What Does an Electrician Do?

Electricians prepare, assemble, install, test and troubleshoot electrical wiring, fixtures and control devices. They work for electrical contractors and building maintenance departments or can be self-employed. Often, electricians specialize in different areas of the field, such as commercial, residential or industrial. They can also focus on specific types of equipment, such as lighting or fire alarms.

Most electricians earn their skills on the job through an apprenticeship program that lasts four or five years. An apprenticeship provides on-the-job training with classroom instruction from a master electrician or other experienced professionals. You can find an apprenticeship through a trade school or through a labor union, though non-union avenues may also be available. Whether you pursue an apprenticeship or attend a vocational school, you must complete a certain number of hours in the classroom before you are eligible to become a licensed electrician.

After completing your education, you must pass an exam to become a licensed electrician. This exam tests your knowledge of the National Electrical Code, or NEC. You can also choose to further specialize in your career by obtaining a certificate or becoming a master electrician. Master electricians have performed well in the trade for a period of time, usually seven to ten years, and must pass an examination to demonstrate their knowledge of the NEC.

A successful Electrician has several key traits, including excellent reading and writing skills, physical stamina and the ability to solve problems. In addition, you must be comfortable working with the potentially dangerous equipment involved in electrical work. A good electrician must be able to read blueprints and technical diagrams, including wiring schematics. You must also be able to follow strict safety protocols when working on power lines or around electrical towers and equipment.

The majority of electricians work with low-voltage systems inside buildings. These systems include wiring for heating, lighting and ventilation. You can also specialize in more high-tech electrical systems such as voice-data-video, or LAN cables, which are used for data communication between computers and other electronic devices.

Specialized electricians are also available to service and repair electrical equipment, such as generators and motors. They can also handle major residential or commercial main panel upgrades, and perform a variety of other tasks based on the needs of their clients. Some electricians even offer home energy assessments and help homeowners reduce their energy bills.

Depending on the size and complexity of a project, electricians can be paid by the hour or by the task. Before hiring an electrician, be sure to discuss the project in detail and ask about their experience. An electrician with a lot of experience should be able to provide you with a competitive price quote. Also, it is important to find out if the electrician you are considering is licensed by your state. This will ensure that he or she is qualified to perform the work safely and to your satisfaction.