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Electrical Industry: Roles and Growth as an Electrician


Intro to Electrical: Chapter 2


Electrical Industry


In this module, we will learn about the different roles of an electrician in the electrical industry. We’ll also discuss an electrician's salary and growth potential. Skip to quiz!


Job Opportunities


In the United States, electricians are divided into different categories. These categories are based on:

  • Type of work an electrician does,

  • Education and certification that an electrician has completed, and

  • Specializations that an electrician has done.

Let’s discuss each of them in detail.


The different types of electrician based on the scope of work they do are:

  • Lineman; also called outside electricians, and

  • Wireman; also called inside electricians.

Let’s go over each of them.


Lineman, or outside electricians, work outdoors installing electric utility transmission and distribution systems at higher voltages. They are responsible for making sure electrical wiring is working properly. This will ensure that power is being correctly distributed from generation facilities to end-users.


High voltage lineman may work on high-tension voltage lines positioned hundreds of feet above the ground. That’s why an outside lineman must receive extensive safety training, including climbing training.


Wireman, or inside electricians, work with the lower voltages found inside buildings and structures. Wiremen install, maintain, and repair electrical systems that provide power to residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Residential systems, such as solar panel installation, would fall under this category.


The types of electricians based on education and certifications are:

  • Apprentice,

  • Journeyman electrician, and

  • Master electrician.

Let’s go over each of them.


The first level of education for an electrician is the apprenticeship program. Electricians do not need a formal education to begin an apprenticeship, but they must pass the General Educational Development (GED) exam. The GED test provides certification that the test taker has high school-level academic skills.


An apprentice program allows electricians to begin work immediately as electrician assistants under supervision. They will receive the hands-on experience required to advance their career.


Upon completing an apprentice program, individuals will be eligible to take a test to become journeyman electricians. This title implies that the individual is licensed and able to work without supervision.


Master electrician is the highest level of electrical certification. Master electricians work on the most complex commercial and industrial projects. They have the experience to train journeymen electricians to do the same.


A licensed electrician can also select specific areas of specialization. Some popular specialty areas are:

  • Industrial electricians,

  • Commercial electricians,

  • Residential electricians,

  • Maintenance electricians, and

  • Installation electricians.

Let’s discuss each of them.


A residential electrician is responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting, and upgrading electrical systems within homes. A residential electrician will work across several residential settings, including houses and apartments. They may work independently or as an electrical contractor.


Commercial electricians perform similar duties to residential electricians, but work in commercial buildings. A commercial electrician may also be asked to install security systems, electronic systems, fibre optic systems, and heating and cooling systems for an office.


We can find an industrial electrician working on large-scale projects across industrial facilities. These include factories, manufacturing facilities, and power plants.


An industrial electrician works with large machinery and computer systems used to facilitate the industrial process. The electrical work needed in these buildings will exceed those in commercial or residential settings.


Installation electricians work with electrical system installation in new buildings. This includes setting up all electrical equipment and wiring for lighting, heating, cooling, and security systems. They may split their time between residential, commercial, and industrial projects.


Maintenance electricians must install, maintain and monitor electrical systems operating in plants and factories. They are responsible for making routine inspections to check on current equipment. If operating conditions are not up to standard, they must conduct timely repairs or replace the equipment.


Electrician Salaries


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians had a median annual salary of $55,190 in 2018. This included a mean hourly wage of $28.50. The best-paid 25% made $472,780, while the lowest-paid 25% made $41,260.


The best-paying metropolitan areas in the US are San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and San Jose. Industries with the highest wages for electricians are natural gas and real estate.


The median annual salaries of similar trades is as follows:

  • Drafter: $55,550

  • Carpenter: $46,590

  • Plumber: $56,330

These trades may require more education, and are also subject to different licensing requirements.


Electrical work is a growing trade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrician jobs are expected to grow by 8.4% from 2019 to 2029. This is more than double the 3.7% growth rate projected for all occupations.


The increase in demand is driven by electronic devices and building components that rely on electricity. From 2021 to 2022 alone, total electricity consumption in the U.S. is expected to grow by 1.4%.


People are using more electricity than before, and more electricians are needed to install and maintain these electrical systems. This is the reason there is high demand for electricians. The electrician shortage is the result of a mismatch between supply and demand.


There are three main causes behind the electrician shortage. These include:

  • Experienced electricians are retiring,

  • Not enough new electricians are entering the industry, and

  • Demand for electricians is increasing.

In the United States, electricians are categorised based on:

  • Type of work an electrician does,

  • Education and certification that an electrician has completed, and

  • A specialization that an electrician has done.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians had a median annual salary of $55,190 in 2018.


The electrician shortage is the result of a mismatch between supply and demand. This is because experienced electricians are retiring, not enough new electricians are entering the industry, and demand for electricians is increasing.


 

Question #1: How are electricians categorized in the US? (select all that apply)

  1. Based on ability to work in a team

  2. Based on specializations that an electrician has done

  3. Based on skills

  4. Education and certification that an electrician has completed

Scroll down for the answer...
















Answer: Based on specializations that an electrician has done

Education and certification that an electrician has completed

In the United States, electricians are categorised based on:

  • Type of work an electrician does,

  • Education and certification that an electrician has completed, and

  • Specializations that an electrician has done.


Question #2: Which of the following types of electricians works with the lower voltages found inside buildings?

  1. Lineman

  2. Automotive electrician

  3. Wireman

  4. Construction Electricians

Scroll down for the answer...
















Answer: Wireman

Wireman, or inside electricians, work with the lower voltages found inside buildings and structures.


Question #3: What are the types of electricians based on certification level?

  1. Apprentice

  2. Journeyman electrician

  3. Wireman

  4. Master electrician

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: Apprentice

Journeyman electrician

Master electrician

The types of electricians based on education and certifications are:

  • Apprentice,

  • Journeyman electrician, and

  • Master electrician.


Question #4: Where do industrial electricians work in the electrical industry? (select all that apply)

  1. Large-scale systems in an office

  2. Large-scale projects across industrial facilities

  3. Large machinery and computer systems in factories

  4. Electrical systems within a home

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: Large-scale projects across industrial facilities

Large machinery and computer systems in factories

An industrial electrician works with large machinery and computer systems on large-scale projects and factories.


Question #5: What are the causes behind the shortage of electricians? (select all that apply)

  1. Demand for electricians is increasing

  2. Not enough new electricians are entering the industry

  3. Experienced electricians are retiring

  4. Electrical systems are not used widely

Scroll down for the answer...

















Answer: Demand for electricians is increasing

Not enough new electricians are entering the industry

Experienced electricians are retiring

The main causes behind the electrician shortage are:

  • Experienced electricians are retiring,

  • Not enough new electricians are entering the industry, and

  • Demand for electricians is increasing.

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