What Does an Electrician Do?

A person in this occupation installs, repairs and maintains electrical wiring, equipment, fixtures, appliances and power systems. They may specialize in a specific aspect of the field, such as electrical distribution systems or solar power generation. They also may be involved in the inspection of electrical work for safety compliance and code violations. This career requires the ability to read blueprints and diagrams as well as use a variety of hand and power tools safely.

People in this job typically need to be licensed. Depending on the state and municipality in which they live, this may involve passing a written exam with questions on the National Electrical Code (NEC), local laws and building codes. Some states require candidates to pass a practical exam as well. Others have only a written test. Regardless of the format, it is important for individuals to study extensively before taking the test.

Most electricians work independently or as part of a team, often collaborating with architects, engineers, builders and inspectors. They must be able to communicate effectively with these parties to understand project requirements and provide input on electrical system designs. Additionally, they must be able to troubleshoot and problem-solve when issues arise during the course of a project.

Those who work in this profession tend to score high on extraversion scales, which means they thrive on the energy of other people. They also are highly conscientious and tend to plan their work carefully. These traits allow them to be excellent problem solvers and to complete jobs according to the standards set by their employers.

The average salary for a person in this career is between $40,000 and $54,000 per year. Those in the higher end of this range are typically those who work for large corporations or in management roles. People in the lower end of the range are usually those who work for smaller firms or on their own as self-employed contractors.

Some states and municipalities do not require individuals to become licensed as electricians. However, those who choose to pursue this career should know that it is a highly dangerous job and they should always follow the rules and regulations of their jurisdiction. It is also important for these individuals to get a thorough background check before applying for licensure so that they do not end up working on projects that could cause injury or death.

Individuals who want to become electricians should start by getting their high school diploma or GED certificate. They should then pursue an apprenticeship or training program offered by a trade school or technical institute. These programs offer a hands-on introduction to the skills that are needed for this career, but they do not require as much financial commitment as pursuing an undergraduate degree at a university would. Upon completion, individuals should apply for either the Master or Special Electrician license through the New York City Department of Buildings. This process will require submitting experience verification forms, a background check and a passing score on the written and practical exams.