4 Things You Must Know Before Becoming An Electrician

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So you're thinking of becoming an electrician. If you've wondered about the risks involved, how much work goes into learning the skills, and what sort of future you can expect, it shows you're a careful planner. While it is a highly rewarding career, here's what you need to know before deciding whether or not it's right for you.

Training And Education

Becoming an electrician doesn't call upon years of formal schooling, but it does require lots of training and preparatory work. In fact, by the time you've earned the title of Master Electrician, you've put in almost as many years of education and hands-on training as those required to become a doctor. To start, potential electricians must have at least completed the 10th grade. However, if it's a union job you seek, you'll need to finish high school. After completing high school, many students will go on to trade school or college for several years, but again, this is not a requirement. According ElectricianAuthority.com, it simply looks better to potential employers.

What is required—whether a degree has been earned or not—is an apprenticeship with a master electrician. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) can assist you with hunting down apprenticeship opportunities. Completing an apprenticeship in Ontario requires 9,000 hours of work, which takes about 4-5 years of supervised field training and classroom instruction combined. Once your apprenticeship is complete, passing a test is required to become a journeyman electrician. After working as a journeyman for three years, employees are then eligible to take the master electrician exam. When all is said and done, a master electrician has put in 7-8 years of education and training.

Physical Labor And Risks Involved

While it certainly isn't the most dangerous job in Canada (logging takes the lead there), if you're going to be installing or repairing power lines, you are putting yourself at risk of electrocution as well as falls. But don't worry. Climbing power lines isn't for everyone.

Suppose you choose to just do residential work. For routine house calls, you can expect to be pulling large appliances out from the wall, reaching, bending, and squatting to locate the source of the problem. There will be some days you'll have to climb in the homeowner's attic and crawl around on the basement floor. Things like this can take their toll on your body over time, so make sure you keep yourself limber and in shape.

Quite often, you'll also have to navigate around outside, no matter what the weather conditions. After all, most electrical emergencies aren't going to wait until a warm, sunny day, will they? And you're the first in line to get the power up and running after a major ice storm, no matter what.

Expected Salary

While you're working on your apprenticeship, you will get paid, but you'll only make a percentage of what the master electrician makes, depending on where you live. For example, in Ontario, apprentices make 40% with 10% increases in pay as they pass through each phase of training. Rest assured, if you're dependable and demonstrate good skills, you can often negotiate a higher salary. 

After all that hard work and training over the course of 7-8 years, you certainly want to be compensated well. Fortunately, salaries for master electricians are pretty decent, ranging from $52,000-$70,000. Those who work for an industrial or power supply company or are a member of a union will generally be at the top of the pay scale.

Future Demand

By the year 2016, a large number of "baby boomer" electricians will be retiring. That means the industry will be suffering a huge loss. And this loss is exacerbated by the fact that much of Canada's electrical grid desperately needs updating.

Estimates show that 23,000 workers will be needed to fill in those gaps. So, in an effort to replace the dwindling work force, Electricity Human Resources Canada has begun a $350,000 campaign to lure females into traditionally male-occupied careers that include electrical, industrial, and construction work.

While it obviously isn't a necessity to hire females to replace the upcoming loss, women happen to remain a highly untapped resource—and wonderfully available solution—when it comes to the electrical sector. So whether you're male or female and considering a career as an electrician, your future definitely looks bright. Click here to continue reading about electricians and the opportunities of this profession.

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3 March 2015

Electricity: Designs, Troubleshooting and Hacks for Novices

Hi, my name is Joan, and I am glad you found my blog. This blog is for new homeowners, novices to the world of DIY and anyone who has a general question about electrical work. In this blog, I am going to include posts on how to spot issues, how to hack or troubleshoot challenges and even how to design the electrical systems for a new home or office. I am also going to include posts on when to call for professional help and how to choose an electrician. I hope that you enjoy reading and that these posts "electrify" you figuratively, but definitely not literally. Thanks for stopping by!