Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 30, 2014
version 7, draft 7

How to Become an Electrician

Electricians work to light up homes, streets and sports stadiums and power businesses and factories. They do this by installing and maintaining electrical power, as well as lighting, communication and control systems. If you possess superb technical and practical skills and don’t fancy office-based jobs, you could become an electrician.

What do Electricians do?

The duties of electricians vary with the type of projects they work on. For example, some electricians work on projects that involve distribution of power to people’s homes, while others work on complex engineering projects, such as the industrial conversion of the sun’s energy into electricity. Therefore,

  • Installation electricians install power, lighting and fire protection systems in all types of buildings
  • Maintenance electricians inspect electrical systems and equipment to ensure they are working properly
  • Machine repair and rewind electricians perform repairs on electrical equipment and machinery, such as electric motors and transformers
  • Highway systems electricians install and maintain traffic management and street lighting systems.

Work Environment

Like most professionals, electricians work from Monday to Friday, hitting a total of 37 hours. This can, however, increase to 42 due to the possibility of overtime and emergencies. Electricians working in factories work in shifts to provide 24-hour cover.

Some electricians often travel between different worksites where they are contracted to install, maintain or repair power systems. Occasionally, these experts may work in cramped spaces in order to reach electrical wires and equipment. Depending on the worksite, electricians may need to wear protective equipment, such as safety hats and hearing protectors.

Salary

The following table highlights the amount of money electricians can expect to earn.

Job Level

Potential Annual Salary

First year apprentices

 around £8,000

Newly qualified electricians

£17,000 - £20,000

Experienced electricians

£23,000 - £30,000

Source: National Careers Service

 

Education and Training

To become an electrician, you need Level 3 qualifications that are recognised in the electric power industry. Examples of such courses include;

  • Level 3 Diploma in Electrotechnical Services
  • Level 3 Diploma in Electrotechnical Systems & Equipment (Buildings and Structures)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems & Equipment (Building, Structures and the Environment).

To qualify for these courses, you must complete an electrotechnical apprenticeship program or Level 1 certificate and Level 2 Diploma in electrical installations.

Qualified electricians with foreign credentials must register for the Joint Industry Board’s Electrotechnical Card Scheme to prove they meet the UK’s standard of qualifications.

Important Skills, Interests and Abilities

Competent electricians should have;

  • Superior practical skills
  • Good attention to detail
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Ability to measure distances accurately
  • Good communication skills
  • Intricate understanding of electrical safety issues
  • Ability to read and interpret technical drawings and procedures

Career Development

After securing a job, you must work toward specialist qualifications to enhance your career progression prospects. You need to have relevant certifications in order to work on specific projects. For example, to take part in the installation of renewable technologies, you need to obtain an environment-related certification from the National Skills Academy. Other areas that need specialist certifications include;

  • Electrical Safety and Part P
  • Periodic Inspection and Testing

You can also pursue a higher national diploma, or bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, building service engineering or renewable energy technologies, and join the Institution of Engineering and Technology to access its career development resources.

Employment Opportunities

The biggest employers of electricians include;

  • Construction firms
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Utility service providers
  • Technical consulting firms
  • Power distribution companies

As you gain more job experience and secure advanced qualifications, you can become an electrical project manager.

For more information on the electric power industry, visit the following websites;

With an electrician’s career path now clearer, all you need to do is follow it!

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