Some folks take a shower before work, others clean up after. If you think the worker who gets their hands dirty is an “unskilled laborer,” you don’t know what it takes to be an electrician.
Come on. Just look at the training. And, we’re hiring!
Becoming an Electrician
The path to becoming an electrician is far longer and more demanding than you might expect. First, you’ll need your high school diploma or GED. Then, once you decide you’re interested in electrical work, you’ll begin your formal training. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) all have apprenticeship programs. Each of these programs includes both classroom courses and on-the-job training and take about 4 years to complete. You could also go to a technical vocational school or training academy instead, but then you’ll have to find an apprenticeship on your own to develop your on-the-job skills.
Next step: get a job where you’re supervised by a journeyman electrician.
Finally, before you can call yourself an electrician you’ll need to get licensed. Every city or state has its own requirements. In general, they’ll test you on your knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local electric and building codes. And on your journey to getting your license, you’ll need to study and/or understand:
- Simple math
- basic algebra
- units and measurements
- the physics of electricity
- electrical power distribution
- reading blueprints
- electrical safety
- The National Electric Code
- electrical components
- grounding systems
- tools, materials, and job site management
- testing and problem-solving.
Unskilled? Hardly. Sure it’s a physical job where you get dirty. Some days, you’ll be working in crawl spaces or dusty attics. But, in the end, a licensed electrician ensures your electrical system is safe and functional. They’re skilled professionals with education, training, and practical experience to boot.
Projects Electricians Can Help With
Electricians are good for a lot more than fixing your power when it goes out. In fact, a licensed electrician can help with all kinds of projects you may not have known about. A professional electrician can help with all kinds of electrical projects, including:
- Installing new lighting fixtures. A professional electrician will do the installation safely, make sure the lights are installed to code, and finish the job in far less time.
- Electronics. Let’s say you just spent a ton of money on a new home entertainment system. The last thing you want to do is install it yourself. You could damage it, or set it up incorrectly, or waste energy. An electrician can help you avoid all that.
- Appliances. An electric washer, dryer, stove, or air conditioner may require their own circuit. Upgrading from 120 to 240 volts is definitely a job for a pro.
- Hot Tub. When you think about mixing electricity and water, you want to be sure you’re installing your new hot tub correctly. Hire a pro so it’s done right.
- In-floor Heating. If you’ve ever crawled out of a warm bed and stepped on to a cold floor, you know it’s time to install in-floor heating. It’s pretty nice to walk on a warm floor and–bonus–it’s also highly energy efficient! It could lower your energy bills.
Of course, there are some projects where you know you need an electrician.
Projects Electricians Must Help With
- A new electrical panel. New electrical panels are much safer than older ones. They can help you avoid future problems like blown fuses, flipped circuits, and flickering lights. A new panel can also handle your increasing need for power and let you use several appliances at once.
- Inspecting your entire system to find and correct possible problems before they happen.
- Wiring new additions.
- Installing a charge station for an electric vehicle.
- Replacing switches with dimmer switches.
- Putting in GFCI outlets to make your bathroom, kitchen and other areas with water safer.
Here are a few more reasons to hire a licensed, professional electrician.
Why You Should Hire a Professional Electrician
- A professional, licensed electrician is safer. If the job isn’t done correctly, you could be looking at serious safety issues later, like fire, shock, and other hazards.
- Electricians save you money in the long run. We’re talking about more than fires or shocks. When circuits aren’t properly installed, they can waste energy, damage appliances, ruin electronic gears, and harm electrical devices.
- You can trust electricians because they must be licensed by the state and most electrical work requires a permit. When you hire an electrician, you know they’re following the rules that are in place to keep you safe.
- A professional electrician is experienced and they can troubleshoot and fix the problem. Bottom line, they produce results as efficiently as possible.
When you need electrical work done, hiring an electrician is like investing in your home and doing things the right way. It’s not only safer, but it will be more reliable and cost-effective.
Not bad for a profession that some (not you any more, of course, but some) consider unskilled labor. If you’re interested in hiring an electrician, give Early Bird a call any time. Our licensed professional experts will be there right away.