Table of Contents Hide
- Who Is an Electrician?
- How to Become an Electrician
- #1. Earn a High School Diploma or the Equivalent
- #2. Consider Attending a Trade or Vocational-Technical School
- #3. Apply for an Apprenticeship
- #4. Register as an Electrician Apprentice
- #5. Get Licensed or Certified
- Skills for an Electrician
- #1. Ability to Think Critically
- #2. Capacity for Long-Term Physical Exertion
- #3. Communication
- #4. Manual Acuit
- #5. Eye-Hand Coordination
- Work Environment For An Electrician
- Salary of an Electrician
- Electrician Tools
- Electrician Contract
- How to Write an Electrician Contract
- #1. Specify Both Parties
- #2. Identify the Scope of the Project
- #3. Define Specifications and Location
- #4. Include Information Regarding Payments
- #5. Set Completion Deadlines
- #6. Outline the Electrician’s Duties
- #7. Outline the Client’s Duties
- #8. Identify Exclusions
- #9. Include Information about Liability for Losses or Damage
- #10. Describe Termination Terms
- #11. Include a Signature Section
- How Do You Get an Electrician’s License?
- How Hard Is It to Become an Electrician?
- Becoming an Electrical Contractor
- Final Thoughts
- Related Articles
Electricians provide a crucial skill set that is required for modern living to run well. Due to the high level of technical expertise and inherent danger in this line of work, tight qualifications and thorough training are essential. This article explains the salary, tools to use, and how to become an electrician. We also added steps you need to take to write a perfect electrician contract. Enjoy the ride!
Who Is an Electrician?
An electrician is a trained professional who works with electricity in a variety of settings, including private residences, commercial and industrial buildings, and utility infrastructure. Electricians are responsible for the safe and reliable operation of electrical systems, including lighting, machinery, and household appliances. There are various sub-fields within the electrical industry, such as residential electricians who work on residential wiring and commercial electricians who work on control systems, motors, and electrical equipment in commercial and industrial buildings. One of these three categories can be assigned to an electrician depending on their qualifications and license:
#1. Journeyman Electrician
A “journeyman” electrician is an entry-level position. After completing an apprenticeship, an electrician can obtain their license as a journeyman. A journeyman is capable of working alone but is not qualified to supervise a construction site, train apprentices, or get electrical work permits.
#2. Master Electrician
After gaining around two years of experience, a journeyman electrician can seek to become a master electrician. State-specific regulations differ, but most often candidates must pass a test to be licensed. A master electrician has the ability to supervise projects, instruct apprentices, and manage electrical teams.
#3. Independent Electrical Contractor
In essence, electrical contractors run their own little businesses. In order to get work done, they will hire teams of electricians. That’s why it’s important for electrical contractors to carry specific types of insurance and use master electricians.
How to Become an Electrician
The following are ways to become an electrician:
#1. Earn a High School Diploma or the Equivalent
You must have a high school diploma or the equivalent before pursuing a profession as an electrician. Electricians use a lot of academic concepts on a daily basis, even though the majority of their work depends on industry-specific expertise. Courses in the following academic disciplines will help prepare you for this field:
- Algebra and trigonometry: The ability to measure angles, calculate current strengths, and identify wire lengths are all examples of the mathematical skills essential to the work of an electrician.
- Physics: Electricians can’t do their jobs well without a firm grasp of elementary scientific principles.
- English: Technicians will frequently need to read technical materials in their line of work.
- Instruction in the Use of Machines and Tools: The design of electrical systems for buildings and other structures can be taught to electricians using these as well.
#2. Consider Attending a Trade or Vocational-Technical School
This is a step that is becoming increasingly important if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition. Learning the basics of electrical work is frequently easier when you are not yet working as an apprentice and have to worry about satisfying your boss. A more comfortable introduction to this trade is provided through electrician programs in trade schools, technical institutes, and career colleges. They can aid in the development of your fundamental skills.
