Electricians install and maintain electrical systems, including lighting and control systems, for public and private clients.
Most public and private locations use some sort of electrical power for lighting, communication systems, appliances, and sound systems. Any system that involves electrical wiring is usually installed and maintained by an electrician. Installing these systems while buildings are constructed is usually easier and less complicated than updating or renovating a building.
Electricians need to be able to read construction documents, plans, and specifications in order to understand the location of wiring in a building. Fortunately, most electrical plans show where all of the circuits, outlets, and other devices are located, and special tools have been developed over the years to help electricians to perform their work safely and more efficiently, such as the short tester able to identify the short in a circuit.
Although electricians normally work alone, when designing new buildings they may need to work with engineers and architects in order to ensure that no building conflict arise. To that end, the introduction of building information modeling has helped to reduce the likelihood of problems. Electricians may also work in teams if they are part of a large company, and some may supervise new apprentices.
The following are examples of types of electricians:
High-voltage electricians work on systems that are high voltage, including power lines and generators.
Interior electricians work solely on systems inside buildings.
Residential electricians work in residential homes by installing electrical systems, updating old systems, or diagnosing and fixing electrical problems.
Being an electrician is considered to be a trade career that generally requires an apprenticeship in order to become licensed, as required by law. Although the primary requirement to become an apprentice electrician is a high-school diploma or equivalent, many aspiring electricians attend technical school. Programs at these schools may offer specific certifications and training that count as credit toward completing an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships typically last 3–4 years, after which a journeyman’s license is awarded. This allows the electrician to work without supervision. Many go on to become master certified electricians, which requires additional education and professional experience.
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