Are U.S. electricians in high demand? U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - knoweasy

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Are U.S. electricians in high demand? U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

November 13, 2021


Duties of an electrician

Electricians typically perform the following operations.

  1. Read blueprints or technical diagrams
  2. Install and maintain wiring, control, and lighting systems
  3. Inspect electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers
  4. Identify electrical problems using a variety of test equipment
  5. Repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures using hand and power tools
  6. Comply with state and local building codes based on the National Electrical Code
  7. Instruct and train workers to install, maintain or repair electrical wiring or equipment

Almost every building has power, communication, lighting, and control system that is installed during construction and maintained thereafter. These systems power the lights, appliances, and equipment that make it easier and more comfortable to live and work.

Installing electrical systems in new buildings is often easier than maintaining equipment in existing buildings because it is easier to access the wires during construction. Maintaining equipment and systems involves identifying problems and repairing damaged equipment that is sometimes difficult to reach. Maintenance may include repairing or replacing parts, light fixtures, control systems, motors, and other types of electrical equipment.

Electricians read blueprints, which include technical drawings of electrical systems that show the location of circuits, outlets, and other equipment. They use different types of hand tools and power tools, such as pipe benders, to run and protect wiring. Other common tools include screwdrivers, wire strippers, drills, and saws. While troubleshooting, electricians may also use ammeters, voltmeters, thermal scanners, and cable testers to find problems and ensure components are working properly.

Electricians work in an environment

Electricians work indoors and outdoors in homes, businesses, factories, and construction sites. Because electricians must travel to different job sites, they often have to commute locally or over long distances.

On job sites, they occasionally work in confined spaces. Standing and kneeling for long periods can be tiring. Electricians may be exposed to dirt, dust, debris, or fumes. Those who work outdoors may be exposed to hot or cold temperatures and inclement weather. Those who work in factories are often exposed to noisy machinery.

Electricians may be required to work in high places, such as on construction sites, inside buildings, or in renewable energy projects.

How to become an electrician


A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become an electrician.

Some electricians start by attending a technical school. Many technical schools offer courses related to electrical circuits, safety practices, and basic electrical information. Graduates of these programs often receive credit for apprenticeships.


Most electricians learn their skills in a four- or five-year apprenticeship program. For each year of the program, apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and some technical instruction.

Workers with electrical experience in the military or construction industry may qualify for a shorter apprenticeship based on their experience and testing.

Technical instruction for apprentices includes electrical theory, blueprint reading, math, electrical code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. They may also receive specialized training related to welding, communications, fire alarm systems, and elevators.

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship requirements vary by state and region.

Some electrical contractors have training programs that are not recognized as apprenticeship programs but include technical and on-the-job training. While most workers enter apprenticeships directly, some electricians enter apprenticeships after working as helpers. The Home Builders Association offers the Preapprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) program to eight construction trades, including electricians.

Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, electricians are considered traveling workers and may perform their duties by local or state licensing requirements.

Licensing, Certification, and Registration

Most states require electricians to pass a test and obtain a license. Requirements vary from state to state. For more information, contact your local or state electrical licensing board. Many of the requirements can be found on the National Electrical Contractors Association website.

Questions for testing related to the National Electrical Code as well as state and local electrical codes, all of which set standards for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment.

Electricians may need to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses. These courses are often related to safety practices, changes in electrical codes, and manufacturer training for specific products.

Electricians may obtain additional certifications that demonstrate competency in areas such as solar photovoltaics, power generation, or lighting systems.

Electricians may be required to hold a driver's license.

Earnings of Electricians in the United States

In May 2021, the median annual salary for electricians was $56,900. The median wage is the wage where half of the workers in the occupation earn more than that amount and the other half earn less than that amount. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $33,810 and the highest 10 percent earn more than $98,720.

Apprentices earn less than fully trained electricians, but as they learn to do more work, their pay increases.

Almost all electricians work full time. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends and may vary during periods of inclement weather. Electricians are expected to work overtime during scheduled maintenance or at construction sites.

Job Outlook for Electricians in the United States

The employment of electricians is expected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, as fast as the average for all occupations.

Over the past decade, an average of about 84,700 electrician job openings is expected to occur each year. Many of these job openings are expected to be due to the need to replace workers who move to a different occupation or exit the labor market (e.g., retire).


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