You will be able to learn about the National Electric Code, workplace safety, electrical theory, and many other things that can give you an edge over other candidates who might apply for the same apprenticeships. Even practical training and regular in-class instruction are a part of the majority of trade school curricula. By doing so, you’ll be prepared to move forward with confidence.
#3. Apply for an Apprenticeship
To become a certified electrician, you must complete an apprenticeship program even if you also enroll in a trade school. There are a number of ways to find an apprenticeship, such as:
- Through a trade school: Opportunities for apprenticeship and employment placement are frequently provided by trade schools.
- Through a union: The JATC, or Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees, has chapters in virtually every major city in the United States. The JATC will help you find a job with a unionized company in your area, and they will probably also provide a facility for you to take the necessary technical classes or labs. However, you should know that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) membership requirement is a prerequisite for entering into an apprenticeship program.
- Through a non-union: Apprentices should consider the pros and cons of union membership before making any final decisions. The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) are the two main groups that help apprentices find work with non-union electrical contractors. Both of these groups can be found in the majority of major metropolitan areas.
You might have to take a test of your mathematical and reading comprehension skills if you want to become an apprentice. You will also have to pass a physical examination and a drug test in addition to an interview.
#4. Register as an Electrician Apprentice
Most of what you need to know to become a licensed electrician can be learned during your apprenticeship. It includes classroom study, practical application, and guidance from an experienced electrician. In most states, you need four years of apprenticeship experience before you can take the exam. During an apprenticeship, you’ll learn things like:
- Deciphering technical diagrams and construction blueprints for electrical plans
- Installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical wiring and electricity-distribution equipment
- Ensuring that all work is done in compliance with national, state, and local regulations
- Using special devices to test and inspect electrical systems for issues
#5. Get Licensed or Certified
Knowing that each state has its own requirements in order to become a certified electrician is crucial. A valid electrician’s license is required in the majority of states. Electricians aren’t required to be licensed on a statewide basis in any of the United States fifty states, although local governments in places like Illinois and Pennsylvania do.
Contacting your state and the localities you intend to work in is therefore crucial. You should inquire as to whether or not electrical work requires a certificate. When working as an employee of an electrical contractor, you could occasionally need a license. Sometimes a license isn’t required unless you intend to start your own electrical contracting company.
To earn an electrical contractor’s license in a jurisdiction that requires one, you may need to demonstrate knowledge of not only the National Electric Code, but also a variety of electrical ideas, safety procedures, and local laws and building rules. You will likely also be required to show that you have received adequate training as an electrician in a classroom setting and through on-the-job mentoring from a master or journeyman electrician.
Getting registered as an electrical apprentice is a prerequisite to working as an apprentice in several states including California and Texas. Since all that is required is filling out a form and sometimes paying a little charge, it is usually a simple procedure. However, you should verify this information with your state’s licensing, labor, or consumer affairs office as these may have different standards.
Skills for an Electrician
In order to do their jobs effectively and safely, electricians require a unique set of skills.
#1. Ability to Think Critically
Ohmmeters, voltmeters, and ammeters, among other specialist instruments, are used by electricians to test and troubleshoot equipment. The ability to think critically is necessary for analyzing test findings and identifying electrical issues.
#2. Capacity for Long-Term Physical Exertion
Repairing electrical components including fuses, circuit breakers, wires, and cables can be a strenuous job. Working with electrical machinery and appliances requires strength and endurance from electricians.
Electricians must communicate with clients, assistants, and outside contractors. They need to be able to articulate issues, give specific instructions, and work together effectively in a business setting.
#4. Manual Acuit
The ability to manipulate small parts is essential when working with electrical wiring, motors, electronic controllers, generators, fuses, electrical components, and switches. Drills, saws, pliers, wire strippers, screwdrivers, and other specialist tools are also used by electricians.
#5. Eye-Hand Coordination
An electrician’s ability to properly perform installations, maintenance, and repairs relies heavily on his or her hand-eye coordination. The complexity and exactness of this work make it a necessity for skilled professionals.
