An electrician looks over a blueprint

Pros and Cons of Being an Electrician

Electricians are in charge of setting up and keeping up electricity. This can extend to lighting and control systems for individuals or large companies. Being an electrician might seem like a great job for some people, but not everyone is cut out for it. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of being an electrician.

Pro: You can often enter an apprenticeship in lieu of going to school.

While many professions require you to attend school for a few years and get formal training, electricians often learn through apprenticeship. This means that you get paid while you work under a qualified electrician who will help you understand the ins and outs of the job. This can often be done in as little as four years. You may still have to take a test to become a real electrician in the end, though.

Con: You may find yourself working some odd hours.

Being an electrician isn’t necessarily a nine to five job. Working for an electric company, for example, means that you have to be prepared to go out into a rainstorm in the middle of the night to turn a neighborhood’s power back on. Sometimes, electricians from other states are called upon to go help overwhelmed nearby electricians. This can mean spending a lot of time away from your family and potentially doing a large amount of unplanned traveling. An electrician needs to be prepared to perform repairs at a moment’s notice.

Pro: Electricians are a necessary commodity.

The entire nation relies on electricity—not just at home, but at their offices and factories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that electricians will have a greater than average job growth rate of 14% over the next 10 years. This means you’re going to be needed for some time to come. There’s also a wide range of jobs that electricians can hold. In addition to working for a power company, some apartment complexes, stadiums, and other companies may keep their own electricians on hand.

Con: It’s hard work, and you won’t stay spry forever.

Being an electrician can mean running power lines on the side of the road, sending wires through crawl spaces, or any number of other cramped and crowded places. If you’re going to be an electrician, you should be prepared for a lot of strenuous activity—from climbing, to lifting, to crawling. Remember, if you’re looking for a career, it’s something you intend to do for many, many years to come. Also, remember that when you’re 60 you may not be interested in crawling around basements or wriggling up 100 foot ladders.

Pro: You can make a very decent living.

Electricians don’t make money like a doctor, but it can still be a comfortable living. The BLS reports the median pay for electricians as about $50,000 a year—depending on how much experience you have and exactly what aspect of the field you’re working in. The lowest 10% of electricians only earned about $30,000 a year; the highest 10%, however, earned close to $90,000 a year. That’s a big difference, so make sure you do your research when you decide where you want to work and what kind of an electrician you want to be.  

Con: Working with electricity can be dangerous.

Being an electrician is fraught with dangers on a daily basis. And I’m not just talking about cuts, burns, and scrapes that happen easily when working with heavy equipment and specialty tools. Electricity can be seriously dangerous. It’s entirely possible that you could be badly electrocuted, not to mention the dangers that come from working up high. While it’s important to be confident in yourself, you always have to be able to rely on your team and to be prepared to work quickly, but efficiently, so that you aren’t a danger to yourself or your crew.

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