Electricians are typically responsible for a wide range of duties, from wiring installations to fixing older systems to performing routine maintenance. Some specific duties include calibrating equipment, testing electrical systems, improving existing wiring systems, troubleshooting electrical devices and reading blueprints.
Like most tradespeople, electricians can expect healthy job prospects in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for electrical technicians should grow by 14 percent through 2024, a higher rate than the national projected rate. Electricians also earn a decent wage – an average of $51,880 a year, according to 2016 BLS figures.
If you’re currently thinking about a career in electrical work, consider the following essential skills.
Electricians must be able to think technically, which often requires solid math (algebra) and critical thinking skills. These are the same skills you might use working on a car or doing work around the house. If you’re someone who enjoys taking things apart to fix them or see how they work, and you are capable of putting them together again, electrical work might be a solid career choice. Being confident around technical systems and trusting your own abilities is essential in this field.
No matter what type of electrician you are, you will come into direct contact with clients. This is especially true of workers who specialize in home repairs. These types of professionals must speak with clients on the phone, in person and sometimes via email to understand the job and then interact with clients once they enter the home to explain and solve the problem. Some electrician jobs may also include follow-up calls with clients after completing the service. Having a positive attitude and respectfulness when entering a client’s home is essential to a electrician’s job responsibilities.
Even electricians who work in construction or service commercial buildings may interact with their customers. Because of this, electricians should develop excellent customer and interpersonal service skills. Clients expect electricians to act in a professional manner and solve problems in a timely fashion. Electricians should clearly communicate any problems and unexpected issues.
Team-Player AND Independent
Electricians that work for a union OR part of a private company may sometimes work as part of a team or as individuals. Large contacts, such as commercial construction projects, may require a whole team electricians, foremen and journeymen working on the same site. As such, they must develop team skills such as proper communication, time management, and collaboration.
Smaller projects, like residential jobs, typically only require a single electrician. Because of this, electricians working in this capacity must know how to work independently. This includes diagnosing and repairing electrical issues without relying on others.
Electricians in leadership roles, such as a foremen, project managers or crew leaders, must also learn how to allocate team resources effectively. These leaders need to assess how many electricians to assign to each project and what skillset is needed for each job. They do this so that work gets completed on time. Because of these deadlines, they may need to adjust schedules and team dynamics if the need arises.
The diagnosis and fixing of electrical issues is a big part of an electrician’s job. The typical working electrician is often solely responsible for responding to issues and locating a solution. In training to become an electrician, you would be shown how to identify common issues and their solutions. Being able to apply this knowledge and even come up with outside-the-box solutions is a crucial skill for a successful career as an electrician.
Whether they are working as an independent contractor or they’re employed by a company, electricians must have a good feel for business principles like time management and customer service.
Time management is a particularly valuable skill for electricians, who must be able to regularly finish jobs on time. When a company or employer makes a request for electrical work, there must be an estimate of how much labor it will require and how much it will cost. A reputation for managing time well and accomplishing tasks in a reasonable amount of time will make you extremely valuable.
Electricians must also be able to provide good customer service, as every single job has a customer, whether that’s a department manager within your company or an outside client. Sometimes, people appreciate good customer service more than the product, and a good electrician is aware of this.
Because electrical work is technical in nature, many people are surprised to learn that interpersonal communication skills are essential. However, electricians must be able to understand what needs to be done and effectively communicate the various solutions, often to people who have no working knowledge of electrical systems. Electricians also need to be able to train apprentices and learn from others, both of which require good communication abilities.
At Action Group Staffing, we help people find their calling and take their next step on that career path. If you’re currently interested in finding work as an electrician, please contact us today.