Work Environment For An Electrician
The work environment for electricians might range from indoors (during renovations or new construction) to outside (on power and telecommunications systems). Their workplaces could be spacious or confined. The lack of safety protections in these workplaces poses a significant risk, as workers are frequently exposed to live electrical lines. Even though they often work alone, electricians can often be found on bigger construction crews.
Unlike many workers who have a set place of employment, electricians operate at a remote location for a certain amount of time, which can be anything from a single day to a few months, before moving on to the next task. Work locations may be far from the homes of electricians. Electricians often have to travel more than 100 miles from home to finish a job.
Salary of an Electrician
The median annual salary for an electrician in May 2020 was $56,900, according to the BLS. The lowest 10% of earners reported incomes of less than $33,810, while the richest 10% of earners recorded incomes of more than $98,720. Electricians put in long hours, seven days a week (including some nights and weekends).
As of the year 2020, the electrical contracting and other wiring installation sectors employed 65% of the total electrician workforce. According to the BLS, 9 percent of electricians are also self-employed. There are prospects for certified electricians to advance to master electrician and supervisor positions when they have gained experience and fulfilled further requirements. The level of advancement in the job determines the increment in the salary of the electrician.
Tools are needed for electrical work just as they would be for any other type of home repair or renovation. You probably already have most of the necessary electrician tools lying around the house, such as a hammer, tape measure, laser level, flathead, and Phillips screwdrivers, to complete most electrical jobs. You may find the specialized electrician tools you may need at any home improvement store, hardware store, electrical supply store, or even online. Here is a list of some electrician tools:
#1. Tape Measure
A standard tape measure is important in the field for a wide variety of tasks, including marking surfaces for cutouts, establishing switch and outlet heights, and centering light fixture boxes.
To fasten electrical boxes with nail-on brackets to wall studs and other framing members, a hammer is typically used. It’s also useful for driving wire staples into framing members to secure the fresh electrical cable.
#3. Torpedo Level
A compact level, such as a torpedo level, can be carried around in a tool belt and used to check that everything is plumb and level. Straight switches and outlets in level boxes are the foundation of a professional installation. A torpedo level is an essential piece of equipment that every homeowner should have, and its purposes extend far beyond the realm of electricity.
When working on electrical systems, you’ll find yourself in some rather dim environments, from basements and attics to wall and ceiling cavities and electrical boxes. You should always carry a tactical flashlight with you, not just for emergencies. A headlamp and a couple of hand flashlights are useful additions to the toolkit of a do-it-yourself electrician.
#5. Utility Knife
A utility knife, often known as a box cutter, comes in handy for opening cardboard boxes, severing electrical tape, and sheathing non-metallic (Romex) cables.
#6. Tongue-and-Groove Pliers
Channel-lock, groove joint, and straight-jaw pliers are some of the different names for tongue-and-groove pliers. Although most people think of using tongue-and-groove pliers for plumbing, they may be quite useful for a wide variety of electrical tasks as well. It will be frequently used to adjust expansion-type ceiling fan boxes, tighten cable clamps, and remove knockouts from metal electrical boxes.
#7. Non-Contact Voltage Tester
A voltage tester is an invaluable specialized electrical equipment. Using a voltage tester is a quick and easy way to ensure that an electrical cable or equipment is safe to work on. The simplest and safest voltage testers to use are battery-operated models that can sense electricity just by being in close proximity to a power outlet or wire.
This is an essential item for any do-it-yourselfer’s toolkit. Practically any domestic electrical repair job can benefit from it.
Due to the wide range of possible electrical project sizes and scopes, contractors, and clients often enter into one-off contracts to outline the responsibilities of each party. By signing a contract, both parties are reiterating their commitment to the terms of the agreement and giving it the force of law. With this understanding under your belt, you can write a legally binding electrical services agreement that meets the needs of both parties.
