An electrician is a specialist who understands the wiring of building, machines and equipment. Since the field extends to so many different areas, the job of an electrician may be varied, or they can choose a specialty which would make the work less varied. Electricians may work in the private, corporate, government, or military sectors depending upon their specialization.
Electricians are trained in three levels. The first of these is the Apprentice level. This is where an electrician works under a Master electrician, or in some cases a Journeyman, to learn the ins-and-outs of the field. All of their work is supervised and they will take classroom instruction in addition to their field training. The apprentice position will generally last three to six years.
Journeymen have completed their apprenticeship training and have completed the several hundred hours of training. They are also certified by a board on either the local, state, or national level as competent in their field. The training does not stop at this point as Journeymen must stay current on the latest information pertinent to their field.
After a period of seven to ten years, in which the Journeyman has proven himself knowledgeable and competent, he is then eligible to take his test to become a Master Electrician. He, or she, must demonstrate that they have a superior knowledge and comprehension of the National Electrical Code. Not all electrician’s will achieve the rank of Master Electrician, and may opt instead to remain as Journeymen.
Electricians, regardless of their level, are placed into two general categories. Wiremen usually train in either commercial, light industrial, industrial, low-voltage wiring or residential specialties and work with lower voltages. They may have sub-specialties which they are proficient in as well.
For the electrical companies, who output and distribute electricity at higher voltages, linemen are used. Linemen will ensure that all of the circuits being used are safe for consumer use and optimized for productivity. They are also in charge of the maintenance and construction of power lines and will inspect them frequently.
Every category of electrician requires a strong work ethic and a great deal of self discipline. It is physically demand and will frequently require climbing ladders, carrying conduit, and squeezing into small spaces. There is a certain level of hazard when on the job site, but being aware and knowing the job limits these dangers.
There is a great deal of growth available for electricians, they may eventually become supervisors, managers, or they may opt to set out on their own and become independent contractors. Depending on the location where they work, there may be more or less competition, but, as is the case with most jobs in the electrical industries, demand is only expected to increase with time.