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Electrician Job Description And Responsibilities

If you’re considering a career in the electrical field, you may be wondering what to expect in a normal day in the life of an electrician.

Hopefully, this post on a typical electrician’s job description and responsibilities will help answer those questions.

Ready? Let’s go!

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Training to Become an Electrician

Before we get started on what it is that an electrician does, let’s discuss the training and schooling necessary to legally work as one.

There are countless schools and academies throughout the United States that provide the training required to become an electrician.

This training will typically equip an aspiring electrician with all of the necessary skills and (some) hands-on training to become a skilled and qualified electrician such as electrical theory, electrical codes, and how to perform the work of an electrician.

Electricians must have the proper knowledge of how electricity works and will likely learn how to:

  • maintain and repair electrical systems,
  • performance maintenance of electrical systems,
  • check and replace circuit breakers,
  • install appliances in homes and businesses,
  • maintain and repair faulty circuits.
  • Install energy-efficient systems and equipment,
  • work alongside specialists and engineers,
  • Identify various electrical systems,
  • diagnose common electrical problems,
  • read blueprints,
  • work with wires, connectors, and testing equipment

The training is necessary for anyone who is considering a long-term career as an electrician, and will prepare you to be a(n):

Now, let’s go more in-depth about what each type of electrician does.

Types of Electricians

For the sake of this article, we will break down the types into four categories, although there can be overlap in each of them.

Industrial Electrician

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Industrial electricians typically oversee the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical systems in plants, factories, warehouses, and other related businesses.

They test existing electrical components to determine if they need to be upgraded or replaced.

They also check switches, motors, regulations, and other parts of an industrial system and tend to spend a lot of their time working on hydraulic, pneumatic, and other types of systems.

Increased use of robotic equipment in many factories is common these days, and repairing/maintaining them is also part of an industrial electrician’s job duties.

Industrial Electricians will typically work for such employers as petrochemical plants, steel manufacturers, automotive assembly plants, and offshore rigs.

There are plenty of opportunities in the industrial electrical field, as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the overall job growth for industrial electricians is expected to be in the neighborhood of 14% through 2024.

Maintenance Electrician

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A maintenance electrician typically provides maintenance to electrical systems in homes or commercial properties.

Maintenance electricians perform routine maintenance and repairs that are needed due to normal wear and tear on the systems.

They use testing equipment, problem-solving skills, and lean on their experience to diagnose issues in these systems and make the necessary repairs.

Common repairs that a maintenance electrician may perform are:

  • Replacing breakers
  • Replacing switches
  • Replacing electrical wiring

Maintenance electricians are in high demand, and from now until 2028, the career is expected to grow 10% and produce 74,100 job opportunities across the United States.

Residential Electrician

baton rouge residential electrician hiring

Residential electricians install, maintain, and upgrade wiring and wiring equipment in apartments, houses, townhomes, and other residential occupancies.

Additionally, they may install outdoor landscape wiring or work on other low-voltage applications.

Commercial Electrician

Walk around any construction site or commercial building, and chances are, you’ll find a commercial electrician either performing installation work or repairing existing electrical systems.

  • Installation activities typically performed by commercial electricians are:
  • Installing water heaters
  • Wiring and hanging light fixtures
  • Running new wiring
  • Working on commercial security systems
  • Installing fire alarm devices (although here in Louisiana, only a fire alarm contractor can make the terminations and certify the fire alarm control panel).
walker louisiana commercial electrician job

Commercial electricians also work in occupied commercial buildings upgrading, troubleshooting, and repairing existing electrical systems.

In most states, a potential commercial electrician must complete an electrician apprenticeship program by working under a master electrician. The reason these requirements are put in place is because commercial electrical work can have a greater effect on public safety than the other types.

They also complete system upgrades and troubleshoot systems to isolate problems caused by faulty wiring. Before licensing, a potential commercial electrician must work under a master electrician. Standards are stringent because commercial electric work can affect public safety.

Responsibilities of All Electricians

Whether you’re an industrial electrician working in a petrochemical plant, or a residential electrical journeyman, all electricians have certain duties, responsibilities, and standards they must adhere to. What follows is just an example:

Building Codes and Standards

2020 nfpa70 national electrical code

Electricians must ensure that all of their work complies with state and local building codes, standards, and practices.

Regulations may vary depending on the location and types of equipment being used.

One of the main standards used by electricians is NFPA 70, also known as the National Electrical Code.

The NEC has been adopted in all 50 states, and is the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards.

Tools

Because an electrician’s work can vary so much, they must be comfortable working with various tools, equipment, and supplies.

Ask any experienced electrician, and they can probably spout off dozens of power tools and hand tools they’ve used over the years. As such, a new electrician should be comfortable working with all sorts of electrical tools.

Additionally, electricians are expected to know how to use all kinds of testing equipment such as:

  • Multimeters. …
  • Voltage Detectors. …
  • Clamp-ons. …
  • Megohmmeters/Insulation. …
  • Ground Resistance Testers. …
  • Micro Ohm Meters. …
  • Battery Testing. …
  • Cable Tracers and Locators.

Skills

Depending on the type of electrician you decide to be, there are several common skills that you must have to succeed in the electrical field: some you may have had since birth, some you will learn through job training, and others will only come through years of experience.

Some of these skills are:

  • troubleshooting skills
  • technical speaking
  • knowledge of electrical materials and concepts
  • electrical circuit knowledge
  • customer service
  • the ability to find solutions in electrical systems
  • mechanical skills
  • commercial wiring skills
  • physical fitness
  • eye-hand coordination
  • strong math and English skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Ability to work in all sorts of environments

Conclusion

If you’re still with us, hopefully you’ve learned the different types of electricians and the duties, responsibilities, and training required for each type.

Bear in mind, this was just a primer to working in the electrical field, and is in no way all-inclusive.

If you’re considering a career in the electrical field, we’re always hiring. Check out out employment page for more information.

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