How to Write an Electrician Contract
Here are some steps to take to write a perfect electrician contract:
#1. Specify Both Parties
When drafting an agreement, it is customary to begin by noting the electrical contractor and the client. In the majority of situations, the contractor is a freelancer or an electrical business. Those in need of electrician services are their typical clientele. Provide complete information, such as both parties’ full names, the name of the company, and contact information, to specify this data. Following their designation, you may use the terms “Contractor” and “Employer” interchangeably throughout the document.
#2. Identify the Scope of the Project
Next, you can choose to elaborate on the scope of the project. The goals of an electrical project can be specified by making a list of all the work that must be done. Including as much detail as possible here could help you resolve any disagreements over billing for electricity.
#3. Define Specifications and Location
As was previously said, you can include construction drawings in your document to guarantee that the contractor follows the specified specifications. Provide details to help the electrician grasp the scope of the project and the client’s goals.
#4. Include Information Regarding Payments
The payment terms of a contract are crucial because they stipulate when, how, and how much the customer must pay. It may also specify the contractor’s obligations before payment is made. You could put payment due dates and conditions here.
#5. Set Completion Deadlines
The customer will be reassured that the project will be finished on time if completion dates are included. If applicable, this section may also include payment reductions associated with delays. However, in other instances, the parties agree that the contractor is not liable for delays brought on by reasons beyond their control.
#6. Outline the Electrician’s Duties
A satisfactory level of service can be guaranteed if the electrician’s responsibilities are well defined. Care and acknowledgment requirements may also be included here.
#7. Outline the Client’s Duties
Please explain what the client must do to ensure the contractor is paid on time and in full. In this part, the electrician may also detail the preliminary steps that must be taken by the customer.
#8. Identify Exclusions
Exclusions are any work linked to the project that falls outside of the electrician’s remit. Therefore, take note of that.
#9. Include Information about Liability for Losses or Damage
It is important to identify liability in situations where the contractor could have prevented losses or damage even though the electrician is not responsible for delays or damage caused by external circumstances. Think about including insurance details alongside a definition of obligation in this area.
#10. Describe Termination Terms
Termination provisions could be mentioned in a separate section. These clauses spell out the conditions under which the electrician is permitted to call it quits.
#11. Include a Signature Section
The final stage in drafting a contract is to include a section for signatures. In this area, both you and the other party can verify that you’ve read and accepted the conditions of the agreement. The agreement becomes binding after they sign it. You should also include a place for the date the agreement was signed and the parties’ contact information.
How Do You Get an Electrician’s License?
It is dependent upon where you intend to work and your current location. State and local jurisdictions have different licensing standards. Different states have different standards for electrician licensing, with others having none at all. In addition, several states with licensing requirements provide a variety of routes to certification.
However, most states require electricians to earn their licenses by completing a combination of classroom study and supervised on-the-job training followed by a certification exam.
How Hard Is It to Become an Electrician?
It’s normal to feel intimidated by the difficulties you could face along the way when you pursue a career in the electrical sector. However, there is also the potential for great enjoyment. After all, learning to be an electrician requires both brain power and physical dexterity. It’s hard to get bored in this line of work, especially since there’s always something new to learn.
Also, you will likely receive a lot of help from others around you while you go through training. Over time, you’ll gain experience and expertise in your field. Therefore, entering the field of electricity might not be as difficult as you might imagine.
However, not everyone is willing to put in the effort required or maintain their dedication over time. This means they might not pass the licensing exam the first time around. To progress forward and achieve your objective of being a qualified journeyperson electrician, you will need to study and practice often. But if you dedicate yourself to the trip and keep your mind clear, you just might end up surprising yourself.
Becoming an Electrical Contractor
- Building the Foundation for Your Business
- Seeking Projects
- Setting Prices
- Writing Electrical Contracts
An electrician is a professional who works with electricity and installs, fixes and maintains electrical wiring, fixtures, and outlets. There are many different kinds of electrical work, and electricians may choose to focus on either domestic wiring, outside connections, or telecommunications wire. However, chase that dream of yours today!
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