Almost all buildings throughout the country have electrical power, communications and lighting, and trained electricians are needed to set up these systems and perform routine maintenance on them — they are the experts we trust with this important work.

In the construction industry, electricians install and maintain electrical wiring, control and lighting systems and fix problems before they get out of hand. They usually do this work after reading blueprints and taking time to understand the comprehensive building plan they are working on. Electricians need to be expertly trained to do their work safely, especially given the complexities involved.

A Day in the Life of an Electrician

Because electricians work on a variety of different job sites, their job and duties tend to change all the time. They might be updating wiring to an older home one day only to work on the electrical component of a large commercial project the next.

Still, no matter the job site — large or small — the core functions of an electrician tend to stay the same. Duties performed by electricians can include:

  • Reading blueprints or technical diagrams to learn about electrical plans
  • Installing wiring, control and lighting systems
  • Maintaining electrical systems, including performing routine updates
  • Inspecting electrical components, including transformers and circuit breakers
  • Testing electrical systems to find errors or problems
  • Replacing faulty wiring or equipment
  • Learning about state and local building regulations
  • Directing other workers on how to maintain and install electrical components on building projects

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, many electricians work alone. However, they may collaborate with additional electricians on larger, new construction jobs that have large electrical systems planned. Older, more seasoned electricians may also oversee the work of newer professionals, especially when they first start on the job.

Because electricians are always hopping from job to job, many find this work more exciting than other, more traditional jobs. Electricians never know where they'll work next or what type of challenges they'll face, yet they show up and do their best regardless.

Important Characteristics for Electricians

Some of the attributes that can help electricians be successful include great critical-thinking skills and solid judgment. This is not only because a lot of decisions need to be made on the job site, but because there is a lot of danger involved at these sites as well.

Electricians also need great communication skills to be able to talk and collaborate with other construction professionals. Because electricians work with wires of varying colors, they need to have color vision to do the job. Lastly, electricians need good physical strength and stamina to perform the physical and demanding aspects of their jobs.

Typical Steps for Becoming an Electrician

Becoming an electrician typically requires a few years of education that include an apprenticeship. If you are interested in this career, here are the steps you'll need to take:

1. Earn a high school diploma or equivalent. The first step to getting started in an electrician career is earning a high school diploma or completing a GED. You need this credential to move on to the next step of electrician training.

2. Attend community college or technical school. While not all electricians attend technical school or community college, many do. Electrician training schools offer textbook training and hands-on instruction on topics such as circuitry, safety practices and basic electrical work. Students who pursue studies like this typically receive credit toward an apprenticeship. While a degree may not be necessary for employment, there are numerous degree options one can pursue in this field. Popular options offered at electrician school include:

  • Associate Degree in Electrical Technology
  • Electrician Online Diploma
  • Electrician Certificate Program

3. Complete an apprenticeship. Most electricians learn the bulk of their job skills during a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program. These programs typically include paid, on-the-job training in conjunction with classroom instruction. After an apprenticeship is completed from start to end, electricians are considered independent workers who may perform jobs on their own.

4. Become licensed to work in your state. Most states require electricians to be licensed to work in their careers. Licensing typically involves taking a test to show your knowledge of the National Electrical Code and state and local codes in your area. Your knowledge of electrical safety will also be tested.

5. Complete continuing education courses. Electricians in certain states may be required to take continuing education courses. These courses cover changes in electrical theory or practice, new safety procedures, and training on certain products.


  • Electrical Technology Associate Degree, New England Institute of Technology, https://www.neit.edu/Programs/Associate-Degree-Programs/Building-Technologies/Electrical-Technology
  • Electricians, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-24 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm
  • Online Electrician Training, Penn Foster Online Career School, https://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/construction-and-maintenance/residential-electrician-career-diploma

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Electrician jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 19,120 $61,100
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 18,130 $49,880
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 15,870 $44,260
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 10,820 $48,140
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 10,320 $47,750
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 10,240 $49,860
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 10,210 $60,650
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 9,010 $84,960
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 8,840 $68,040
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 8,230 $50,020

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Electricians

Use our handy tool to see what employment and salary numbers look like for two different metro areas

Select State
Select Metro Area 1
Select Metro Area 2

Total employment and salary for professions similar to electricians

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Construction Trades 465,090 74% $45,120
Government 23,550 3% $51,830
Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 18,130 2% $62,670
Construction 15,280 2% $44,220
Office Services And Staffing 13,140 2% $39,850
Utilities 8,510 1% $59,140
Education 8,020 1% $47,300
Civil Engineering 7,140 1% $47,530
Metals 6,620 1% $49,490
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.
Results:  4
Matching School Ads
  • Degree - Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
  • Certificate - Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • HVAC Technician (11-month diploma program)
  • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
camnpus icon
San Marcos
Request Info
  • Heating, Ventilation, and AC
  • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
  • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
  • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
  • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • HVAC/R
  • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
  • Computer Support Technician program is based on guidelines set by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and Microsoft.
  • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
  • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 2 locations in Cathedral City and Twentynine Palms, California.
camnpus icon
Cathedral City
Request Info

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Electrician.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

Back to Top