Is the electrical trade the right career for you? The road to becoming a professional electrician includes years of formal training and on-the-job practical apprenticeship experience. If you’re not sure whether to start down this path, take a look at the questions to ask right now.
Do You Have Years to Invest in Training?
Unlike some other jobs, you can’t start a career as an electrician after a one-semester course or six-month program. Electricians are specialized professionals who have extensive knowledge of complex residential and commercial wiring systems, mathematics, and safety procedures. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electricians may need between four and five years of apprenticeship program experience.
Along with thousands of hours of experience gained through hands-on apprenticeships, electricians also often complete classroom-based career or trade school training programs. Before you start an electrical trade school program or begin an apprenticeship, ask yourself if you can invest years into your training.
Are There Jobs in Your Area?
Electricians are almost always in demand. Between 2019 and 2029, jobs in the electrical trades are projected to grow at a much faster than average rate of eight percent, according to the United States BLS. This includes the expected addition of 62,200 jobs to the 739,200 national positions that currently exist.
Even though the BLS’s statistics show positive signs of growth in the field, you need to make sure your area follows this national trend. To learn more about the availability of electrician jobs in your area, talk to local electricians, associations, or organizations.
Professionals who already work in electrical jobs can help you to understand the local market and provide real-world insights. If the people you speak to feel the local job market is currently saturated with professionals, ask about their thoughts on future potential jobs and the number of new electricians entering the field. There may be only a few new apprentices and electricians which means a packed field could open up soon.
What Hours Do You Want to Work?
You might be a few years until you work your first job as a licensed electrician. But again, you’ll need to complete on-the-job training as an apprentice. Whether you have a preference right now or in the future, you need to learn more about the average hours in a workday before you start training.
You can get more information on the hours electricians usually work from a licensed professional. Talk to a few different electricians who work in different environments. The specific days and hours you’ll work depend on the area of the field you choose to specialize in and your specific job. Some residential and commercial electricians work Monday through Friday during daytime hours, while others may work evenings or weekend emergency relief shifts.
Will Your Future Job Meet Your Financial Goals?
Do you have dreams of homeownership, paying for your children’s college education, or other financial goals? A career as an electrician can help you to achieve financial freedom. But this doesn’t mean you’ll become a millionaire a month into your first job. According to the BLS, in 2020 the median pay for an electrician was $56,900 annually or $27.36 per hour. These numbers represent national averages, entry-level to seasoned professionals, and include electricians in a range of different positions and industries.
If your financial goals include a high six-figure salary, you shouldn’t expect the years of training you invest into the electrical trade to pay off immediately. But if the $56,900 national median pay sounds perfect or you plan to open your own business in the future, the electrical field can help you to make your financial dreams come true.
Are you ready to become an electrician? Contact the Independent Electrical Contractors of Greater Cincinnati for more information.