Electricity makes our everyday lives possible. Skilled electricians created the wiring in your home, your place of work, and along the streets where you walk, lit for your convenience and safety when the sun goes down. However, how much do you truly know about the profession that sustains your modern lifestyle?
The following facts may surprise you!
Many Famous Individuals Were Electricians First
That’s right. The electrical field has attracted many brilliant individuals who later went on to make their mark on the world stage. Before Sun Records discovered Elvis, he had trained as an electrician. Just before joining The Beatles, George Harrison was an electrician’s apprentice. Think Mr. Bean, the British comedian, is all fun and games? In his other life, this actor, whose given name is Rowan Atkinson, holds a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s College, Oxford. Even Alfred Hitchcock, Master of Suspense, studied electrical engineering beginning at age fifteen.
Electricians Are in Good Shape
Basic physical fitness is not a prerequisite for every job. However, electricians do need to maintain some level of physical ability in order to climb ladders, lift and carry heavy equipment, move through small crawl spaces, break through walls and dig holes. Sound like superhuman tasks? Indeed. To keep up with this type of activity, day-in and day-out, electricians must be both strong and flexible. In addition, their work demands tolerance of all weather conditions. Whether freezing, hot and humid, strong winds, or a rainy downpour that they’re facing that day, electricians have to be ready, and healthy enough to work, whatever occurs.
Master Electricians Study for Many, Many Years
A master electrician studies, both in a classroom and on the job, for a minimum of eight years. He or she is the very best at the craft of bringing power to homes, places of business, and industrial locations, and has mentored with other masters, worked in the field, and taken numerous classes to get to achieve a level of expertise. Medical doctors, through attending college, medical school, and a residency, also train for at least eight years. So your electrician, in the field of electrical engineering, is as trained an expert as the individual to whom you entrust your health and well-being.
Electricians Can Specialize in Four Different Fields
When electricians are in school, they can choose one of four fields in which to specialize: residential, commercial, industrial, or substation/transformer work. Our team at Prairie Electric includes specialists from all walks: we make sure your home electrical systems are working well, providing lighting and lighting design for businesses, make sure that all systems are go in industrial environments and work at both substations and on transformers. We do it all and are truly an electrical one-stop shop!
Electricians Have Fantastic Job Security
Skilled trades make strong career choices and offer lots of room for personal growth and promotions. Electricians in particular earn good salaries and enjoy a very positive job outlook moving forward. And unlike many jobs out there, electricians won’t be replaced by robots anytime soon.
One of the greatest perks to pursuing a career as an electrician is the education. By becoming an apprentice electrician, you’ll receive quality on-the-job training with wages on top of that. Prairie Electric will pay for your education if you choose to work for them. While others are spending thousands of dollars for a college education and digging deeper into debt, you’ll be learning on the job and receiving wages at the same time. When training is over and you pass the licensing test, you’ll be set with a great job with strong benefits and a positive job outlook.
Job outlook for electricians
Employment of electricians is expected to grow 14% from 2014 to 2024. This makes for a far quicker growth rate than other similar occupations, such as construction workers. Why? Because as buildings and homes incorporate more technology into their four walls, electricians need to be there to install, repair and maintain wiring. Electricians are always in high demand, and that demand will only become greater in the coming years. In 2015, the median salary for electricians was about $54,000 per year. In Oregon and Washington state, these pay rates are even higher.
In addition, planet-friendly energy resources, such as wind and solar power, are projected to become increasingly more popular in the coming years. These technologies require the work of electricians for wiring and ensuring that everything is performing as efficiently as possible. Of course, much of this potential growth in the green sector comes down to government policy.
As technology continues to evolve, there’s been more and more talk about robots replacing human workers on the assembly line or even in the office. While other industries are feeling the pressure that automation increasingly is exerting on hiring, electricians can rest easy. Their work is highly individualized for the situation or problem they’re tackling and robots simply can’t complete the level of quality work that’s required of the job.
How do You Get Started in the Field?
If you’re mechanically inclined, detail-oriented, and enjoy solving problems, a career in electrical servicing may be an excellent fit for you. Field electricians provide an enormous service to their community and tackle residential, commercial, and industrial issues.
However, if you don’t know anyone doing the work you’re interested in, it can be difficult to imagine the steps you need to take to achieve your goal and become a professional electrician. Consider the following your guide to getting started on this fulfilling, lucrative career path.
Seek Out Training
Getting the proper training is essential to preparing you for the diverse activities you’ll be called upon to participate in as an electrician. Both technical schools and JATC AREA 1 offer paid training for a selection of interested candidates. This program selects candidates based on factors that vary by economy and location, and usually lasts 4 years.
Another option is to pursue training while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Most branches of the U.S. military offer paid training and benefits to anyone who enlists and wants to become an electrician.
Start Working ASAP
There’s nothing like on-the-job training to build experience and show employers and potential employers what you can do. Once you have trained for a year or more, you can usually become a helper, assigned to work with one or more journeyman electricians at a job site. Helpers are expected to have a basic knowledge of electrical safety and an understanding of how to operate hand tools, as well as electrical construction methods. If you are just starting your work as an apprentice, on-the-job experience will serve as your boot camp, where you will gain industry experience while supervised by a journeyman electrician.
Apprentices for larger companies often start out delivering necessary materials and tools to job sites, an activity that can help green workers gain familiarity with commonly-used materials at electrical sites. However, the ultimate goal is to move an apprentice into working on the actual job, where he or she will gain the most valuable experience.
Get Professionally Licensed
In order to work in areas with formal licensing procedures, you will need to obtain a license, particularly if you want to pursue a higher wage tier. Professional licensing requirements vary depending on where you live. To find out the specifics for your region and goals, contact your local code enforcement office. In many cases, you will be required to show a minimum of documented time spent working in your chosen trade before you are eligible for licensure, often up to 8,000 hours. Some licensing authorities will only credit up to 2,000 per year, with no credit for overtime hours.
When applying for licensure, you may be asked to provide tax information, pay stubs, technical school transcripts, accumulated during your time working as an apprentice or helper under a journeyman electrician.
Study, Study, Study (and take the test)
The National Electrical Code (NEC) is most often used for electrical code enforcement. Familiarize yourself with the codes for your area, whether it is the NEC or another system, in preparation for your formal exam. Often, licensing authorities offer a two-part examination, including a written test and a practical examination. The practical separates those with on-the-job experience from those with code-only familiarity. Depending on the rules for your area, you may be able to use the Code Book during the exam.
Work for Prairie Electric!
Convinced that this is the right path for you? So are we! Prairie Electric is now seeking qualified workers to join our team. If you are a journeyman electrician licensed in Oregon or Washington State, we’d love to speak with you further. Our employees enjoy full medical and dental insurance for themselves and their families, as well as paid vacations, holidays, and a 401K plan. We even hand out popcorn on Wednesdays with your paycheck! Start a new, rewarding phase of your career with us today.