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Schools for Electrician Courses and Training

Electrician training provides the skills, knowledge, and hands-on training required for a long-term career. Electrician school preparation may also be specialized for an industrial electrician, maintenance electrician, commercial electrician, or general electrician. All electricians work on commercial and residential structures to do maintenance and repair work on electricity systems. Their work may also involve security systems, heat, connectivity, and building assessment.

Job Description and Responsibilities After Completion of Electrician Training

Electrician school provides basic training, but much of the skills needed to excel require hands-on experience and ongoing skill development. Electricians are commonly involved with a variety of duties including:

  • Upkeep and repair of electrical systems
  • Performance maintenance of electrical systems
  • Updating circuit breakers
  • Appliance installation
  • Prevention of circuit breakdowns
  • Installation of efficient systems and equipment
  • Collaborating with specialists and engineers
  • Assessments of electrical systems
  • Identifying and diagnosing electrical problems
  • Improving connectivity
  • Working with blueprints and specifications
  • Using wires, connectors, and testing equipment

Electricians must follow the National Electrical Code during all operations and procedures, and ensure that all projects and workmanship is also in compliance with State and local building codes. These regulations vary depending on the type of setting and equipment being used, and is an important area of study of electrician education. Since maintenance work varies, electricians must be comfortable working with different tools, equipment, and supplies. They may work with power tools and hand tools such as screwdrivers, while also working on specialized services that require the use of voltmeters and oscilloscopes.

Skills Needed for an Electrician Career

A long-term career requires strong problem-solving skills as well as manual dexterity and the ability to work in different environments. A candidate may also pursue a license in order to become an electrician. The electrician license is required by many localities but requirements vary by area. Common skills needed include:

  • Knowledge of electrical materials and concepts
  • Manual skills
  • Ability to find solutions in electrical systems
  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Technical speaking
  • Electrical circuit knowledge
  • Strong mathematical and physics skills
  • Customer service
  • Commercial wiring
  • Basic mechanical skills
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Physical fitness

Electrician Career Options

Becoming an apprentice is the first step before pursuing an electrician career, but there are many options available. Training for electricians may lead to a career as a:

  • Industrial electrician

  • Maintenance electrician

  • Commercial electrician

  • General electrician

  • Project manager

  • Construction superintendent

  • Supervisor

  • Contractor

  • Independent business owner

An industrial electrician may choose to work in a power plant or industrial manufacturing sector where they work with machines and other large equipment. A maintenance electrician may work in factories, hospitals and other institutions that commonly require repair work or replacements after a breakdown. A maintenance electrician may be in charge of inspecting equipment, working with electronic devices, and replacing items such as circuit breaker and switches. A commercial electrician may be involved with repair work and troubleshooting in factories and office buildings. A general electrician is commonly found working in the residential sector, helping with rewiring homes, replacing fuse boxes, and fixing problems with lighting.

Obtaining an Electrician License

Electrician education can be obtained through a vocational college or technical school, and those that wish to specialize in a particular field can obtain hands-on training as an apprentice. Apprenticeship programs are available through local unions of the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers, in addition to the local chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Those who pursue an apprenticeship program will receive comprehensive training that qualifies them for both construction and maintenance work. In order to become an electrician, the candidate must:

  • Have a high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Have strong math and English skills
  • Pass a test to enroll in an apprenticeship program

An apprentice can complete the electrician education program after 4 years of study which includes 144 hours of classroom instruction and 2,000 hours of hands-on training at a job during each year. A course program may include subjects such as:

  • Electrical code requirements
  • Safety and first aid practices
  • Soldering
  • Communications
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Blueprint reading
  • Conduit fabrication
  • Diagrams of electrical systems

Although a formal education is not required, it is highly desirable by employers and can help with advancing in an electrician career. Many candidates choose to become an apprentice immediately after high school so that they can gain enough experience to start their own business. An electrician license requires a thorough knowledge of electrical theory, local electric and building codes, and understanding of the National Electrical Code. This can be learned at variety of schools, an online electrician course as well as educational opportunities with an employer.

Electrician Career Potential and Employment Prospects

Electrician school can set the stage for a rewarding career, and employment of electricians is expected to rise faster than average through 2014. The demand for skilled professionals in the field will increase because of the increases in computers, telecommunications, and other electricity-based systems. While manufacturing systems become increasingly complex, the demand for specialized electricians will also increase. Employment of maintenance electricians is expected to increase faster than construction and commercial electricians.

Median hourly earnings of electricians were $20.33 in 2004, and an electrician apprentice usually starts at 40-50% of the pay rate. Earnings vary depending on experience, skill level, and license obtained. Related occupations include:

  • Refrigeration mechanics and installers

  • Heating and air conditioning specialists

  • Line installers

  • Elevator repair specialists

  • Entertainment equipment installers and repairers


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