Electrician Career Profile - Wichita
Becoming an electrician takes a good deal of training but those willing to pursue this career path the end result could be a rewarding career. With faster than average job growth predicted and respectable pay rates, the benefits of working as an electrician may more than make up for the work required to enter the field.
Job Outlook and Salary for Electricians
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is responsible for gathering wage and employment data from all around the country. Using this data, the BLS reports on the current state of a variety of industries, as well as the predicted performance of those industries. The BLS offers a number of promising statistics for the electrician career field. These include:
- Faster than average job growth expected over the coming decade when compared to other jobs in the U.S.
- An employment growth rate of 20% from 2012 through 2022.
- In 2013, electricians in the U.S. made a median annual salary of $50,500 and a median hourly wage of $24.28.
- Electricians in Wichita, KS earned a median annual salary of $48,900 and a median hourly wage of $23.51 in 2013.
The BLS points out that these figures represent the middle of the pay range for electricians. Half of all electricians in these calculations make more than this and half make less. Typically those with more experience make more money, sometimes significantly more.
Outline of Career Path
With technology advancing continuously, the need for electricity has never been greater in this country. While this means good news for those in the industry, it also explains why the criteria for working as an electrician are so high. Electrical systems need to work and they need to do so safely. This requires a great deal of training to accomplish.
The career path of an electrician will typically take the following path:
- Education – To get an entry level job in the industry, one typically needs a high school diploma or the equivalent. Many people are now choosing to pursue further education in electrician work, usually through trade schools, vocational schools or colleges. While not required, this training can give a good foundation for working in the field.
- Electrician's assistant – This is where most people begin learning how to become an electrician. Providing whatever support the electrician needs, assistants get their first taste of what the career entails.
- Electrician apprenticeship – This is the period where one's career goes into full swing. An apprenticeship usually takes between 4 and 5 years. While this may seem like a long time, it takes a great deal of training and practice to work as an electrician. Apprentices work under the direct supervision of journeymen electricians to perfect their skills.
- Journeyman electrician – After taking an exam and passing, one can become a journeyman electrician. At this point one will work largely unsupervised. A journeyman can begin training an apprentice as well.
- Master electrician – It usually takes between 7 and 10 years of working as an electrician to reach this level. Once the exam is passed, the master electrician can supervise apprentices and journeymen. He or she also now has the ability to apply for building permits, something only a master electrician can do.
Education and Training for Electricians
While it is possible to seek a job as an apprentice or assistant with a high school diploma, many people are choosing to get more education before seeking employment. This has several benefits, including making one more competitive in the job market and making one better at working as an apprentice or assistant. Also, electrician education programs sometimes count towards some of the requirements for apprenticeship.
Once one becomes an apprentice, the BLS indicates that the following must be accomplished:
- Get 144 hours of technical training
- Go through 2,000 hours of on-the-job training
- Complete both classroom training and on-the-job training in the field
- Learn multiple skills, including first-aid, safety, blueprint reading, electrical theory, electrical code requirements and more
Resources for Electricians
- BLS page for electricians
- BLS page for Wichita, KS, occupational information – including electricians
- Electrical Association – largest electrical association for electrical contractors