A skilled electrician can restore power to a building when there is an outage. These professionals also repair electrical equipment. They are licensed by a governmental board to install electrical wiring. In addition, they are knowledgeable about the different testing equipment and HVAC systems. An electrician is also trained to work with renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.
An electrician can choose to be a member of a union, such as the Electrical Trade Union. Other unions include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Some trade associations offer apprenticeship programs. These apprenticeships last four to five years, and applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, have completed a year of algebra, and pass an aptitude test. They must also pass a drug and alcohol screening to prove that they are free of illegal substances.
Career opportunities as an electrician are plentiful. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians will see job growth of 9% over the next decade. Some electricians will advance to supervisors, project managers, or even municipal inspectors. These professionals will work in homes, commercial buildings, and construction sites, and may often work in hazardous weather.
Electricians must have a license to work in most states. Many obtain their licenses through apprenticeship programs, which provide hands-on experience. These programs can last anywhere from four to five years, and typically require hundreds of hours of technical courses.