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How to Become an Electrician

Doris Benitez
Reading time: 3 min

Electrical jobs are one of the most in demand and highest-paying skilled trade jobs. This is because our daily routines rely heavily on the use of electricity. Additionally, it’s projected that new jobs will be created thanks to the large number of retiring workers leaving the job market.

Another benefit of working as an electrician is that you can earn while you learn. As with many skilled trades job, you get to start out by taking a foundational program and then working as an apprentice electrician. You also have the option to continue your studies as you work until you reach the journeyman level.

If you’re looking to become an electrician, here are the things you need to know beforehand.

Job basics

Electrician salaries vary depending on the company, project, local economic conditions and collective agreements.

Entry level salary: £19,000 to £22,000 a year
Salary for an experienced electrician: £23,000 to £30,000 a year
Hourly rate: £20 to £50

Note that most electricians work full time and work schedules may include evening and weekends. You can expect to work overtime in case of emergencies, during scheduled maintenance or on construction sites.

Job duties

Your job responsibilities will depend on the type of electrician you are and your level of experience. Electricians typically perform the following tasks:

  • Diagnose and repair faulty electrical systems
  • Install wiring systems, fixtures, lighting and other electrical materials
  • Plan the layout and installation of electrical equipment, and fixtures based on local codes and job specifications
  • Prepare cost estimates based on labour and materials
  • Inspect, test and commission electrical systems and equipment
  • Provide reliable technical and functional information

Qualities of an electrician

There are several qualities and abilities that a technician needs to have to be successful. Some of these include:

  • An approachable and personable attitude – it is important to have a friendly attitude since you will be dealing with customers directly.
  • A desire to learn necessary skills – becoming an electrician requires you to be dedicated, willing to work hard and completely committed to the task at hand.
  • Problem-solving skills – diagnosing and repairing faulty electrical systems is a large part of a technician’s job. Therefore, to be a successful electrician, you need to be able to identify and fix electrical problems quickly.
  • Physical fitness and ability to stand for long hours
  • Manual dexterity and good eye-hand coordination
  • Ability to use hand and power tools

Educational requirements

To become an electrician, you must have a high school diploma and an industry-recognised “level 3” diploma. Accepted qualifications include a level 3 diploma in:

  • Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures)
  • Electro-technical Services (Electrical Maintenance)
  • Installing Electro-technical Systems & Equipment (Buildings, Structures and the Environment)

You are also required to complete an apprenticeship program that combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. An electrical apprenticeship program normally lasts about four to five years. However, the hours may be reduced if you’ve earned credits for relevant courses including mechanical drawings and electronics.

To prove to customers and hiring companies that you’re competent, you may want to gain accreditation with a third-party certification scheme. Some of the recognised bodies in the country include NICEIC, NAPIT, and ELECSA.

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