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Job Descriptions

Electrician

Electricians typically control, fix and repair wiring and electrical systems. Electricians can work for construction companies, industrial companies, or any organization that requires that use of electricians. They can also be a contractor (self-employed).  If you are an electrician, you will have some clearly defined tasks (e.g., running diagnostic tests on power systems, repairing and maintaining wiring).

Education

A high school diploma or GED certificate is usually required for entrance into an apprenticeship program. Most employers will require participation in an apprenticeship program.  These programs involve on-the-job training where you are supervised by an electrician; it also involves classroom instruction. Many trade or vocational schools offer a training program to be an electrician. In addition, many states will require state licensure. You will have to check your state’s licensure requirements carefully.

Previous Experience

Previous experience working as an electrician in any capacity is preferred. However, most employers will require that you have completed your apprenticeship. Some employers may require that you have knowledge of certain types of electrical systems. If this is the case, they will specify this requirement in their job advertisements. If you have the required education and skills, it is strongly encouraged that you apply anyways– everybody has to start somewhere!

Job Duties

  • Submit cost estimates for electrical jobs (either by customer request or by bidding).
  • Examine electrical blueprints.
  • Install, attach or replace wiring to circuits, circuit breakers, panel boards, fixtures, or other electrical outlets as needed.
  • Drill or saw holes or other openings in walls and floors.
  • Test functionality and assess problems using voltmeters, ohmmeters, ammeters, or other testing devices.
  • Diagnose electrical-related problems and perform repairs to fix the problem.
  • Maintain, fix, and repair electrical wiring.
  • Take apart and re-assemble electrical components and parts.
  • Operate powered machinery and equipment (e.g., drills, saws).
  • Operate electrical repair-related equipment (e.g., wire reels, wire dollies, testing equipment).
  • Use small handheld tools such as screwdrivers, wire strippers, cable cutters, and pliers.
  • Your employer may ask you to carry out additional duties than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

For some jobs, it depends on whether you work mainly with the public (e.g., clients/customers) or just co-workers. For example, this job requires that you are able to work ‘Out of the Scene.’  If you are working as an electrician, you may not be working with the public on a regular basis, although you may be working near customers.   You may be required to speak with and interact with co-workers as well as your supervisor.

OR IN OTHER CASES

This job requires that you are able to work ‘In the Scene’. If you are working as a self-employed electrician, you will be working with customers regularly. You will need to communicate well with your customers to help meet their electrical needs and to negotiate contract fees, therefore you must have relatively strong social skills. 

Skills / Abilities

Knowledge of Electrical Theory, Wiring, and Related Tools - You will need to know how to install, repair, and disassemble and reassemble wiring and other electrical components, and have knowledge of the tools needed to make repairs.

Attention to Detail - It is important that you are able to be accurate and precise for this job, as you are dealing with wiring and electrical circuits.

Oral Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to follow verbal instructions and ideas.

Organization and Prioritization - This job requires the ability to clearly organize and categorize work priorities to complete your work.

Manual Dexterity - This job requires the repeated and coordinated use of your hands, wrists, and fingers to use handheld tools (e.g., pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers).

Physical Strength – This job requires that you are physically able to hold, push, pull, lift and carry heavy items (e.g., wire reels).

Customer Service Skills - If you have to explain electrical issues to customers, you will need to know how to provide excellent customer service.  This includes being able to determine if the customer is satisfied, and to meet their needs. It requires the ability to accept complaints from customers, and to calmly deal with high stress situations and angry customers. Displaying a pleasant and cooperative attitude is important.

Ability to follow Health and Safety Procedures – Working as an electrician requires that you closely follow safety rules and procedures. You will need to be able to carry out these procedures and follow these rules for the safety of yourself and others.

Environmental Demands

Location - An electrician typically works indoors.

Noise Level The noise level will range from quiet to loud. If you are working near powered equipment or machinery or in a construction-heavy area, you will be exposed to loud noises. You may need to wear headphones on your ears to protect your hearing.

Lighting Level - The lighting level will be variable. There will be locations where it is your job to install the wiring for lighting, therefore you will need to be able to work with a lamp in the dark.

Work Hours - This job may have fulltime hours (40 hours per week).

Amount of Movement - This job typically requires that you stand or even lie down for long periods of time. It may involve some heavy manual labor therefore you will have to be physically active. You will need to be able to stand, sit, walk, bend, stoop, reach, lift, push, pull, and carry items for this job. For example, you may need to carry heavy wire reels to your location, or stoop down to install wiring.

Cleanliness and Odors – This job setting can get dirty as you may be working in newly constructed homes or other areas that are not well cleaned.

Work Attire Work attire will typically be casual clothing as you will most likely get dirt on your clothes. Some employers may give you a t-shirt/hat with a company logo on it or overalls to wear at work. They may also require that you wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety vests, goggles, and steel-toed boots.

Structure and Predictability This job will typically have a lower degree of predictability and structure.  This means that you might not do the same tasks each day, and these tasks might be completed in a different order each day.  Sometimes, you will not always know ahead of time how long each task will take to complete.  You might not work in the same areas or location each day, or even interact with the same people each day. 

What's the Pace?

    • Steady:  In most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that you will always have some work to do.  When the work pace is steady, you are working at a level “5” on a scale of “1” (nothing to do) to “10” (extremely busy, rushed pace).

 
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