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Electricians typically do the following:
  • Read blueprints or technical diagrams before doing work
  • Install and maintain wiring and lighting systemsInspect electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers
  • Identify electrical problems with a variety of testing devices
  • Repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures using hand tools and power tools
  • Follow state and local building regulations based on the National Electric Code
  • Direct and train workers to install, maintain, or repair electrical wiring or equipment

Minimum Education Required for this Career

Basic Certificate
Advanced Certificate
Associate's Degree
4+ year Degree
Associate's Degree

City Colleges Program Options

Communications Technology

Electrical Construction Technology

Electrical Line Worker (Overhead)

Industrial Maintenance

Highway Construction Careers Training Program

Nature of the Work

Almost every building has an electrical system that is installed during construction and maintained after that. Electricians do both the installing and maintaining of electrical systems. Installing electrical systems is less complicated than maintaining older equipment. This is because it is easier to get to electrical wiring during construction. Maintaining older equipment, however, involves identifying problems and repairing malfunctioning equipment that is sometimes difficult to reach. Electricians doing maintenance work may need to fix or replace outlets, circuit breakers, motors, or robotic control systems.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Most electricians learn their trade in a 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. In the classroom, apprentices learn electrical theory, blueprint reading, mathematics, electrical code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. Some electricians start out by attending a technical school. Many technical schools offer programs related to safety and basic electrical information. Graduates usually receive credit toward their 4-year apprenticeship. ​

Future Trends

Employment of electricians fluctuates with the overall economy. On the one hand, there is great demand for electricians during peak periods of building and manufacturing. On the other hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. Employment of electricians is expected to grow 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.

Career Pathways

Success at City Colleges