What Does An Electrician Do?

An electrician is a skilled tradesman in charge of wirings and systems which provide electric power to a facility. They are trained to design, install, maintain, and troubleshoot electrical wiring systems. There are four basic types of an electrician - residential wiremen, inside wiremen, telecommunications electrician, and outside linemen. Some work on a standard 40-hour week shift while others are on-call duty. In some cases, traveling is also a vital key to their role where they would work for a few days before moving to another location.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real electrician resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Diagnose malfunctioning devices including transformers, motor starters, motors, PLC's, VFD's, and light fixtures.
  • Assemble, install and test electrical equipment on residential, commercial and industrial construction projects according to NEC and local codes.
  • Get materials together, pull cable, install plugs and switches, run MC, change light fixtures.
  • Install PLC systems, install variable speed drive systems, program PLC code for new equipment that are built on-site.
  • Work on commercial tenant improvement projects, running PVC for underground power feeds, MC cable, flex and EMT pipe.
  • Install commercial/residential HVAC and electrical systems
  • Terminate wires to circuit breakers, transformers and/or other components
  • Make periodic and schedule inspections of electrical systems and equipment in compliance with operator manuals and schematics.
  • Install and troubleshoot CNC machines used in the plastic industry.
  • Install electrical rough-in and trim on new residential and commercial projects.
Electrician Traits
Physical stamina shows that you are able to exert your energy for long periods of time without tiring.
Critical-thinking skills shows that you're able to think through decisions clearly ending with a well-reasoned judgement.
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.

Electrician Overview

Between the years 2018 and 2028, electrician jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 10%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become an electrician?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of electrician opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 74,100.

An electrician annual salary averages $49,755, which breaks down to $23.92 an hour. However, electricians can earn anywhere from upwards of $36,000 to $67,000 a year. This means that the top-earning electricians make $31,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

Once you've become an electrician, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a journeyman ironworker, plumber helper, journeyman, and wireman.

Electrician Jobs You Might Like

Electrician Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 27% of Electricians are proficient in Electrical Systems, Hand Tools, and RUN Conduit. They’re also known for soft skills such as Physical stamina, Critical-thinking skills, and Communication skills.

We break down the percentage of Electricians that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Electrical Systems, 27%

    Analyzed, diagnosed, and repaired electrical systems and integrated electrical, mechanical and hydraulic systems on walkway and associated equipment.

  • Hand Tools, 11%

    Operated power hand tools and other specialized electrical equipment; Installed, repairs and services specialized electrical equipment and machinery.

  • RUN Conduit, 8%

    Worked on special projects at marinas that included working off boat platforms to support and run conduit for shore power.

  • Transformers, 7%

    Installed and repaired generators, transformers and other transmission equipment.

  • PLC, 5%

    Re-designed several assembly bench PLC Systems to increase operator safety and product quality.

  • High Voltage, 5%

    Followed commercial schematics on electrical components for low/high voltage to be installed inside enclosed electrical generators.

Some of the skills we found on electrician resumes included "electrical systems," "hand tools," and "run conduit." We have detailed the most important electrician responsibilities below.

See the full list of electrician skills.

After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming an electrician. We found that 17.2% of electricians have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 2.4% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While some electricians have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every two electricians were not college graduates.

Those electricians who do attend college, typically earn either electrical engineering technology degrees or electrical engineering degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for electricians include electrical and power transmission installers degrees or business degrees.

When you're ready to become an electrician, you might wonder which companies hire electricians. According to our research through electrician resumes, electricians are mostly hired by Tradesmen International, Labor Ready, and Aerotek. Now is a good time to apply as Tradesmen International has 67 electricians job openings, and there are 34 at Labor Ready and 24 at Aerotek.

Since salary is important to some electricians, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at North Carolina Central University, Carnegie Mellon University, and University of California Press. If you were to take a closer look at North Carolina Central University, you'd find that the average electrician salary is $84,817. Then at Carnegie Mellon University, electricians receive an average salary of $84,311, while the salary at University of California Press is $84,261.

