Electricians are the people who install and maintain the wires and fixtures that move electricity from the power station and through buildings. There is a growing need for chief electricians, control electricians, industrial electricians, maintenance electricians and more in California and the rest of the United States.
Becoming an electrician allows you to get a job that offers above-average pay without needing a four-year degree. If you’re good at problem-solving and like working with your hands, an the Electrical Technology program at San Joaquin Valley College could help you complete your electrician education and prepare to take the California General Electrician’s Certification Exam in as few as 10 to 14 months.
In order to be certified as a General Electrician in the State of California, pursuant to certification standards established by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, an applicant must pass a certification examination and complete 8000 hours of work for a C-10 electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining electrical systems covered by the National Electrical Code. For additional details, please visit https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ECU/ElectricalTrade.html.
Read on to explore how to become an electrician, how to get electrician training and whether becoming an electrician is right for you.
What Is an Electrician and What Does One Do?
Electricians install, maintain and repair components of the systems that provide electrical power in buildings and other structures. Electrical work also covers systems for communications and lighting as well as control systems in factories, commercial buildings, and residential buildings.1
Electricians perform tasks such as:
- Inspecting electrical components like circuit breakers.
- Installing and maintaining electrical wiring, controls, and lighting systems.
- Operating hand and power tools to repair or replace fixtures, wiring, and equipment.
- Overseeing and training other electrical workers.
- Reading blueprints that show where circuits, outlets and other equipment should be located in a building.
- Using testing devices to find electrical problems.
Electricians must understand and follow local and state building codes that are based on the National Electrical Code. They may work in buildings that are under construction, installing wiring and other equipment before it’s hidden behind walls.
Electricians who maintain equipment have to identify and repair equipment not working correctly. They may have to fix or replace parts of electrical equipment that could range from a lighting fixture to a motor.
Experienced electricians may help design the electrical system for a new building while working with a building engineer or architect. They may work with other contractors on projects such as HVAC design and installation.
Benefits of Being an Electrician
When you train as an electrician, you develop skills that are in demand. As you gain more experience and learn to do more as a chief electrician, your pay can increase.2
If you’re entrepreneurial, you can be self-employed and set your own work schedule by working as an electrical subcontractor for a home builder or construction company. You could also start your own electrical contracting company if you want to use your electrician skills to build a business.