How To Become an Electrician in 4 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 23 October 2022

Published 31 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Electricians install and repair critical electrical systems that supply power to houses, hospitals, hotels and other facilities. The career path offers flexibility and a chance to work in different settings with varied day-to-day activities. Learning how to become an electrician can help those interested in the area plan their career path into the field. In this article, we discuss how to become an electrician, what they do, the different categories of electricians and answer some frequently asked questions.

How to Become an Electrician

Electricians are skilled professionals with theoretical knowledge of electrical systems and structures. They require education and on-the-job training to apply their theory to real-life projects and develop practical experience. Electricians also register and gain a license in their respective state or territory before they begin working. Below you can find a step-by-step guide on how to become an electrician:

1. Enrol in a certificate course

Aspiring electricians can enrol in a Certificate II in Electrotechnology offered at various TAFE institutes across the country to develop a background in electrical systems and safety in the workplace. You may gain a better understanding of the work of electricians in this course, which can help you determine if you would like to pursue the career path.

As a student in this course, you might install wiring systems and appliances for low voltage electrical installation, solve equipment issues and connect electrical circuits. This can help you begin an apprenticeship as these are skills that electricians use throughout their careers.

2. Complete an electrical apprenticeship

Most electricians begin their careers with an apprenticeship at an electrotechnology company. Apprenticeships allow individuals to earn a salary for their work while training and learning from their experienced supervisors. Most apprentices are required to study alongside their practical training to simultaneously gain theoretical knowledge of electrical systems and work on real projects. Typically, the course that accompanies electrical apprenticeships is Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, which you can join at a registered training organisation.

Your apprenticeship may take between three to four years to complete, and your pay rate may increase with each year or reflect your age. Apprenticeships are also a great opportunity to network with professionals in your field and enhance your career development. The company you work for may offer you a qualified electrician position after you complete your apprenticeship.

Related: How to Write an Electrician Apprentice Cover Letter

3. Obtain an electrician license

Electricians require a license to perform their trade and work as qualified professionals on electrical systems. Their work can involve dangerous situations, and incorrect applications can have significant and life-threatening impacts. To regulate the profession, governments issue electrician licenses to confirm the skills and experiences of each individual.

Once you've completed an apprenticeship, apply for an electrician license in your respective state or territory. Registration and licensing requirements vary from one state to another, so ensure you read the application requirements before applying. Once you've applied, the organisation usually reviews your skills and qualifications and may offer you a licence if you meet their criteria.

4. Apply for an electrician job

Once you've obtained a license and completed an apprenticeship, you'll likely be ready to begin working as a qualified electrician. You can discover local job opportunities by searching the Indeed job board and entering your desired location. Consider what industry you would like to work for and whether you prefer residential or commercial work, as well as the size of the company.

Shortlist the jobs that appeal to you and tailor your resume to highlight your suitability for each one. Read through their job descriptions, identify keywords within the skills and experience sections, and try to use these exact words in your resume. As employers prefer candidates with appropriate skills and qualifications, be sure to include your education and apprenticeship experience in your resume to help your application stand out.

What does an electrician do?

Electricians are skilled professionals responsible for installing and maintaining the electrical systems in homes, offices, businesses and facilities. They are trained in wiring electrical circuits that run through buildings and connect to local power sources to facilitate the electrical flow into structures. Electricians can work in construction, where they install the electrical systems in newly built buildings or specialise in maintenance, where they are called to customer's premises to repair existing electrical systems.

Electricians typically begin their work by reading blueprints of the designed electrics within a building, helping them locate critical electrical assets. Technical diagrams display the locations of panel boards, circuits and other equipment. From here, they perform small intrusive works through walls and ceilings to reach cables and execute their installation and repair works. Electricians can specialise in a particular area, categorised by the following types:

Residential electrician

Residential electricians are tradesmen who install, repair and maintain electrical systems and cables in homes and apartment buildings. Some residential electricians can perform every duty required to maintain residential electrics, while others may specialise in particular areas. These electricians may be involved in the planning and electrical design of houses to ensure their electrical functionality.

Commercial electrician

Similarly, commercial electricians install, repair and maintain the electrical systems in commercial buildings and business facilities. Commercial buildings are more diverse and often more extensive than residential buildings, so these electricians use different power sources and structures and require slightly different knowledge. They may work for universities, restaurants, supermarkets, retail centres, hospitals and offices.

Industrial electrician

Industrial electricians work in large facilities, such as warehouses, factories and places that use large machinery and equipment to perform electrical work. These types of buildings often have more demanding electrical needs, where their equipment requires large amounts of continuous power, including manufacturing factories and power plants. Industrial electricians have advanced skills and experience and may need an additional license to work in the area.

Master electrician

Master electricians are some of the most advanced professionals in the field, and their position indicates they have a high level of education and experience. These electricians are qualified to work on the most complex electrical systems at any location or facility and often take supervising roles to manage other electricians.

Emergency electrician

Emergency electricians cater to the electrical work needs in an emergency and are typically available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In particular situations, electrical issues can be dangerous and even life-threatening, like power outages during severe weather. These electricians can respond to this situation quickly and work on repairing the issue promptly.

Independent electrical contractor

Many electricians run their own businesses and have a range of clients in different industries. These electricians can specialise in an area, such as commercial or residential or take on a range of clients. Independent electrical contractors are usually master electricians and have their own insurance coverage and business administration responsibilities.

Frequently asked questions about electricians

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the electrical profession:

What's the average salary for electricians?

The national average salary for electricians is $85,757 per year. As skilled tradespeople, electricians are valuable contractors to many people, including homeowners, businesses, government facilities and large corporations. When determining how to become an electrician and selecting an apprenticeship, consider that their salary reflects their experience and the industry they work within.

Electricians that work for large facilities or major corporations in the resource field, such as industrial electricians, may earn more than the average salary. Independent electrical contractors can scale their business with repeat clients and make a large salary rather than a sole electrician wage as a business owner. The field offers electricians ample opportunity to grow their skills and change industries to find work they enjoy and a comfortable salary.

Is it hard to be an electrician?

Electricians apply their knowledge to work on complex electrical systems while using their physical abilities to perform their work. The role requires an extensive understanding of the area to complete its responsibilities. However, you can learn this knowledge throughout your education and apprenticeship. The structure of the path into the field involves close work with supervisors who can learn from and can guide you through challenges. After completing your training, it's likely that you'll feel comfortable performing your daily responsibilities and progressing in your career.

How do I start my career as an electrician?

A career as an electrician begins with gaining a certificate and undertaking an apprenticeship at an electrotechnology company. You'll start with on-the-job training combined with an education, so you develop both your practical and theoretical knowledge. After your apprenticeship, you can obtain a license to practise electrical work and seek positions in your area of interest.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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