When electricians go to work, they often have no idea what kinds of jobs they’ll be doing. They may be dealing with sophisticated wiring systems so they have to be prepared for anything. If that kind of challenge sounds appealing to you and you’re looking for work in Middleton, Massachusetts, you should consider becoming an electrician. There’s a lot of training that goes into it, though, so let’s review the path you’ll be taking and see what’s involved.
We’ll also look at some of the most common jobs electricians do, along with some of the particulars and the issues they face. We’ll close with a tip about working for 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electric, which is one of the best companies out there.
The Education Path
GED or High School Diploma
If you’re going to become an electrician, make sure you pay special attention in your algebra and physics classes in high school or review the material if you didn’t. You won’t need a college degree but you will need the knowledge provided in these math and science classes to read certain schematics that come along with some jobs you’ll complete as an electrician.
The fact that you don’t need a college degree will save you a lot of money but don’t assume the training is any less rigorous just because the education path is different. You’ll need a GED or high school diploma initially and then you’ll get to choose between a few different paths to get the education necessary to succeed as an electrician.
Associate Degree, Tech School or Vocational Class
Some would-be electricians choose to take vocational classes, which is a solid route to get a foothold in the profession. These classes provide the necessary training you’ll need and they can be an excellent way to get into an apprenticeship program.
Some electricians get an associate degree in electronic technology, however. This is a two-year program that allows them to specialize in fields like industrial electrical technology or the electrical aspects of renewable energy.
Additionally, many of the vocational programs branch out into tech schools that are specifically designed to equip students with the skills necessary to become an electrician. These programs are another great route – typically including plenty of hands-on training and even an opportunity to work with a master electrician.
The apprenticeship programs for aspiring electricians are some of the most comprehensive training programs in any industry. They also deliver a nice side benefit in that you get paid as you make your way up the ladder, so there’s plenty of financial incentive along the way. There are two kinds of apprenticeship programs—union and non-union.
In a non-union program, having prior education like trade school training or a certificate degree becomes more important. Once you have that training, though, applying for a non-union apprenticeship program is very much like applying for a job after you graduate. Also, non-union programs tend to be easier to get into than their union counterparts but they’re also a little more vulnerable to typical job market issues like economic slowdowns.
Union apprenticeships are offered through local unions that are a part of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The pay tends to be higher, but they’re tougher to enter. If you do, though, you’ll get access to union benefits, which is a great incentive.
Either way, once you complete your training, that typically qualifies you to work as a journeyman electrician. You should definitely continue your training to become a master electrician, though—the pay is higher, you’ll learn more, and you’ll have more opportunities for advancement.
What Services do Electricians Provide?
There are many common jobs for electricians so let’s go through some of them. Installing wiring is at the top of the list, of course, but many wiring jobs aren’t as basic as they sound. In many instances, the wiring is part of a control system that operates sophisticated equipment so electricians have to know how to handle situations where that’s the case. They also have to know the local municipal code requirements so they can make sure the wiring stays in compliance.
Some electricians specialize in testing jobs. That testing can be conducted on any number of different electrical systems, either in residential or commercial situations. Troubleshooting is another typical task performed by an electrician. Intermittent problems are a common issue with electrical equipment and trying to figure out what the specific issue is can be difficult to pinpoint.
Other electricians specialize in electrical diagrams and blueprints. This typically requires a high level of expertise and accuracy when it comes to drawing and laying out these diagrams and the electricians that do this have to have the ability to use complex CAD systems that’re necessary to complete the work. Doing this kind of work is also part of the path to become an Electrical Engineer (EE) and many EEs start their careers as electricians before they go on to get the requisite advance education.
Performing inspections is yet another specialty electricians can choose. There are many organizations and industries that hire electricians to perform specific inspections and some of them pay good money which is why so many electricians choose this path.
Regardless of the job, the demand for electricians is growing steadily. The projections for job growth are around 10%, which is double that of most trades. On top of that, there’s already a shortage of qualified electricians so your chances of getting hired by a great company are even higher.
Consider 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electric
If you’re a trained electrician with great qualifications and a serious work ethic, we want to hear from you. We’ve serviced the Middleton, MA area for 30+ years so we’re an integral part of the community and you will be too. We offer great benefits, an excellent salary, and a supportive, inclusive work environment. If that sounds appealing to you, submit your application today!