Now is an excellent time to be an electrician. These professionals are in high demand as residential housing and commercial facilities age and as new development increases. But what does it take to win the job as an electrician? It’s more than a slick resume. Here is a sampling of the critical characteristics and skills of the most sought after electricians. See if you fit the bill.
The Job Description
Each electrical job is unique, but to get hired on as a full-time electrician, chances are that you will find some similarities in the jobs you apply to. In general, electricians are expected to install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories. They work indoors and outdoors, in a variety of conditions, and often require at least some technical schooling, apprentice work, and licensing.
But don’t let similarities across different job descriptions allow you to let your guard down. When you are applying for jobs, be sure you read the description in full, because that can be a great resource for identifying the skills and qualities that will get you hired.
Employment of electricians is projected to grow much faster than the national average at an impressive 14 percent from 2014 to 2024. As homes and businesses require more wiring, electricians will be needed to install the necessary components. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job prospects for electricians should be very good, as many employers report difficulty finding qualified applicants. The skills gap can work to your benefit as employers are looking for the best of the best and willing to pay for the professionals they do find.
The median pay for U.S. electricians in 2016 was $52,720 per year or $25.35 per hour, depending on the project, very competitive given the education level required for the position. The median income of other non-college educated professionals comes in at about $30,000 in the U.S.
Qualifications and Critical Skills
Many employers look for electricians with one-year on-the-job training or full-time experience as an electrician or equivalent trade skill. Many employers look for candidates with specific experience in operation, electrical codes, and other industrial requirements. Previous experience is always a good thing. The ability to read and write in English is always important, as are basic math skills and manipulation of calculations. Many states have specific electrical licenses that they will require from applicants.
Other important skills include business skills, customer service skills, critical thinking skills, troubleshooting abilities, color vision, as well as the appropriate physical stamina and strength to work standing or walking all day and lift heavy components into position. They must be able to read blueprints or technical diagrams, install and maintain wiring, control, and lighting systems, inspect electrical components, and identify problems using a variety of testing devices. Electricians must be able to repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures as needed, using hand and power tools. They are called on to follow state and local building regulations based on the National Electrical Code and should be confident in the ability to direct and train another worker to assist in these tasks.
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