6 In-Demand Electrician Skills
Employment of electricians is expected to climb by 6% between 2022 and 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). More than 70,000 electrician positions are expected to be available annually during the 10-year period. Despite this, a 2023 NPR report shows that application rates for skilled trade positions fell by 49% between 2020 and 2022, driving the demand for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and other skilled workers skyward.
Electricians are essential workers, which means that, with the right training and experience, they can have plentiful job opportunities and earn higher-than-average salaries. While a college degree is not typically a requirement to work in this field, participating in an electrical trade training program can provide the essential electrician skills required to thrive in the field.
What Is an Electrician?
Since every modern building requires electricity, skilled electricians are indispensable workers. They use their skills to design, install, maintain, and repair electrical systems and devices in homes, stores, warehouses, office buildings, and factories.
What Do Electricians Do?
An electrician’s exact duties will vary from one employer or job site to the next, but they fall into one of six categories.
- Installations: Installing everything from utility poles to the wiring behind a home’s walls, as well as certain types of built-in technology, light fixtures, and breaker boxes and panels
- Maintenance: Performing regular maintenance tasks, such as ensuring that all the installed components in a manufacturing facility are working safely and efficiently
- Repairs: Diagnosing electrical issues and providing the needed repairs in residential, commercial, and industrial settings
- Inspections: Inspecting existing and new systems to ensure they are functioning properly, and ensuring that the wiring and other components are up to local, state, and federal code
- Replacements: Replacing broken or outdated machinery and devices with new ones
- Blueprint development: Interpreting blueprints and other diagrams in order to safely and effectively diagnose or repair electrical systems, and creating and revising these blueprints as needed
Where Do Electricians Work?
According to the BLS, the majority of electricians, 65%, work for contractors, and about 8% are self-employed electricians. Only 6% work directly for manufacturing companies, 4% work in employment services, and about 3% work for government agencies.
Electricians may work in any number of environments throughout their careers. Many contractors provide a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial services, but some specialize in only one of these areas. Those who work for their city’s municipal utility company travel around the local area to repair and replace equipment as needed. Electricians who are employed by manufacturing facilities spend their shifts in different parts of the same building.
The majority of electricians work full time, though emergency after-hours services may be required if equipment malfunctions due to adverse weather or another event. While some electricians are salaried, most are paid an hourly wage along with overtime pay when required.
The 6 Most In-Demand Electrician Skills
While the exact skills an electrician needs to thrive in any given role depend on their employer and the responsibilities of that role, the following six electrician skills are in high demand.
1. Technical Skills
Electricians must hone and develop several technical skills to succeed in their chosen roles. Some of the most important electrical skills needed to be an electrician require proficiency in the following:
- Installing, maintaining, and repairing various electrical systems and devices
- Using a variety of tools and equipment, such as drills, hammers, and wires
- Testing electrical systems and equipment
- Understanding the National Electric Code as well as any local electric codes put in place by the state or city
- Implementing safety standards and procedures as needed
- Assessing, troubleshooting, and diagnosing electrical problems
- Understanding risk assessment procedures
2. Desire to Learn and Grow
As technology continues to change and evolve, electricians must be eager to learn about advances in technology and the electrical components used to power them. Homeowners and business owners alike are increasingly turning to energy-efficient systems, and they rely on electricians to not only advise them but also to install, maintain, and repair these new systems.
Furthermore, as the world grows more energy- and safety-conscious, government agencies will continue to update regulations and codes to keep people safe and eliminate unnecessary energy usage. Electricians must be willing to keep up with the latest changes in these laws and regulations.
3. Time Management Capabilities
Many electricians visit multiple job sites each day. For example, they may spend the first half of one day wiring a residential addition and the rest of the day repairing the electrical system in an office building. Time management is one of the most essential electrician skills because it ensures punctuality, efficiency, and a good customer experience.
4. Flexibility to Work Independently or as Part of a Team
An electrician may work alone on one project and as part of a large team on the next. As an example, many residential jobs only require one electrician, but large new build construction projects may require electricians to work with heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors; plumbers; and other electricians. As such, both independence and the ability to work with a team are essential electrician skills.
5. Problem-Solving Skills
As modern electrical systems continue to grow more complex, and because they are held to stringent standards and codes, electricians must possess exceptional problem-solving skills. These skills are essential for diagnosing and troubleshooting electrical issues in a timely manner, and they may also save money by preventing the unnecessary replacement of undamaged components.
6. Customer Service Skills
No matter where an electrician is employed, basic customer service skills are vital. Every electrician will inevitably interact directly with a client, which means they may find themselves needing to explain complex scenarios in easy to understand terms or speaking to a dissatisfied client with tact and respect. A professional demeanor and respect for a client’s property also fall into this skill set.
Benefits of an Electrician Training Program
Most states require electricians to obtain licensure. An apprentice license allows an electrician to work under the supervision of a more experienced electrician, but in order to obtain full electrician licensure in any state, electricians must pass a rigorous examination. Electricians often need to complete a training program and an apprenticeship program before gaining an electrician license.
An electrical trade training program offers a foundation in the knowledge required to gain an apprenticeship and eventually pass a state licensure exam. , The diploma earned upon completion of the program signifies that aspiring electricians have been trained on the technical and soft skills they will need to thrive in this in-demand career.
Learn Essential Skills to Become an Electrician in Birmingham
The demand for skilled trade workers is on the rise, and salaries are following suit. Fortis offers skilled trades programs designed to help you achieve your career goals. The Electrical Trade training program at the Fortis Institute in Birmingham provides training for the next generation of electricians in Alabama through in-depth instruction on electrical circuit theories, safe work environments, and blueprint reading, among other topics. Begin your journey toward an exciting and dynamic career by enrolling in a skilled trade program today.