If you are interested in going into the skilled trades… Well, smart move. You have likely heard about (or even experienced first-hand while looking for a pro for a project) the serious lack of tradespeople in the current market. This has been an issue for years, and it is only growing more pressing. There is an electrician shortage that can mean significant delays in service for businesses and consumers - but also significant opportunities for you. Ready to start building a stellar career?
The first question people typically ask when considering a trade is “How much can I make?” Makes sense! You also likely want to know what the job entails, how secure it is, how you can get started, and where you can go from there. Let’s find you some answers.
Electrician Staffing Shortage
First things first: let’s talk money. Electricians earn an average of $27.36 per hour, depending on experience and certification. A top-level professional can make $33.79 per hour. And there is always the possibility of hanging out your own shingle. With your own business, and a team of skilled electricians working for you, your earning potential skyrockets. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 11.4% in the next several years, which is triple the projected growth rate for all other occupations.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s back up to the electrician shortage. Experts indicate that by 2050, we will need an additional 250,000 electricians in order to service the US’s needs. Currently, we’re short tens of thousands of electricians. Why? The workforce is greying and electricians are retiring in droves. At the same time, there are fewer younger workers taking their place and demand is steadily increasing. All of this adds up to a perfect storm.
Or, if you look on the bright side, a perfect opportunity to earn a great living and enter into a dynamic industry.
What Do Electricians Do?
In a word: lots. Electricians work on installation, service, and repair for everything from communication and lighting to HVACR systems in commercial and residential markets. They are involved in projects from the start, as is the case with new builds, as well as handling jobs related to older, existing buildings. Aspects of the job include:
- Inspecting electrical components (e.g. circuit breakers, transformers)
- Using testing and diagnostic devices to pinpoint issues
- Planning layouts for new electrical wiring systems
- Reading and interpreting blueprints and technical drawings
- Maintaining, repairing, and replacing wiring and components
- Complying with National Electrical Code regulations
How Do You Get Started?
At the minimum, you need a high school diploma or equivalency. From there, you need to ensure you have the required education and experience. In most Florida municipalities, you need 144 hours of classroom instruction and 8000 hours of documented electrical experience. You can opt to go to a trade school or do an apprenticeship program to meet these requirements.
The next step is to take the journeyman certification exam. A journeyman is an electrician who is allowed to work under the supervision of a master electrician. To maintain your journeyman status, you’ll need to earn continuing education credits. If you want to go further, after two years as a journeyman, you can earn your master electrician certification.
You also have the option to advance as an electrical contractor with higher earning potential or, as mentioned, start your own business.
The benefit here is that you can work (and earn money!) while you are making progress towards your education. It pays for itself much faster than a traditional four-year degree - or, even better, you may find an employer who will pay for it on your behalf!
Why Not Get Started Now?
The electrician shortage puts you in a prime position to land a well-paying job with career advancement opportunities. You can be sure that your skills and experience will be in demand not only today but tomorrow (and the next year and the year after and the year after…). While many aspects of the world are changing, our need for electrical services is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. And even then, it’ll likely just evolve and be as critical as ever.
One way to get started on your career now is to opt for temporary labor solutions. As a temporary electrician, you have the freedom and flexibility to gain experience in various work settings and on a wide variety of projects. These can lead to permanent positions, a stronger network of contacts, and enhanced opportunities.
What if you aren’t a trained electrician? There is also strong demand for electricians’ helpers. You can gain vital on-the-job skills, get a feel for the field, and pursue your education and training as you earn money.
Interested in a career in a thriving industry? Let the electrician staffing shortage work in your favor. Contact Labor for Hire to see how you can get to work - and take the next steps in your professional life.