workers, there would be no lights, no computers, and no TV's plugged
into our walls. Electricians bring us electricity. They put in
the wires that carry electricity through houses, offices, and
factories. They also fix electric machines.
start by reading mapsócalled blueprintsóthat show how electricity
flows. Blueprints show where to put wires, electrical equipment,
and outlets for plugs. When working on a new building, electricians
draw new blueprints.
put tubes or pipes inside the walls. They also put small boxes
on the walls to hold switches and outlets. They pull wires through
the tubes to connect the boxes and make a path for the electricity
to follow. A path for electricity is called a circuit.
also add circuit breakers, transformers, and other equipment to
control how electricity flows. They make sure the right amount
of electricity goes to the machines that use it. Electricians
follow strict rules about how to wire buildings.
finish wiring, electricians use ohmmeters, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes
to measure the amount of electricity running through the system.
also install wires for telephones, computers, and fire alarms.
Sometimes, they use fiber optic cable.
electricians fix electric machines or broken wiring. Some focus
on houses. They might rewire a house. Or they could replace an
old fuse box with one that can run more appliances.
work in factories. They might fix motors, generators, and electronic
robots. They also inspect equipment and fix it before it breaks.
They tell managers when equipment is dangerous and should be replaced.
Electricians put in new electrical equipment, too.
use wire strippers, knives, hacksaws, and power tools. Some work
is hard because electricians stand for a long time and climb ladders.
Some electricians work in dusty, dirty, or hot places. But others
work in clean places.
to be careful to avoid falls, cuts, and electric shock. They need
good hand-eye coordination and to be good at seeing the different
colors of wire.
work nights and weekends instead of weekdays. Some travel far
to get to jobsites.
|How do you get ready to be an electrician?
start by becoming apprentices. As apprentices, they learn on the
job. They watch and listen to experienced workers. They also take
classes about electricity. They get paid while they learn. After
3 to 5 years, they are fully trained and can work on their own.
start with easy tasks like drilling holes and setting up pipe.
Later, they learn to connect wires and draw diagrams of the electrical
systems they build.
apprentices learn blueprint reading, electronics, math, safety,
and rules about electricity. They also learn about welding, communications
equipment, and elevators.
they finish an apprenticeship, electricians still take more classes.
They might learn more about telephone lines, computer lines, and
other kinds of special wiring. Most electricians also need to
get a license from the county where they work.
electricians can become supervisors and then superintendents.
Those with management skills often start their own business.
an apprentice, most people need a high school diploma or a G.E.D.
They also need to pass a skills test that includes math and science.
To get ready
for the test, it helps to take high school classes in science,
electronics, shop, and technical drawing. Math classes, like algebra,
are also very important. After high school, people can get training
in technical schools, community colleges, and the U.S. Armed Forces.
don't become apprentices can start training for the job by working
as helpers for electricians.
|How much does an electrician get paid?
In 2002, the
middle half of electricians earned between $14.95 and $26.50 an
hour. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $11.81. The
highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $33.21. People who worked
in car factories made the most.
are paid while they learn. To start, they usually earn between
40 and 50 percent of what fully trained electricians earn. They
make more as they learn.
659,000 electricians working in 2002. Most worked in construction
or maintenance. About 10 percent worked for themselves.
are expected to have good job opportunities. There will be lots
of job openings every year.
Jobs for electricians
are expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations
through the year 2012. As the economy grows, more electricians
will be needed to bring electricity to more homes, factories,
and other places. They also will be needed to install wire for
computers and telecommunications. More factories will be using
robots, whose controls electricians fix.
who work in construction sometimes have a hard time finding work
when the economy slows. Maintenance work is usually steadier.
The number of jobs depends on where you are.
|Are there other jobs like this?
about electricians can be found in the Careers
|Where can you find more information?