What Does An Electrician Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures and ensure that their work is in accordance with relevant codes.

Salary
$61550
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Post-secondary certificate
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures and ensure that their work is in accordance with relevant codes.

  • Plan layout and installation of electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, based on job specifications and local codes.
  • Connect wires to circuit breakers, transformers, or other components.
  • Test electrical systems or continuity of circuits in electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, using testing devices, such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, or oscilloscopes, to ensure compatibility and safety of system.
  • Use a variety of tools or equipment, such as power construction equipment, measuring devices, power tools, and testing equipment, such as oscilloscopes, ammeters, or test lamps.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Electricians repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures, using hand tools or power tools. They use a variety of tools or equipment, such as power construction equipment, measuring devices, power tools, and testing equipment, such as oscilloscopes, ammeters, or test lamps.

A typical day for an Electrician will also include:

  • Place conduit, pipes, or tubing, inside designated partitions, walls, or other concealed areas, and pull insulated wires or cables through the conduit to complete circuits between boxes.
  • Assemble, install, test, or maintain electrical or electronic wiring, equipment, appliances, apparatus, or fixtures, using hand tools or power tools.
  • Connect wires to circuit breakers, transformers, or other components.
  • Plan layout and installation of electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, based on job specifications and local codes.
  • Test electrical systems or continuity of circuits in electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, using testing devices, such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, or oscilloscopes, to ensure compatibility and safety of system.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Electricians also install ground leads and connect power cables to equipment, such as motors. They may also construct or fabricate parts, using hand tools, according to specifications.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Electricians perform physically demanding tasks, such as digging trenches to lay conduit or moving or lifting heavy objects. They might also diagnose malfunctioning systems, apparatus, or components, using test equipment and hand tools to locate the cause of a breakdown and correct the problem.

In addition, they connect wires to circuit breakers, transformers, or other components.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them perform business management duties, such as maintaining records or files, preparing reports, or ordering supplies or equipment.

To some Electricians, it is also their responsibility to fasten small metal or plastic boxes to walls to house electrical switches or outlets.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

High

67% said they were satisfied with their job and 58% said they found their job meaningful.


Jeff Brandlin
Assurance Electrical Services

I am a licensed residential, commercial, and industrial electrician with 20 years of experience. I also specialize in solar installations, repair, and maintenance.

My Typical Day

My typical work day usually starts by reviewing all our clients’ queries and preparing for any scheduled appointments.

The next activities depend on our clients’ needs. Our solar services are divided into four categories: Consultation, Discussion, Installation, and Repair/Maintenance.

The consultation stage is where we get to know our clients and find out their solar energy needs.

If everything goes well, we will move on to the discussion phase. Our team will review all details from the initial consultation. We will then create a project proposal and meet with the client to discuss it. To polish the project plan, we often visit the service area too.

Depending on the details of the project, the first two stages might take a day or two. Some days I am out in the field installing and repairing solar panels. Sometimes I work in the office for project proposals.

Leading a team of solar contractors requires a lot of technical skills, customer service skills, and accuracy. Our clients invested a lot in solar. We need to be efficient in our service to help them reap a higher ROI.

Pros

Electricians are essential

Electricity is essential for our daily lives. It doesn’t matter if you are at home, at work, or enjoying delicious food at a restaurant. All of us will need an electrician at one point in our lives. As an electrician, this means that you will be required to work for a long time. If you work hard and have enough experience in the field, you can make a decent living.

You don’t need a college degree

In most cases, electricians don’t need a college degree. There is no need to take out huge student loans or read a lot of books. However, that doesn’t mean electricians cannot read, write and pass certain tests. While a college degree is not required, licenses and certifications are. Aspiring electricians can opt for an apprenticeship where they get hands-on training and experience before they qualify for a journeyman or a master electrician license.

It is not boring

Being an electrician is never boring. Electricians are highly skilled trade workers. We don’t repeat the same task every day. I, myself, don’t do routine work every single day. Some days I am out in the field repairing, installing, or maintaining electrical equipment in residential areas or business offices. Sometimes I need to be at the office to plan different projects for different clients with different needs. This job is great for anyone who enjoys challenges and doesn’t like to stick to a routine.

