Electrician are the skilled tradespeople who design, install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring and other equipment. They may work inside or outside a building to ensure that lights, industrial equipment, and other appliances are safe to use. The job requires a good understanding of electrical science and technology, and electricians often receive on-the-job training as part of an apprenticeship program.
Becoming an electrician requires training, dedication, and the willingness to wonder about how a flat screen television manages to be energy efficient or how a Las Vegas casino can use so much electricity without blowing fuses. Some electricians pursue a degree in electrical engineering to build upon their practical experience and develop the theoretical understanding of how electric devices work.
Many electricians begin their careers by working as an assistant to an established technician, learning the trade through on-the-job experience and mentorship. Others complete a vocational school program that teaches the basics of electrical engineering and safety practices. Apprenticeship programs typically require 144 hours of technical instruction each year, along with 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience. Some electricians also choose to take supplemental courses to learn more about particular products and systems.
Aside from the technical aspects of their work, electricians need a high level of physical endurance. They must be able to stand or kneel for long periods of time, and they sometimes need to move heavy components that weigh up to 50 pounds. Strong hand-eye coordination and good vision are also important for the job, as is the ability to follow blueprints and other technical documents. Customer service skills are helpful for dealing with residential and commercial clients.
While the physical demands of this career are high, the potential for injury is relatively low. However, it’s still important for electricians to follow all safety guidelines when performing tasks, including reading and following instructions carefully, wearing protective gear when necessary, and testing equipment before using it. It’s also essential that they keep up to date with new safety standards and procedures, as these can change frequently.
Because of the complex nature of electrical systems, electricians must have a thorough understanding of how they work in order to troubleshoot problems and fix them. This requires a good knowledge of math, scientific principles, and engineering design. It’s also important for electricians to be able to think logically and solve problems as they arise. They must be able to interpret data from product and system tests, understand how different parts of a system interact with each other, and consider the consequences of their actions.
Because they are responsible for the installation and maintenance of electrical systems, electricians need to be able to work safely and follow all applicable regulations. In addition, because they are often working with live wires, they must be able to identify potential hazards and be prepared to take immediate action when needed. Moreover, because they are often called to respond to emergency calls, it’s important that they be able to work under pressure and remain calm in stressful situations.