View more details on electrician salaries across the United States.

If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at United States Navy, IBEW, and Tradesmen International. These three companies have hired a significant number of electricians from these institutions.

In general, electricians fulfill roles in the construction and manufacturing industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the electrician annual salary is the highest in the energy industry with $54,497 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the construction and manufacturing industries pay $53,029 and $49,614 respectively. This means that electricians who are employed in the energy industry make 39.3% more than electricians who work in the government Industry.

The three companies that hire the most prestigious electricians are:

    What Journeyman Ironworkers Do

    We looked at the average electrician annual salary and compared it with the average of a journeyman ironworker. Generally speaking, journeyman ironworkers receive $19,378 lower pay than electricians per year.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between electricians and journeyman ironworkers are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like hand tools, construction projects, and heavy equipment.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. An electrician responsibility is more likely to require skills like "electrical systems," "run conduit," "transformers," and "plc." Whereas a journeyman ironworker requires skills like "structural steel," "rebar," "bolt-up," and "equipment operators." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Journeyman ironworkers tend to reach similar levels of education than electricians. In fact, journeyman ironworkers are 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.3% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Plumber Helper?

    A plumber helper is responsible for assisting the head plumber in installing plumbing systems, conducting preventive maintenance, and repairing broken components. Plumber helpers inspect and maintain the stability and condition of all the plumbing equipment to avoid potential hazards and ensure no delays in operations. They also adjust pipe systems, replace outdated gutters, and adhere to the highest safety standards and protocols during operations. A plumber helper must have excellent organizational and mechanical skills to perform services under minimal supervision and strict timetables.

    Now we're going to look at the plumber helper profession. On average, plumber helpers earn a $22,930 lower salary than electricians a year.

    A similarity between the two careers of electricians and plumber helpers are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "hand tools," "hvac," and "construction projects. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real electrician resumes. While electrician responsibilities can utilize skills like "electrical systems," "run conduit," "transformers," and "plc," some plumber helpers use skills like "cast iron," "pex," "sewer lines," and "water heaters."

    On average, plumber helpers earn a lower salary than electricians. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, plumber helpers earn the most pay in the construction industry with an average salary of $41,284. Whereas, electricians have higher paychecks in the energy industry where they earn an average of $54,497.

    In general, plumber helpers study at similar levels of education than electricians. They're 0.3% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.3% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Journeyman Compares

    A journeyman is an experienced worker whose role will vary on the line of industry where one is involved. They work without supervision from a master craftsman. Most of the responsibilities will revolve around performing manual work such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical and mechanical tasks, and other forms of trade. Furthermore, a journeyman can choose whether to work independently or to be part of a business entity. They can also recruit and train an apprentice, or even pursue to become a master in their preferred field.

    The third profession we take a look at is journeyman. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than electricians. In fact, they make a $6,530 lower salary per year.

    By looking over several electricians and journeymen resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "electrical systems," "hand tools," and "plc." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from electrician resumes include skills like "run conduit," "transformers," "high voltage," and "control panels," whereas a journeyman might be skilled in "layout," "safety procedures," "facility," and "emergency. "

    Journeymen make a very good living in the utilities industry with an average annual salary of $59,507. Whereas electricians are paid the highest salary in the energy industry with the average being $54,497.

    Journeymen typically study at similar levels compared with electricians. For example, they're 0.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Wireman

    The fourth career we look at typically earns higher pay than electricians. On average, wiremen earn a difference of $3,115 higher per year.

    While their salaries may vary, electricians and wiremen both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "electrical systems," "hand tools," and "transformers. "

    Each job requires different skills like "run conduit," "osha," "preventive maintenance," and "plan layout," which might show up on an electrician resume. Whereas wireman might include skills like "layout," "safety standards," "assembly instructions," and "control points."

    Wiremen reach similar levels of education when compared to electricians. The difference is that they're 0.9% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 0.2% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.