Being an electrician is a hands-on job, responsible for many electrical systems. It’s a diverse line of work, involving various locations, clients and new responsibilities everyday.
This role is an opportunity to build on your learning and meet new people regularly with the evolving client base. It’s a career in a constantly evolving industry, meaning there’s always something new to discover and different career pathways available.
What is an electrician?
An electrician is responsible for an entire spectrum of different electrical jobs. It can involve inspecting, testing, repairing, installing and modifying many electrical components and systems.
Work can also include maintaining power systems for engineering projects or helping communities, and ensuring street lights work. Some electricians may work with renewable technology whilst others could service motors or traffic systems. The key to an electrician’s line of work is variety. They’ll work either in homes, construction sites, businesses or generally, contractor work.
Domestic or residential electrician: Most electricians deal with domestic electrical work such as fixing electrical halts in private housng or replacing electrical systems. Domestic electrician jobs work alongside tradespeople.
There are numerous routes to becoming an electrician, whether you’d like to study or enter the workforce straight away and train.
Electrical tester: These test and inspect electrical installations in businesses and homes, identifying faults and reporting on them.
Electrical engineer: Electrical engineers are behind designing, developing and maintaining electrical systems for buildings, power distribution networks and transport systems. They work across many industries and require a strong understanding of engineering science.
For electricians, responsibilities can vary, depending on the specialism and task. Overall, these are the general responsibilities of an electrician:
- Diagnose problems and make timely and effective repairs.
- Ensure all work meets and follows electrical codes and standards.
- Follow building plans and technical drawings for your work.
- Inspect, test and diagnose issues with components and electrical systems.
- Install, maintain and improve electrical systems such as lights and wiring.
- Keep track of inventory or relevant supplies and parts.
- Test electrician systems and components to ensure they’re functioning and working safely.
- Work on preventative maintenance for electrical systems.
- Write up required documentation of service information and repairs.
Electrican salaries can vary, depending on the organisation you work for, your experience or, if you choose the self-employed route. The UK’s average electrician salary is £34,018 per year, equivalent to £17.45 per hour. Entry-level positions start at £30,000, whilst more experienced electricians earn an average of up to £40,966.
The self-employed route is another career prospect. This entails launching your own electrician business, managing other electrians or going freelance, working as a one-person-band electrician, on your own schedule. With any of these, you can set your rates and charge more or less, depending on your expertise.
There are numerous routes to becoming an electrician, whether you’d like to study or enter the workforce straight away and train. Relevant experience and passion are crucial to finding the right pathway for you.
Once you’ve qualified as an electrician, the learning doesn’t stop.
Studying at college provides you with the technical knowledge and practical skills to become an electrician, which can be applied in the workplace. There are three different types of courses you can do to help you apply for an apprenticeship or trainee electrician job. Either Level 2 Diploma in Access to Building Services Engineering (Electrical), Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installation or T Levels in Building Services Engineering for Construction.
Apprenticeships are an opportunity to gain work experience whilst training to be an electrician. There are two options for an apprenticeship, the first is to study an Electrical Level 3 Apprenticeship for your Level 3 Diploma or train to become an electrician in the armed forces. To apply for an apprenticeship, 5 GCSE (or equivalent) in grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) are required.
When you’ve completed the Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma either at college or through an apprentice electrician job, and had essential work experience, it’s time to launch your career as an electrician.
Training and development
Once you’ve qualified as an electrician, the learning doesn’t stop. You can specialise in different areas of an electrician such as electrical power engineering, telecommunications and many more. These specialisms are available by gaining qualifications including degrees and master's degrees, as well as HNDs, a higher-level academic qualification. All of these can be part of your development plan as an individual or your career development with your employer. The route you choose in training is down to who you work for and the specialism suited to your career path.
The most valuable experience for an electrician is hands-on work in the role.
- Analytical mind and strong skills at problem-solving.
- Carry out basic computer tasks and use software packages confidently.
- Good at working with their hands and using equipment safely.
- Good use of your initiative and self-motivation.
- Great skills and knowledge in design.
- Great working within a team and collaborating with clients and colleagues.
- Has strong attention to detail and ability to be thorough.
- Strong knowledge of maths, engineering science, technology and construction.
- The ability to work, repair and maintain machinery and tools.
The most valuable experience for an electrician is hands-on work in the role. It’s a career which is best learnt practically, seeing the tools and machinery you’ll be dealing with daily. An apprenticeship is the best way to receive immersive experience in the career whilst you study for your training.
If an apprenticeship isn’t for you, contact electrician companies and ask them about work experience opportunities such as an internship. These opportunities although unpaid, provide you with the insight and knowledge of seeing an electrician career in action.
When fully qualified as an electrician with experience behind you, the career pathways are limitless. You can work your way up in the organisation or company you’re working for, either progressing to a project manager or senior position.
An electrician is responsible for an entire spectrum of different electrical jobs.
Your specialism can change in the electrician role, whether you’re considering electrical design engineering or a building service engineer. Alternatively, your career route can change, either as a quantity surveyor, technician, data comms specialist or estimator. To branch out further, consider specialist areas of the industry including data communications, building controls or fire and security.
Many electricians decide to choose the route of their own business. Whether you’d prefer to work freelance or set up a business with fellow electricians working under you, the self-employed route is an opportunity to have more flexibility with your work schedule.
Another route would be to become a teacher or trainer, educating potential future electricians, either teaching apprentices or in further education. You can also head back into education yourself and earn qualifications such as a degree or HND to further your knowledge in the electrician industry.
- Electrician average salary in United Kingdom 2022 — Talent.comRetrieved 26 August 2022.