When Sandy, the super storm unleashed havoc in as many as eight countries destroying everything in its path, the United States realized something that it should have realized a long time ago. It’s electrical grids needed major upgrade and that’s when realization dawned that there was a severe shortage for skilled electricians.
Five years have passed since that happened but the shortage is still unfulfilled and the demand for electricians is only increasing in a multitude of industries lead by utility services.
Electrician jobs are not everyone’s cup of tea and even if you have relevant experience as an electrician, you need to have the right qualification and approved licensure to be able to work as one.
If you have been considering a career as an electrician, then here’s everything that you need to know to get those high paying electrician jobs.
The Formal Training
Most skills and techniques of an electrician will come as you learn them on the job. But in many parts of the world, having formal training will amplify your chances of landing the high paying jobs. You can either complete the formal training from a technical school or you can choose an apprentice program from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in addition to having a strong understanding of the National Electric Code. Depending on where you are based, your age, your skills and your experience, you may also qualify for a paid training program from IBEW. But the selection process for this is extremely stringent and the jobs are limited in number. The last option of completing formal training for electrician jobs is to enlist in the US army. You can qualify for some of the best career benefits in addition to paid training.
The three levels
While the level of an electrician job may vary from one state to the other, almost every state recognizes three main categories in the profession. The basic and starting category is that of an apprentice, the next level is a journeyman electrician and the most advanced level is the master electrician. If you are just starting off in your career, then you will most likely be starting off as an apprentice and will be reporting to the master electrician. Once you have relevant experience, you can graduate to a journeyman. A journeyman usually works alone and follows some basic instructions given by a master. Last but not the least; a master electrician is the one who applies for jobs, takes permits for all types of installations and will get the work done by journeyman and apprentices.
An electrician job requires varying levels of expertise. An apprentice is expected to work for at least 6 years before he can qualify to appear for a journeyman electricians test. Having some sort of formal training in the National Electrical Code that includes the basics like knowledge of electrical safety, construction methods and necessary tools, is a definite plus and a prerequisite for electrician jobs in many states. As a journeyman, you are qualified and licensed to work by yourself. You can install outlets, wires and electrical fixtures in addition to troubleshooting and servicing. For example, if a circuit breaker has failed or an electrical appliance in the home has stopped working suddenly. The only thing that a journeyman electrician does not qualify for is to get permits. The master electrician on the other hand has a thorough knowledge of electric codes that are needed for installing the right type of wires and connections. They are also responsible for the complete electrical layout which includes the location of the main breaker panel. As a master electrician, you can get permits, form your own company or work as a master electrician for another contractor.
Types of electrician jobs
Depending on your skills, expertise and your knowledge, you can choose from mainly residential electrical jobs or you can choose advanced ones like commercial and industrial jobs. Here are some of the most common types of electrician jobs.
Residential wireman: A residential wireman’s job is no longer limited to installing lighting fixtures and wiring in a home. They are also entrusted with installing fire alarm systems, HVAC systems, underground heating systems and security systems. If the residential premise requires an alternative energy management system, then a residential wireman works in tandem with the energy company to ensure compliance.
Outside Lineman: An outside lineman’s job is one of the most challenging ones for an electrician. You’ll often find these men high above the ground maintaining existing power lines or installing new ones. They work on transformers that include installation as well as maintenance.
Utility services: In a utility job, electricians are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining lighting systems, installation of street lights, ensuring compliance with electrical codes etc.
Installation jobs: Electricians who work for installation jobs can work in a variety of industrial settings. One of the most common options is to work in sectors like telecom. Telecom jobs for electricians involve installing intercom systems and maintaining them.
Besides this, there is ample scope for electricians in lesser known industries like iron and steel, cinema and television. Some of these are a lot more challenging and exciting than mundane residential electrical work.
Irrespective of which industry you choose to work in or which type of job you choose, the salary for an electrician is considered to be lower than average, especially if you are just starting off as an apprentice. It is estimated that an apprentice earns only 50% of what a journeyman does. A master electrician on the other hand can earn more than $150,000 a year depending on their ability to get permits and business gigs.
For salaried electricians in telecom jobs and in other sectors, the average salary in 2016 was approximately $56000. We hope this helps you understand the options and the requisites that you need to get good paying electricians jobs.