There’s a certain thrill in the air when the lights flicker and go out during a thunderstorm, isn’t there? It’s kind of fun and exciting to break out the flashlights and candles for a bit. But it gets old quick, as anyone who’s experienced a long period without electricity amidst extreme weather knows.
The truth is, we depend on power for pretty much everything. It keeps our food refrigerator-fresh and heats our homes. We need it to do our homework and our laundry. It charges our phones, computers and devices so we can communicate with friends and watch our favorite shows and movies. Behind the scenes are the people who wired up all that electricity—electricians! And jobs in this field are expected to grow at a faster-than-average 14 percent through 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if you have great critical thinking and trouble-shooting skills, are physically strong and have color vision to distinguish different colored wires, this just might be a career to consider.
Electricians get the electricity and lighting in schools, businesses, homes and factories up and running, and install communications and other electrical systems. Using technical diagrams and blue prints, they maintain equipment, repair or replace wiring, and make sure everything’s working properly and safely according to the National Electrical Code. Electricians are also the ones who respond at all hours of the day or night to help restore electricity to areas that are without.
Becoming an electrician is a fairly straightforward and affordable career path to take, as it doesn’t require a costly college degree, and ultimately pays decent wages. You will, however, need to be a minimum of 18 years old, have taken at least a year of algebra, qualify on an aptitude test, have a high school diploma, pass a substance abuse screening and complete an apprenticeship program.
An apprenticeship provides paid on-the-job-training (2,000 hours) and technical training (a minimum of 144 hours), and will take about four or five years to complete. You’ll learn things like how various electric systems work, code requirements that enforce electrical safety and how to read blue prints. You may also have the opportunity to specialize in one area or another, such as solar photovoltaic installation, elevators or industrial component wiring. Once you’ve completed your program, you’ll need to pass a test to receive your license, which varies depending on the state you want to work in.
About one in ten electricians are self-employed and many partner with home and business contractors, while others work as part of a team for residences, hospitals, organizations or large electric companies. Electrician jobs setting up renewable energy systems such as wind and solar will be in particular demand in the coming decades.
Depending on where they work and level of experience, electricians can make anywhere from $31,410 to $88,130 per year, although the median wage in 2015 as $51,880.
i think electricians are cool because without them we would not have all the technology we have today