News & Events
May 25, 2021
Choosing the Right Career Path as an Apprentice Electrician
Before you decide to start a career as an electrician, you’ll need to set goals to guide you through your journey. The easiest way to do so is to understand what the job entails and where to put your focus.
But first, you should understand what areas you can specialize in, as well as the professional requirements involved. This way, you’ll know exactly where you want to go with your career and how to get there.
Areas of Specialization
Some of the most common areas of electrician specializations include:
- Residential electricians. These professionals are trained to maintain, repair, and upgrade home electrical systems. They work with electrical units such as heating, cooling, and lighting systems.
- Commercial electricians. These electrician’s duties are almost the same as those of their residential counterparts — except they work in commercial properties. These buildings often have many people working there. So, for commercial electricians, public safety should always come first.
- Industrial electricians. These expert’s skills focus on working with heavy machinery and advanced computerized systems. You’ll find these technicians in large power plants and other large-scale factories.
- Construction electricians. These electricians focus on the installation of electrical equipment in buildings under construction.
- Emergency electricians. These professionals are trained to respond to emergencies, even outside their work hours. That’s because some electrical issues need prompt attention to ensure minimal disruption.
Deciding where to specialize requires you to put in some thought. Read through the additional considerations below to help you decide on the direction you want your career to take.
Additional Job Specialties
Although the field and even the area of specialization may be the same, specific electrical specialties are quite different from each other. For instance, electrical maintenance work has different procedures from installation work. Similarly, an emergency electrician’s job is to fix emergency power issues while a panel builder designs electrical systems.
As an aspiring future electrician, you will need to find what piques your interest among the career specialty options available to you. Assessing respective job descriptions will help guide your final decision.
Work Environment and Safety
As an aspiring professional, there will always be a risk of injury when doing your job. However, some specialties carry a much bigger risk than others. For instance, an outside line technician is at a much bigger risk of possible injury. They work directly with live high voltage wires.
A residential electrical maintenance expert won’t have to do that. Thankfully, safety equipment will shield you from harm if you decide to take a riskier path. If that doesn’t work for you, you can choose a safer and less physical electrical specialty.
Your work hours also play a role in your work environment. This factor has a huge effect on your work-life balance. Emergency jobs, for instance, require you to clock in outside your regular work hours, perhaps even during your free time.
On the other hand, industrial electrical work follows a schedule that compensates an electrician for any extra hours. While both jobs have their specific benefits, it comes down to your preferences as a future electrician.
Training and Certification
As an apprentice, you can get paid as you learn on the job, regardless of your specialty. On-job training helps you develop the hard skills you’ll need to advance in your career. But the training is different for every type of specialization.
For instance, industrial electricians will need in-depth training on basic electrical knowledge. On top of that, they’ll need knowledge on how to operate high voltage machinery.
A residential electrician, on the other hand, is trained to handle electrical problems that a home might have, be it malfunctioning appliances or wiring repair. Certification and licensing will require you to work under an experienced expert for about 8,000 hours.
Whatever electrician path you choose to take, your training will play a crucial role in your success. Sign up for your training at the Independent Electrical Contractors of Greater Cincinnati today and kick-start your career.