Career and Job Search Guide


Electricians wire building for electricity by installing fuses and wires, and some electricians install and repair electrical equipment inside buildings and factories.

Electricians often begin a project by examining blueprints that show where panel boards, load centers, circuits, and outlets will be located. Electricians must adhere to the National Electrical Code, state building codes, and local buildings codes to ensure the future occupants of the building they are wiring will be safe.

Electricians join wires to outlets, transformers, and circuit breakers with each wire connected to boxes with specialty connectors. Electricians use hand and power tools to complete their work. To test wiring and connections for functionality and safety, they use oscilloscopes, voltmeters, ohmmeters, and ammeters.

Electricians usually specialize in repairs or construction, but many electricians are capable of doing repairs and construction. Electricians involved with construction spend most their time wiring buildings. Those who specialize in repairs, spend their time fixing and improving existing equipment.

Before installing wires in building designed for industrial applications, electricians insert conduit inside covered areas, and place boxes where switches and outlets will located onto walls. After these steps are completed, electricians insert insulated wires into the conduit to link circuits to the boxes. Electricians determine what types and quantity of wire to use depending on how much power will flow through the building. More electricity can flow through thicker wires. Electricians who wire homes do not use conduit, instead using insulated wires made of plastic.

Certain electricians specialize in low-voltage wiring systems but repairers and line installers usually perform these types of jobs. Low-voltage wiring is used for video and phone technology, as well as fire and security detection systems. Fiber optic and coaxial wires are used for telecommunications technology and industrial controls.

Electricians specializing in maintenance repair electronic machines. They often replace wires, switches, fuses, and circuit breakers. Electricians also conduct frequent equipment examinations and perform preventative maintenance.

The repairs that maintenance electricians perform depends on the type of work they specialize in. Electricians who perform repairs for homeowners install new wiring, replace fuse boxes, and install new light fixtures.

Electricians working in industry, perform complicated maintenance, repairing complex machines, transformers, and motors. They also consult management about whether to replace or continue using equipment, and they often collaborate with other professionals such as engineers, technicians, or other maintenance specialists.

Work environment. Electricians can be found working inside and outside, at personal residences, factories, and construction worksites. Working as an electrician can be exhausting since they lift heavy loads, stand and knee for long stretches at a times, and twist and contort conduit. Working as an electrician can also be dangerous since there is always a risk to get cut or electrocuted, so it is essential to adhere to safety protocols. Some electricians work in inclement weather, and electricians often must spend a lot of time traveling to worksites.

Electricians usually work 40 hour weeks with occasional overtime. Electricians specializing in maintenance often work evenings, weekends, and whenever they are needed to perform a repair. Industrial electricians work overtime when factories or other firms organize equipment reviews. Factories that operate around the clock often run three shifts with electricians working during all of them.