An Electrician lays out, assembles, installs, tests, troubleshoots and repairs electrical wiring, fixtures, control devices, and related equipment. Electricians must resolve problems involving several concrete variables from standardized situations. They are sometimes asked to respond to emergency calls, carrying out breakdown repairs as needed.
They are usually self-employed, but can sometimes be employed by Electrical Contractors, Construction Managers, or by maintenance departments of buildings and other establishments. They work closely with maintenance, production, engineering and outside services.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Electricians are required to complete.
- Reading and interpreting electrical drawings/blueprints/schematics, circuit diagrams, and electrical code specifications to determine wiring layouts for new or existing installations.
- Locating and installing a wide range of electrical equipment for safe, efficient and environmentally sound operation:
- Installing, altering, replacing, repairing, and/or maintaining lighting fixtures and electrical control and distribution equipment, such as switches, relays, sensors, circuit breaker panels and other control components and devices;
- installing, examining, replacing, and/or repairing generators, alternators, and industrial storage batteries;
- splicing, joining and connecting wires to fixtures and components to form circuits, which sometimes require pulling wires through conduits and holes in walls and floors;
- locating/installing and terminating conduits and cables;
- fabricating control panels and performing wiring check-out; and
- connecting electrical power to audio and visual communication equipment, signalling devices, and heating and cooling systems.
- Troubleshooting and isolating faults in electrical and electronic systems and removing and replacing faulty components:
- Using established troubleshooting sequences, checking a series of possibilities, which include establishing whether equipment is plugged in or not, or looking at diagnostic schematics on the computer to pinpoint location and nature of the problem.
- Correcting wiring and connections on machinery controls where incorrect applications could cause damage and hazardous conditions.
- Conducting preventive maintenance programs and keeping maintenance records:
- Testing electrical and electronic equipment and components for continuity, current, voltage and resistance, using test equipment (e.g. voltmeters and ammeters) to ensure compatibility and safety of systems;
- providing input and solutions related to any design or installation issues; and
- ensuring all electrical maintenance operations comply with applicable regulations and trade practices.
- Assisting the Construction Manager in the coordination of on-site activities.
- Preparing estimates:
- Analyzing, collecting, calculating, and comparing data.
- Installing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing a wide range of electrical equipment.
- Preventing hazardous situations from happening by conducting maintenance tests and reporting and resolving any design or installation issues.
The average Electrician salary is $59,252 per year or $30 per hour. This is around 1.8 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $41,000 while most experienced workers make up to $83,000. These results are based on 1,612 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal, communication, and customer service skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with clients and colleagues, using a non-technical language as required;
- being able to work cohesively as part of a team, interacting with production crews to coordinate repairs to their equipment; and
- talking to operators about equipment and machinery breakdowns using technical language, drawing detailed information from each and providing complex instructions to avoid similar breakdowns.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Prioritizing and planning work activities in order to manage time efficiently while handling a high volume of work;
- multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment; and
- being able to work well under pressure, individually or as part of a team.
- Analytical skills and problem-solving skills:
- Approaching tasks in a reliable and resourceful manner; and
- troubleshooting and providing an alternative solution when encountering malfunctions in equipment.
- High degree of initiative and self-supervision:
- Displaying willingness to learn new skills;
- making sure that all operations comply with safety requirements;
- gathering information from pre-maintenance work orders to determine the location and the kind of work to be done; and
- using creativity and imagination to develop new insights and to apply new solutions to problems.
- Continual focus on safety, cost control, and client satisfaction:
- Wearing respirators, steel-toed safety boots, hard hats, glasses, and ear protection, as well as other personal protective equipment (PPE) as required.
- Manual dexterity, motor coordination, and physical strength:
- Displaying good hand skills with a high regard for neat workmanship;
- being able to move around construction sites and to lift or carry objects weighing up to 40 pounds; and
- being able to climb ladders and being comfortable working at heights.
All Electricians start off as Apprentice Electricians, working 1 to 4 years in an industrial or commercial setting. Prior to being hired, Apprentice Electricians must have completed a pre-apprenticeship training program at an accredited trade school. On-the-job training and specialty training courses are usually preferred, as well as proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
Aside from having completed their apprenticeship training, Electricians are also required to have a minimum of 2 to 5 years of experience within a related industry, including experience in the maintenance and troubleshooting of technical equipment.
In Canada, Electricians must have completed an Industrial Electrician Certificate (442A) or a Construction and Maintenance Electrician Certificate (309A). A Journeyman Certificate and/or an Electrician Red Seal Certification is usually preferred. Electricians also need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the Canadian Electric Code, health and safety standards, as well as piping and instrumentation diagrams/drawings (P&IDs).
Additional certifications are usually preferred, including, but not limited to, the following:
- First-Aid Training;
- H2S Certification; and
- Construction Safety Training System (CSTS).
Finally, Electricians must be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends, as well as to stand for an eight-hour long shift. They also need a valid driver’s licence and a good driving record, as well as a reliable mean of transportation, in order to get themselves and their tools to job sites within their designated area.