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.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
18%

Some freedom
36%

A lot of freedom
46%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
1%

Limited freedom
19%

Some freedom
54%

A lot of freedom
26%


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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.

Jeff Brandlin
Electrician
Assurance Electrical Services


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 range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $47 $98,720
Senior (Top 25%) $36 $75,380
Middle (Mid 50%) $27 $56,900
Junior (Bottom 25%) $21 $42,790
No experience (Bottom 10%) $16 $33,810

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%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
8%

Fairly important
8%

Important
2%

Very important
33%

Extremely important
49%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
19%

Fairly important
31%

Important
6%

Very important
17%

Extremely important
27%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
17%

Important
18%

Very important
43%

Extremely important
22%

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%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
20%

Once a year
15%

Once a month
38%

Once a week
21%

Every day
7%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
12%

Once a year
43%

Once a month
26%

Once a week
18%

Every day
2%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
67%

Once a year
32%

Once a month
1%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

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%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
11%

Fairly important
28%

Important
17%

Very Important
26%

Extremely Important
18%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
13%

Minor impact
3%

Moderate impact
10%

Important impact
23%

Very important impact
52%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
16%

Once a year
2%

Once a month
1%

Once a week
31%

Every day
51%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
1%

Moderate responsibility
5%

High responsibility
55%

Very high responsibility
39%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
1%

Limited responsibility
12%

Moderate responsibility
13%

High responsibility
44%

Very high responsibility
30%

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 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 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.

100%

48%

19%

19%

38%

48%

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.

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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