Cons

Training and licensing can take many years

While we don’t need to spend four years at college, apprenticeship requires around four to five years of on-the-job training and experience before we are eligible for an electrician license. We get paid as an apprentice electrician so it is still worth the effort.

This is not a 9 to 5 job

Being an electrician is challenging. You can’t come to work at nine o’clock in the morning and expect to return home at five o’clock in the afternoon. You might have to brave the rainstorms in the middle of the night to restore power to a neighborhood. Sometimes you might be assigned to other states to assist nearby electricians who are overwhelmed with their work. You must be flexible with your time.

It’s also physically demanding. Expect to climb into dark places, reach high up onto roofs and perform a lot of standing, bending, and reaching overhead. You’re always on the move, so you must be mentally and physically healthy if you plan to become an electrician.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want independence and like to work on their own and make decisions.

Suitable for people who want independence and like to work on their own and make decisions.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.

Good salary (earns more than 50% of the careers out there).

Good salary (earns more than 50% of the careers out there).

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

How much do they make

Average salary

$61550 per year

Average hourly wage

$30 per hour

Entry-level Electricians with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $33,810 to $42,790 per year or $16 to $21 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $98,720 $47
Senior (Top 25%) $75,380 $36
Median $56,900 $27
Junior (Bottom 25%) $42,790 $21
No experience (Bottom 10%) $33,810 $16

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Electricians based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Natural Gas Distribution $106280 $51.09
Land Subdivision $99780 $47.97
Technical and Trade Schools $93260 $44.84
Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events $93230 $44.82
General Merchandise Stores $88970 $42.77
Motion Picture and Video Industries $83460 $40.13
Educational Support Services $79240 $38.10
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $79010 $37.99
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing $78250 $37.62
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution $77930 $37.46

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Electricians work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Electricians including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Building Equipment Contractors 477560 $60730 $29.20
Employment Services 21160 $54500 $26.20
Local Government 13780 $71470 $34.36
Utility System Construction 11290 $64830 $31.17
Nonresidential Building Construction 9710 $63280 $30.42
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution 7250 $77930 $37.46
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 5590 $65530 $31.51
Federal Executive Branch 4990 $61700 $29.66
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing 4950 $68490 $32.93
Ship and Boat Building 4730 $55770 $26.81

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
7%

40 hours
75%

More than 40 hours
18%

Working schedule

57%

43%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
41%

Every day
23%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
16%

Every day
67%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
1%

Every day
90%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
62%

Once a year
14%

Once a month
10%

Once a week
13%

Every day
2%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
17%

Slightly competitive
9%

Moderately competitive
26%

Highly competitive
47%

Extremely competitive
1%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
5%

Once a year or more
38%

Once a month or more
7%

Once a week or more
39%

Every day
11%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
0%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
15%

Once a week or more
44%

Every day
37%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
1%

Once a year or more
9%

Once a month or more
41%

Once a week or more
38%

Every day
11%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
9%

Once a year or more
6%

Once a month or more
56%

Once a week or more
22%

Every day
7%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
8%

High School Diploma or equivalent
18%

Post-Secondary Certificate
59%

Some College Courses
4%

Associate’s Degree or similar
4%

Bachelor’s Degree
8%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Electrician

A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair electric apparatus and systems such as residential, commercial, and industrial electric-power wiring; and DC and AC motors, controls, and electrical distribution panels. Includes instruction in the principles of electronics and electrical systems, wiring, power transmission, safety, industrial and household appliances, job estimation, electrical testing and inspection, and applicable codes and standards.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
10%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
0%

1 to 2 years
1%

2 to 4 years
14%

4 to 6 years
61%

6 to 8 years
4%

8 to 10 years
10%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
5%

1 to 3 months
10%

3 to 6 months
4%

6 months to 1 year
12%

1 to 2 years
12%

2 to 4 years
30%

4 to 10 years
27%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
100%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
48%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
19%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
19%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
38%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
48%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
62%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
60%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
48%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
52%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
71%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
76%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ

How dangerous is the job of an Electrician?

If you want to be an electrician, you need to be prepared to do many strenuous activities. An electrician may have to run power lines along the side of the road or send wires through crawl spaces. You also need to be able to climb and lift objects. Every day we face dangers. The dangers … Read More

Answered by:
Jeff Brandlin
Electrician


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