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An Electrifying Career
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To put it frankly, electricians make a considerable amount of money. It takes skill, knowledge, and training to work in the field and those that have an aptitude for it are the ones making the big bucks (the $40/hr kind of big). Skilled electricians are always in high demand. 

When was the last time you were in a building without electricity? The answer is: you weren't. Nowadays even cars are becoming electric. Although that's an entirely different type of work altogether, the point is that electricity is a source of energy that is relied on by the world and people knowledgeable in it can use it to find work wherever they choose to apply it. One of the many perks in becoming an electrician is that you get to earn while you learn. During your apprenticeship training, you'll be compensated for your time as well.

By following the course to becoming an electrician, many make a fulfilling living for themselves and even become entrepreneurs. For those who may be interested or aren't sure whether they are interested, this will give you some insight into what it takes to becoming and being an electrician.

What Does An Electrician Do?
An electrician is a professional like many others that fall into two categories: specialists and generalists. Specialists include commercial, industrial, and maintenance. But no matter which category, they all have to be able to perform electrical installation, repairs and maintenance in both business and residential buildings. Training involves working on building assessment, connectivity, heating, and security systems. Others types of specialization deals with wiring and electrical systems as well as working with electronic equipment and machinery.

Sparking the First Steps
Before diving into the the electrical field, there are some necessary requirements that need to be met. These are: having a high school diploma or GED; have taken high school algebra, in good physical shape, and don't use drugs. These things will be checked for in the early stages of the process. 

Decide whether you want to be a general electrician or a specialist. Then join an apprenticeship program sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), or Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC). Apprenticeship programs give you hands-on training couple with what you learn in the classroom and these take about four years to complete. In terms of hours, you'll get at least 144 in classroom instruction and 8000 of on-the-job training during your apprenticeship years.

Another way to get your electrician career started is by going to a technical vocational school or traning academy. Taking this route gives you the classroom knowledge first and afterward you look for an apprenticeship program. Some people take the advantage of military training in the electrical field as many Army and Navy programs offer great preparation for aspiring electricians.

Educating yourself in the field will be an ongoing process throughout your career since electrians have to stay current with the latest advancements in technology.

Evoke Your Inner Electrician
You'll have to get licensed which requires passing a licensing exam that tests your knowledge of electrical theory, the national electrical code, in addition to the local electronic and building codes. There is plenty of room for advancement in the electrical field as well. For those who are bilingual in English and Spanish, training to be supervisor or manager can be a good career option.

Usually electricians work a full 40-hr work week and the median annual salary is about $47,180 but can range from $28,690 to $80,260. Many also work part-time, on-call or on a per project basis as contractors. The largest employers of electricians are building equipment contractors but if you're really trying to strike it rich in the industry head to Tinseltown. The best incomes are in the motion picture and video industries where the average is $75,550 per year. These positions are harder to get, though, because they are more limited and have stringent union requirements.

Between 2008 and 2018 the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there there will be a 12 percent increase in electrician jobs. The demand will probably stem from new construction being created to accommodate a growing production. Electricians feel pride in their job because they play an extremely relevant role in the workforce. Their work is an essential aspect in both industrial and residential construction.