If you love working with your hands, you may be interested in becoming an electrician. Electricians earn a good living and are in high demand across the country. Becoming one could be just what you need to find your lifelong career.
But it’s never a good idea to jump into a serious commitment without doing a bit of research. That’s why we’ve put together the following article. It contains everything that you need to know about what an electrician’s average day is like. Read on to learn whether this career path is right for you.
Where do electricians work?
Electricians can work in many different settings since they can have many different types of clients. For example, an electrician may spend the bulk of their time in residential homes, factories, commercial buildings, or construction sites. Long-distance travel is sometimes required for electricians as they commute from job site to job site.
At work, electricians can spend most of their time indoors or outdoors. They often need to endure long periods of standing and kneeling, which can be tiring. Electricians may also be subject to loud noises if they work in a factory or high heights if they work on construction sites.
Is an electrician’s job dangerous?
Electricians have to navigate a few serious risks while on the job. Electricity can be dangerous so those who work with it need to take precautions to avoid getting hurt. That’s why electricians almost always wear some type of personal protective equipment, such as gloves and glasses.
Some of the most common injuries that electricians experience include:
- And other minor injuries
Some accidents that electricians experience can be fatal. So someone in this role needs to use caution while they work. But as long as that caution is exercised consistently, an electrician’s job can be relatively safe — especially when compared to other industrial positions.
A day in the life of an electrician
One of the best ways to learn what a job will be like is to see how the average employee spends their days. Here’s what a typical day looks like for an electrician.
CLOCKING IN AND GETTING STARTED
An electrical will typically begin working sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 AM. They start their shifts by reviewing the tasks that they’re going to complete that day and putting on their protective gear. An electrician will often need to wear electrical safety gloves and eye protection, as well as steel-toed boots from time to time.
This part of the day is when an electrician will review the blueprints of their projects. They will see where the circuit boards and outlets they’re going to install will go. Electricians also have to make sure that the blueprints they follow comply with all relevant building codes before proceeding.
Next, an electrician will grab the tools that they need to do their job that day. At this point, they’re ready to begin working on their tasks.
COMPLETING THE DAY’S TASKS
Once an electrician’s morning preparatory steps are complete, they’ll begin working on their tasks for the day. This can involve a wide variety of things, including:
- Connecting and disconnecting wires to fuses, circuit breakers, and transformers
- Repairing faulty electrical fixtures and components
- Inspecting electrical systems and verifying that they’re functioning properly
- Assembling and installing new electrical fixtures
- Using tools like ohmmeters, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes to test electrical systems
The specific tasks that an electrician completes on an average day will vary based on the nature of their employment. For example, some electricians will spend most of their time repairing old electrical systems while others will focus on installing new systems.
CLOCKING OUT AND HEADING HOME
Once an electrician’s tasks are complete, they may need to have them reviewed by a supervisor. The supervisor will tell the electrician whether any changes need to be made or if they’re satisfied with the work as it is.
Next, the electrician is ready to clock out and go home. They’ll put away the tools that they used that day, take off their protective gear, and take themselves off the clock. An average day for an electrician can end anywhere from 3:30 to 5:30 PM. However, an electrician may also need to stay late from time to time if there are unexpected issues with a project.
Can you train to be an electrician on the job?
One of the benefits of this career path is that you don’t have to earn a four-year degree to become an electrician. You don’t have to earn a degree at all. Many electricians get the training that they need to excel in this field through an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships involve spending a few years working alongside a skilled electrician. This gives new electricians the chance to develop the real-world skills that they’ll need to be able to rely on when they graduate to working on their own. Apprentice electricians also get paid while they train.
You can find an electrician apprenticeship in a few different places. Often, apprenticeships are run through local trade schools. These sometimes offer job placement opportunities once the apprenticeship is completed as well.
You may also be able to find an apprenticeship through both an electrician’s union and a non-union organization. If you’d like to become an apprentice, it’s wise to research your area to see which opportunities are available to you and their benefits.
Is becoming an electrician right for you?
Being an electrician could be perfect for you. Or it could be a poor fit. To find out which is true in your situation, you’ll want to consider the four following factors.
The average electrician makes approximately $56,900 per year. That’s the equivalent of roughly $27.36 per hour. Of course, some electricians make more than that and others make less. The amount that you’re paid will depend on your location, specialty, and experience.
It’s important to consider whether this salary will be enough for you throughout your career. It will be plenty for some people and insufficient for others. Regardless of where you shake out, your earning potential is an important factor to consider before pursuing this career path.
It’s also worth taking some time to think about what type of working conditions you want. If you’re someone who wants to work with their hands and spend the day on their feet, then becoming an electrician could be your ideal job. But if you don’t like the idea of spending the bulk of your day doing manual labor, then this could be the wrong path for you.
Your working conditions as an electrician can vary some based on the type of electrical work you decide to do. So it’s best to consider all potential outcomes and plan accordingly.
We all have natural skillsets that we’ve nurtured throughout our lives. Some people will be naturally gifted at the tasks that an electrician is responsible for, while others won’t. A good electrician will have the following skills:
- High attention to detail
- Ability to remain focused for long periods of time
- Ability to use a wide variety of hand and power tools
- Basic math skills
- Good creative problem-solving skills
If you possess these abilities already, then you should find it easier to complete your training as an aspiring electrician. If you don’t have these skills, don’t worry. You can still become an electrician. You may just need to work a bit harder to become one.
YOUR WILLINGNESS TO TRAIN
You don’t have to complete a college degree to become an electrician. But you will likely complete an apprenticeship. These take an average of 4-5 years to complete. That means you won’t necessarily save any time on your education if you choose this career path.
Of course, apprentices get paid to complete their training while college students don’t. So we aren’t exactly comparing apples to apples here. Still, aspiring electricians do need to accept that they will have to spend at least a few hours honing their craft before they can become a journeyman electrician.