Electrician Career Profile - Quincy, IL
With higher than average employment growth expected over the coming decade, an electrician career offers great opportunities for those willing to pursue the right education and training. Electrical systems are standard in all modern construction and must be installed, maintained and repaired by qualified professionals. This creates opportunities for individuals willing to do what it takes to begin this career.
Job Outlook and Salary for Electricians
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the organization responsible for tracking career and job data throughout the United States, has a lot of positive things to say about the career outlook for electricians. Some of the most notable points made by the BLS are:
- Projected employment growth of 20% over the decade from 2012 through 2022.
- This growth is faster than the average growth of all occupations.
- In 2013 the median salary for electricians in the U.S. was $50,500 per year and the median hourly pay was $23.96.
- The BLS does not list Quincy, IL specifically, but it does have figures for nearby Springfield, IL. The 2013 median salary in Springfield was $62,400 and the median hourly pay was $29.99.
Expected salaries for electricians in Springfield, IL are significantly higher than the expected salaries for electricians nationwide. Additionally, according to City Data these expected salaries are significantly higher than the estimated 2012 per capita income in Quincy, $23,064, and the estimated 2012 per capita income in Springfield, IL, $27,648.
Outline of Career Path
The work electricians do is important for many reasons. It is also presents hazards both for the electrician doing the work and the people who will use the systems the electrician services. This is why electricians must go through extensive training to work on their own. The typical career for an electrician may progress as follows:
- Education – A high school diploma or equivalent is required. One can then enter technical or trade school to learn the basics (which can also count towards the required apprenticeship), or attempt to become an apprentice right away.
- Electrician's assistant – This is the entry-level position where one begins working in the career field. An electrician's assistant provides important support to the electrician. This job can last anywhere from a few months to several years.
- Apprentice electrician – The majority of electricians will spend 4 to 5 years working as an apprentice. It is during the electrician apprenticeship that they learn all the fundamentals of the job while working under the direct supervision of a journeyman electrician.
- Journeyman electrician– At the end of apprenticeship it is time to take the journeyman's exam. Once the exam is passed, the journeyman can work mostly unsupervised and take an apprentice of his or her own.
- Master electrician – Reaching this point usually requires working regularly for around 7 to 10 years. This is the top tier of electrician which requires another licensing exam to reach. A master electrician can apply for building permits and supervise other electricians, including apprentices and journeyman.
Education and Training for Electricians
While it is possible to still get on as an apprentice with only a high school degree, many entering the field today are choosing to improve their competitiveness by going through an electrician training program at a trade or technical school. This gives them a solid foundation on how to become an electrician, including training in basic electrical work. This schooling can also make it easier to get work as an electrician's assistant and even as an apprentice.
According to the BLS, over the 4 to 5 year time span of apprenticeship one must obtain:
- 144 hours of technical training
- 2,000 hours of on-the-job-training
- Training both in the classroom and in the field, including electrical theory, mathematics, safety, electrical code requirements, blueprint reading and first-aid.
In some situations the electrician training obtained in an education course from a trade or vocational school can count towards requirements for apprenticeship.
Resources for Electricians
- BLS page for electricians
- BLS page for Springfield, IL, occupational information – including electricians
- Electrical Association – largest electrical association for electrical contractors