Behind every light switch or electrical outlet, there is an electrician who made it work. Almost every building has an electrical power, communications, lighting, or control system that electricians and helpers installed when the building was constructed… and maintained afterwards. For new construction, electricians read diagrams that show the planned location of circuits, outlets, and other equipment to guide their work. They use hand and power tools to run wiring through walls and protect it. They also test equipment and materials to find problems and ensure components work properly. Maintenance means first finding the problem then accessing it for repairs. Electricians must carefully follow building regulations to ensure safety, especially when directing or training other workers. Electrician helpers carry materials and tools, cut and bend wire and conduit, use tools to repair and maintain wiring, and clean work areas and equipment. These workers keep full-time hours, sometimes evenings and weekends, working indoors and outdoors in homes, businesses, and construction sites. Most work for electrical and other wiring contractors. Work can require long periods of standing and kneeling, sometimes in cramped spaces. Most electricians learn their trade in a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program that combines technical training and paid on-the-job training. Most states require a license. Electrician helpers usually need a high school diploma or equivalent and are trained on the job. Electricians and electrician helpers literally help the United States “keep the lights on.”
What they do:
Install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. Ensure that work is in accordance with relevant codes. May install or service street lights, intercom systems, or electrical control systems.
On the job, you would:
Plan layout and installation of electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, based on job specifications and local codes.
Connect wires to circuit breakers, transformers, or other components.
Test electrical systems or continuity of circuits in electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, using testing devices, such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, or oscilloscopes, to ensure compatibility and safety of system.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
Safety and Government
public safety and security
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
keep your arm or hand steady
put together small parts with your fingers
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
listen and understand what people say
communicate by speaking
see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Construction Master Pro
Data base user interface and query software
Insight Direct ServiceCEO
Resolve Systems Service Management
Computer aided design CAD software
One Mile Up Panel Planner
certificate after high school or high school diploma/GED usually needed
Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include:
Electrician (Water Transportation)
New job opportunities are likely in the future.
Green jobs will increase the demand for this type of work.