Have you been thinking about going to school to become an electrician? If so, you’re in luck! The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released its new predictions for job growth, and the news for prospective electricians is good. Through 2022, almost 115,000 new jobs are expected to open up in this field, which represents 20 percent growth. This fast expansion is predicted to be the result of overall growth in the construction industry, improvements in alternative power generation, and the need for more electricians to maintain and repair older equipment. The best opportunities will be for electricians with a wide variety of skills and experience.
The most common way to become an electrician is through an apprenticeship program, which combines classroom-based technical training with on-the-job training. Apprenticeships in this field are highly competitive, and many students start by attending a technical school and then applying their credits to an apprenticeship program. In most states, electricians must pass a licensing test before they can practice their trade. Completion of an approved program is usually required to be eligible to sit for the exam.
Even after passing the test and getting a license, an electrician’s education is not over. Technology improves, electrical codes are updated, and new products come on the market, so many electricians continue to take courses and trainings throughout their career. The reward for getting the right training and keeping your skills up to date can be high—in 2012, the median salary for electricians was almost $50,000, with the top 10 percent earning more than $80,000.
Electrician programs offered by trade and technical schools provide a valuable introduction to many concepts in the field, including reading blueprints and technical drawings, electrical codes and safety regulations, and the science of electricity. This information is essential to understand before you arrive at a job site and start stripping wires and making connections. Electrical work is rewarding, but potentially very hazardous, so you need to arm yourself with the best information possible before heading out into the field.
Electricians also need a variety of skills that don’t involve actual electrical wiring. For example, electricians who run their own businesses need business skills from project management to inventory tracking. Electricians who interact directly with clients need excellent communication skills. Attending an approved training program is one of the best ways to obtain these essential skills.
If you’ve been considering an electrician training program, now’s the time to get serious. With over 100,000 jobs expected to open up in the next several years, knowledgeable and capable electricians will be highly in demand. If you enjoy building things and working with your hands, now is a great time to explore your options in this growing field.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electricians. Occupational Outlook Handbook.