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There are more than 666,900 electrician jobs in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And this number is only growing. Projections show that an additional 60,100 jobs will open up between the years 2016 and 2026.

What does this mean for you? To start with, congratulations that you’ve chosen a career path with plenty of room to grow. Unlike some other career choices, it’s not likely that you’ll get stuck browsing the want ads and wishing for a job. And by the time you complete your training, you’ll have plenty of practical experience under your belt.

Whether you’re in the classroom or training on the job, you’re learning a pretty amazing array of technical information. You’re getting experience working with wiring and other electrical components. And that experience helps to get you ready for your first job.

But is that all you need to know? Like any other job, working as an electrician takes knowledge in many different areas. Along with the technical know-how, take a look at what else you’ll need to learn about.

Communication Skills

Your job includes working with wiring and other parts of electrical systems. Does that mean you’ll only see wires, outlets and circuit breakers all day long? Chances are that you’ll see plenty of these. But you’ll also see people too. Working as an electrician means working with people. Whether you work for a company that does residential jobs or you work for a commercial provider, you need to interact with the client.

This means you need to know how to effectively communicate with the customer. Yes, you’ll assess the electrical components to find out what’s wrong or what the job includes. But you also need to talk to the home or business owner. Knowing how to get the right information from them and how to give them the facts are absolutely essential in order to do your job.

The more time you spend talking to clients, the better you’ll get at it. Think of communication as another one of the on-the-job skills that you need to master.

Cooperation With Others

Customers aren’t the only people who you’ll have contact with. Depending on where you work, you may need to interact with other electricians or other contractors. Knowing how to get along with your co-workers and other technicians who are on the same job site is key to your success.

Like communication, you can learn cooperation skills on the job. With each person you work with, you’ll have the opportunity to grow cooperation abilities and learn what works or doesn’t work.

Business Know-How

Do you want to work for yourself someday? Electricians don’t need to stay put and work for a larger company. Plenty of people work in this field long enough to eventually open their own business. If you want to run your own company someday, you’ll need to learn about operating a business.

This learning includes developing skills in a variety of different areas, such as marketing, organization and leadership. Even though you can hire other people (such as an HR manager or a marketing pro) down the road, when you start out, you may need to do some of these tasks yourself.

How can you learn about running a business? There are several different paths. You can take business classes (even if you don’t get a full degree). Or you can learn from someone who has already been where you want to go. Find a mentor who will let you learn by watching and through one-on-one counseling. This experience gives you a firsthand lesson in how to run a business – before you start one yourself.

Are you ready to start on the path to becoming an election? IEC Greater Cincinnati can help.