Changing careers after time away or post-COVID? Re-tooling after a layoff? Maybe you’re a new high school or college graduate exploring your options or chasing a dream you’ve had since you were a kid.
Regardless of your personal situation, a construction career could be the answer to your questions about where to find the best jobs in America today. There’s always going to be something that needs to be built – that’s the nature of construction!
An electrician is one of the hottest trades in the construction industry today.
TLDR: Three reasons to become an electrician
- High demand
- Good pay
- Easy to get started, learn and grow
Why Electricians Are in Demand
Every construction project requires electricians, start to finish, from underground to installing the light switches. Demand is red-hot on big commercial projects, like data centers, hospitals, and manufacturing plants, and on smaller projects, like office buildings and subdivisions.
Think about it: Every air conditioning unit, heater, and plug is electric. Buildings today have miles of fiber optics, Cat cable, sound and alarm systems that require the skills of low-voltage electricians. Most modern buildings also include sophisticated machinery that’s controlled by electrical systems, installed by skilled electricians.
Consider solar and wind power. Yes, the natural world contributes the energy, but it’s electricians who install the systems that convert that energy into electricity that can be delivered to homes and offices.
Are you getting the picture? Become an electrician and you’ll be in demand.
How Much Do Electricians Make?
There’s a lot of money to be made in the electrical trade, depending on your experience, the project type and jobsite location. But it takes patience to rise to the top of the pay scale.
When you start an electrical career, expect to make around $13.50 per hour, depending on the market. But that’s just the beginning.
Once electricians complete their apprenticeship, they can take the Journeyman exam. With a passing score, wages can rise to $25-$26 per hour. With additional experience, Journeyman wages can go up; industrial and solar electricians can earn upwards of $50-$60 per hour.
Because demand for electricians is high in the U.S. and abroad, project managers have started recruiting and bringing in experienced pros from other markets to work on their jobs where demand is high, and the available workforce is low. In these situations, electricians may earn per diem and a travel allowance in addition to their hourly wage.
Pay for low voltage electrical technicians is typically in the low $20s per hour.
How to Get Started as an Electrician
You can become a low voltage electrical tech or installer by completing a course at a technical or trade school. Some community colleges also offer low voltage training.
The path to becoming a commercial electrician starts at the apprentice level – it’s like a learner’s permit. You become an apprentice when you sign up with a trade school, trade union, or employer program that agrees to “sponsor” you on the job and record your hours. Apprentices work under a Journeyman electrician, take basic classes, and learn the ins and outs of the trade. An apprenticeship typically lasts four years or longer. Apprentices are eligible to take the Journeyman license exam when they have 8,000 hours.
Some people are lifetime apprentices, meaning they don’t take the step to study and complete the Journeyman’s exam. This is also an acceptable career path!
Many states require Journeyman electricians to be licensed. The rules about licensure vary from state to state, and so do the rules about reciprocity (meaning, you may need to be licensed separately for each state in which you work).
Is an Electrician Career Right for Me?
Not everyone is cut out for a career as an electrician. Here are the top five skills required for success in the field.
- Attention to detail. Working as an electrician is a dangerous job and the conditions can be tough. Electricians must work safe and stay aware of what’s ahead, behind, above, and below them.
- Good math skills. Every task an electrician performs is done with mathematical calculations and measurements. The math is different than what you learned in school. Building the math skills required on the job is a key part of the apprentice period.
- Knowledge of electrical code. Electrical codes are different in each city and state. Electricians need to know and follow the code for the project site they’re working on.
- Knowledge of tools and their use. Electricians use a variety of tools – screwdrivers, socket sets, wrenches, tape measures. They must know when and how to safely use each tool in their toolbelt.
- Desire to work with your hands. Being an electrician is a trade as well as a craft. It’s hard work, but it provides a great sense of achievement and accomplishment when the job is done well.
If a good-paying job as an electrician sounds interesting to you, Talent Corps can help. Contact us online or call a recruiter at 972-468-9111.