What is an Electrician?

Electricians are tradesmen whose responsibilities are to design, install, maintain and troubleshoot electrical wiring systems. These systems can be located in homes, commercial or industrial buildings, and even machines and large pieces of equipment. Electricians work either inside or outside to make possible the use of lights, televisions, industrial equipment, appliances and many other items essential to life.

Also known as: Apprentice Electrician, Construction Electrician, Outside Lineman, Journeyman Wireman, Industrial Electrician, Electrician Technician, Control Electrician, Inside Wireman, Journeyman Electrician, Maintenance Electrician

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What does an Electrician do?

Electricians are either inside wiremen or outside linemen. These are the main concentrations of a practicing electrical professional, but there are various areas of specialization within each category. Duties also vary widely with each type of position or specialization.

Electricians who fall into the inside wiremen category focus almost solely on the wiring of buildings. Structures range from a newly built home to an aged industrial building that's being repurposed for a new use. Inside wiremen, as their name implies, spend most of their careers working indoors. Working with blueprints, they install new electrical systems in new buildings and troubleshoot problems or replace older systems.

Outside linemen, by contrast, work outdoors most of their careers. They must exhibit a moderate amount of physical fitness due to the requirement of climbing telephone and power poles when a lift bucket is not available. Outside linemen must also endure inclement weather in order to repair power outages for all the homes, businesses and other structures in the area affected by the outage. These electricians work with transformers, transmission lines and traffic signals. They may also be required to trim trees or assemble electrical substations.

These main categories are subdivided into several areas. Service electricians, for instance, specialize in troubleshooting wiring problems and making repairs. Construction electricians, in contrast, focus on laying wiring for new buildings and rarely perform maintenance. Electricians also specialize in marine, air, research, and hospital-specific applications.

What is the workplace of an Electrician like?

Depending on their area of specialty, electricians work either indoors or outdoors year round. In either case, their work is often labour intensive and requires manual physical manipulation of electrical wiring, cabling conduit and, in some cases, even telephone wire. A growing number of electricians gain competency in several types of electrical work, allowing them to work both indoors and outdoors.

In many cases, travel is an essential part of the day. Electricians may travel to upwards of 100 miles to a job site and may only work that job for a few days before travelling to another location. These electricians generally fall into the independent contractor category or work under an electrical contractor. Their hours of work vary from week to week.

Maintenance electricians, by contrast, work a standard 40-hour week. In some instances, these electricians may work on an on-call basis, commit to overtime hours or work night shifts. Their work is steady and regular and consists mostly of routine maintenance and troubleshooting.

Videos

Further Reading

  • 5 Surprising Facts About Electricians

    Night or day, rain or shine, electricity is a vital part of every day life. It keeps food cold, water warm, and houses cool or warm as needed.

  • Day In The Life Of WTF's Production Electrician

    I followed Production Electrician, Gustavo Emilio Valdes ak.a. “Goose” around his day as he sent vans to NJ, met designers, advised interns, and more.

  • A Day In The Life Of An Electrician: Michael Lucas

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work with electricity all day? Today we have the pleasure of taking a peek into the average day for BEC Electrician Michael Lucas, a.k.a. Lucas. From juggling a busy schedule to working safely with electricity, Lucas rarely has a dull moment!

  • Stella McStars Day In A Life Of An Electrician

    Hi, my name is Stella McStar and I am an Electrician. What I do is install, connect and maintain electrical systems. What I love to do though is help out with the blueprints that show the locations of circuits, outlets, lighting and distribution. This is my day in a life so please enjoy!

  • How To Become An Electrician

    The first step on your journey of learning How To Become An Electrician will be to understand what your new job description entails.

  • How Long Does It Take To Be A Licensed Electrician?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for electricians is expected to be greater than average for all occupations over the next seven years.

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