Are you considering becoming an electrician? This can be a very rewarding and lucrative job. Electricians can work in a number of industries and are needed during new construction, remodelling, repairs, and maintenance. Some work with the military or the government, while others go into private practice and may work alone or with a team. If you’re thinking about going into this exciting field, here are some of the things you should consider.
What Does an Electrician Do?
Electricians handle everything related to electrical wiring in houses, factories, businesses, and all other buildings. They are licensed to install, maintain, and repair the wiring, switches, outlets, and other devices and equipment related to electricity. Many electricians specialise either in installation or in repairs and maintenance, although there are some who do both. Those who work in installation and construction install wiring in new builds, while those who handle maintenance repair or upgrade existing wiring and electrical equipment.
Electricians work in many different areas. Those that specialise in new wiring often work in buildings that are under construction. They will be on construction sites and may need to wear hardhats and other protective gear. Those who do rewiring and repairs work in finished buildings. Generally, most electricians work indoors, and most work alone or with a small team. Those who are a part of a construction crew may have meetings and coordinate with others, but they generally do their wiring work alone.
Because electricians work around wiring and equipment that may have live electricity flowing through it, the job can be dangerous. That’s why you must always pay very close attention to everything you’re doing and always know which wires are currently live. It’s not unusual for electricians to suffer from mild shocks while on the job. Other accidents you’ll have to watch for include falling and cutting yourself.
Of course, to become an electrician, you do have to have training. You will need to know how to read blueprints, understand how circuits and electrical loads work, and know how to properly install switches and outlets. You will also learn about the various local and state building codes, the National Electrical Codes, and how to follow all of them while working. Most of these training classes include hands-on workshops and apprenticeships.
This knowledge can get quite technical, which is why these professionals are required to take specific electrician courses to receive their professional certification and license. The Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council sets out various requirements that individuals must meet to receive their electrician’s license. This license allows electricians to operate their own business unsupervised and to supervise other electricians.
As an electrician, you’ll use a number of different tools while on the job. Some of these tools are quite ordinary, such as screwdrivers, wire strippers, and various power tools. Other tools are specific to the industry. These include instruments such as voltmeters, ohmmeters, harmonics testers, and ammeters. You’ll learn how to use all of these tools during your education and training.