Trades & Services

Electrician

Electricians install and maintain electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.

  • Entry-level education

    Apprenticeship

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an Electrician do?

Electricians install and maintain electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.

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Work activities

Electricians work in a very wide range areas, from installing power in homes and offices, to major engineering projects. They also work with renewable technology, such as wind turbines, 'smart' heating systems and photovoltaic systems that produce solar power.

As an electrician, you would install, inspect and test equipment, make sure that electrotechnical systems work, and find and fix faults. Electrotechnical careers are divided into different areas:

  • installing electrical systems, lighting, fire protection, security and data-network systems in all types of buildings
  • maintaining systems to make sure that they are working efficiently and safely
  • building and installing control panels that operate the electrical systems inside buildings
  • repairing and maintaining electrical motors and other machinery like transformers
  • installing and maintaining street lighting and traffic management systems.

You could work in all kinds of buildings, including homes, offices, shops and sports stadiums. You may also supervise other people in a team.

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Key skills and interests

To become an electrician, you would need:

  • good practical skills
  • an ability to follow technical drawings, building plans and wiring diagrams
  • an ability to work carefully, methodically and safely
  • a head for heights and willingness to work in all sorts of weather
  • a willingness to work in confined spaces
  • good written and spoken communication skills.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You will normally work a standard week, Monday to Friday, with the possibility of overtime. You may work shifts, or you may be on call where 24-hour cover is provided.

Conditions

You would travel from job to job. A valid drivers’ licence may be necessary.

You might have to work in cramped spaces to reach electrical cabling and equipment, and you might sometimes work at heights on scaffolding, for example on a construction site.

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How to become an Electrician?

Entry Level Education

To become an electrician you usually have to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship in Electrotechnology Electrician, Electrotechnology - Systems Electrician or Engineering - Electrical/Electronic Trade. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent and some may prefer senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

After completing your apprenticeship or traineeship, you can apply for an electrical licence in order to carry out unsupervised work.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of electricians is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

As homes and businesses require more wiring, electricians will be needed to install the necessary components. Overall growth of the construction industry and the need to maintain older industrial equipment will require more electricians.

Alternative power generation, such as solar and wind, is an emerging field that should require more electricians for installation. Increasingly, electricians will be needed to link these alternative power sources to homes and power grids over the coming decade. Employment growth stemming from these sources, however, will largely be dependent on government policy.

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