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An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. There are three basic types of electricians, industrial, residential and maintenance. Each deals with electricity but in a somewhat different way.
The industrial electrician will be responsible for wiring up very large commercial buildings during initial construction. the residential electrician will be responsible for all of the wiring involved in a residential house in the construction phase. A maintenance electrician can be a residential or industrial electrician but usually is involved in repair work to either residential or commercial buildings.
Most electricians learn the trade through apprenticeship programs. Interested individuals simply work as a electrician’s helper for a licensed electrician and develop the sills to become a journeyman electrician themselves.There are several different apprenticeship program in the United States but two of the most popular are the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), or the National Electrical Contractor’s Association (NECA.).
The coursework that the individual candidate will complete will differ slightly from program to program but here are some of the basic subjects that will be covered in most apprenticeship programs in the United States.
- Building Contractor Operations
- Advanced Building Code
- Legal Aspects of Contracting and Permitting
- Structural Analysis
- Energy Project Management
- Building Systems
- Industrial Electricity
- Power Plant Operation
- Technical Mathematics
The physical skills needed for a electrician vary from job to job but here are a few of the most important skills for an electrician to possess.
- strong hand-eye coordination
- good vision (especially color vision)
- good equilibrium
- math skills
- drafting skills
- attention to detail
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job outlook for qualified electricians is slightly better than many others. The average hourly wage is $24.28 or $50,510 a year and the outlook is for growth in the occupation due to a retiring work force and more demand for qualified electricians nationwide.