What Do Electricians Do?
Note: Updated on 11/1/2019 to reflect the latest industry statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as updates to job specifications.
It’s tough to imagine our lives without electricity. It wasn’t that long ago people used candlelight instead of light bulbs and went without electrical outlets. We are so reliant on our electrical sources that when the power goes out at home or work, everything comes to a halt. Electricity makes it possible for us to use the internet, watch television, microwave meals and more. Without it, everyday life would be much different. You may be surprised if you stop to think about how much your day revolves around electricity, and it's always a challenge to adjust to a power outage and live off the grid for a few hours or days. Fortunately, skilled electricians work to ensure that when this occurs, they are available to help restore power and get the world back to business.
Electricians are more than just the modern superheroes of electricity. In between power outages, they constantly work on other projects such as rewiring equipment or fixtures, inspecting electrical components for safety, installing wiring and lighting, and troubleshooting electrical problems.
To become a skilled and successful electrician, one must have a number of important qualities. The most important is color vision. All wiring is identified by the color of the wire insulation, plus special markings (usually lines) that are often printed onto the wiring insulation. These too have specific colors. The wiring schematic is the key to deciphering which color wires connect to a specific device or power supply. Other important traits include troubleshooting electrical problems, which also requires critical thinking and excellent communication skills. Physical stamina and strength are also on the list of traits possessed by the most successful electricians.
Electricians Often Do the Following Tasks
- Read technical and wiring diagrams, including blueprints.
- Install systems for control and lighting systems.
- Inspect electrical systems.
- Troubleshoot & repair electrical malfunctions.
- Learn and adhere to state & local regulations based on the national electrical code.
- Train and manage other electrical workers in all aspects of the industry.
Electrician Job Growth
Electricians can look forward to excellent job growth for the next decade. As of 2018, there were 715,400 electricians employed industry-wide across the country; that number is expected to increase a full 10% by 2026. This is an addition of 74,000 new jobs for Electricians*.
While electricians will see this increased demand over the next few years, they can currently rely on there being a greater demand during peak periods of construction building and maintenance. As new buildings go up or renovations take place, contractors will be looking for more electricians to ensure that the jobs are completed on schedule.
Electricians often have rewarding careers, as they are constantly improving their skills and learning new regulations and products. If you are interested in learning more about the Electrician field, please visit our electrical program at Lincoln Tech. This is a truly hands-on course of learning, and it will prepare you to read blueprints, properly install and maintain components and prepare you to enter the field as a new journeyman electrician.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Electricians,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm (accessed/retrieved on September 10, 2019).