good electricians are those who like to work in many different environments. They are certainly not people who like to be stuck in an office all day – not a “desk” person. Actually they are rather unique individuals with a combination of personalities.

They need to:

  • Be able to work on their own
  • Be detail oriented
  • Be diligent about getting things done correctly
  • Ability to work with a large team of different trade contractors
  • Physically fit – often you will need to carry loads that are heavy
  • Ability to effectively communicate
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They need to be able to get things right, as this is a very dangerous work environment. There are a multitude of aspects that are awfully dangerous to lose concentration over. This damage can come from:

  • Materials that you are working with
  • The environment that you are working in
  • Losing concentration
  • Physical interference
  • Random natural act such as inclement weather

V. Education

The United States has laws that normally require all electricians go into this field by completing a program. These programs consist of both in-class education and hands-on training.

Typical Path

In the US, electricians normally enter this vocation through an apprenticeship program. This program includes part of their training being hands-on and the other part being in-class work. But, some electricians also get their education through a vocational school program, or the military.

Hands-On Work

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics describes that in the first part of your electrician education, your work needs to be limited to non-electrical tasks on the work site, such as bringing in materials. From there the student progresses to duties such as drilling holes. Only then are they able to manage basic electrical responsibilities, such as measuring and testing wiring and conduit. This is the point where all of the work the student does will need to be supervised by a licensed electrician.

If you are in an apprentice program, you must have the minimum of 2,000 hands-on hours.

In-Class Work

In-class work for a studying electrician, covers classes with topics being reading about schematics, electrical and building codes, math and electrical theory. You also might learn about contractor law and first aid and safety. The student is expected to complete a minimum of 144 hours of in-class work in apprenticeship programs.

*Please note, the above might be slightly different from state to state. They should serve as general guidelines.

VI. Testing and Getting a License

In the majority of states, you will not be able to practice as a legal electrician without a license. This means that you need to take an exam for certification given by the state or county you are in.

You will need to take a certification exam given by your state. If you do well with hands-on-work and in-class work, the test should not be hard for you to pass and is simply a technical requirement.

VII. Continuing Education

Since the technology that is related to electricity and houses over time changes, you need to continue to take courses related to electricity and evolve as an electrician throughout the rest of your career. However, this is not mandatory for all states.

VIII. High School Diploma

While college is not needed to become an electrician, all apprenticeships require that you have a high school diploma or have a GED.

IX. Conclusion

This is an overview of the requirements to becoming an electrician and here is an excellent article on education requirements.

Also here is an article on reasons to become an electrician that you might find extremely interesting: The Top 5 Benefits of Being an Electrician. This article might help you with your decision on being an electrician.