Electrician Jobs Overview
Electricians install and maintain electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.
Duties of Electricians are typically :
- Read blueprints or technical diagrams,
- Install and maintain wiring, control, and lighting systems,
- Inspect electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers,
- Identify electrical problems with a variety of testing devices,
- Repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures using hand tools and power tools,
- Follow state and local building regulations based on the National Regulating Authority,
- Direct and train workers to install, maintain, or repair electrical wiring or equipment.
Almost every building has an electrical power, communications, lighting, and control system that is installed during construction and maintained after that. These systems power the lights, appliances, and equipment that make people’s lives and jobs easier and more comfortable.
Installing electrical systems in newly constructed buildings is less complicated than maintaining equipment in existing buildings. This is because electrical wiring is more easily accessible during construction. In addition, maintaining equipment and systems involves identifying problems and repairing broken equipment that is sometimes difficult to reach. Maintenance work may include fixing or replacing parts, light fixtures, control systems, motors, and other types of electrical equipment.
Electricians read blueprints, which are technical diagrams of electrical systems that show the location of circuits, outlets, and other equipment. They use different types of hand and power tools, such as conduit benders, to run and protect wiring. Other commonly used hand and power tools include screwdrivers, wire strippers, drills, and saws. While troubleshooting, electricians also may use ammeters, voltmeters, thermal scanners, and cable testers to find problems and ensure that components are working properly.
Many electricians work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with others. For example, experienced electricians may work with building engineers and architects to help design electrical systems for new construction. Some electricians may also consult with other construction specialists, such as elevator installers and heating and air conditioning workers, to help install or maintain electrical or power systems. At larger companies, electricians are more likely to work as part of a crew; they may direct helpers and apprentices to complete jobs.
The following are examples of types of electricians:
Maintenance electricians and Millwrights maintain and repair large motors, equipment, and control systems in businesses and factories. They use their knowledge of electrical systems to help these facilities run safely and efficiently. Some also install the wiring for businesses and factories that are being built. To minimize equipment failure, inside electricians often perform scheduled maintenance.
Residential electricians install wiring and troubleshoot electrical problems in peoples’ homes. Those who work in new-home construction install outlets and provide access to power where needed. Those who work in maintenance and remodeling typically repair and replace faulty equipment. For example, if a circuit breaker repeatedly trips after being reset, electricians determine the reason and fix it.
Electricians work indoors and outdoors, in homes, businesses, factories, and construction sites. Because electricians must travel to different worksites, local or long distance commuting is often required.
On the jobsite, they occasionally work in cramped spaces, and constant standing and kneeling can be tiring. Those who work in factories are often subject to noisy machinery. As a result, hearing protection must be worn to protect workers from excess noise.
Many electricians work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with others. At larger companies, electricians are more likely to work as part of a crew; they may direct helpers and apprentices to complete jobs.
Injuries and Illnesses
Electricians have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Although few accidents are potentially fatal, common injuries include electrical shocks, falls, burns, and other minor injuries. Workers must therefore wear protective clothing and safety glasses to reduce these risks.
Almost all electricians work full time, which may include evenings and weekends. However, work schedules may vary during times of inclement weather. During scheduled maintenance, or on construction sites, electricians can expect to work overtime.
Self-employed electricians often work in residential construction and may have the ability to set their own schedule.
Education and Training
Although most electricians learn through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. According to regulations Electricians must be properly certified and licensed. For more information, contact your local or regional electrical licensing board or contact the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS).
Some electricians start out by attending a technical school. Many technical schools offer programs related to circuitry, safety practices, and basic electrical information. Graduates usually receive credit toward their apprenticeship.
After completing their initial training, electricians may be required to take continuing education courses. These courses are usually related to safety practices, changes to the electrical code, and training from manufacturers in specific products.
Apprenticeship and Training
Most electricians learn their trade in a 4 or 5 year apprenticeship program. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete technical training and practical on-the-job training. In the classroom, apprentices learn electrical theory, blueprint reading, mathematics, electrical code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. They also may receive specialized training related to soldering, communications, fire alarm systems, and elevators.
After completing an apprenticeship program, electricians are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own, subject to any local licensing requirements. Because of this comprehensive training, those who complete apprenticeship programs qualify to do both construction and maintenance work.
Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:
Minimum age of 18,
High school education or equivalent National Diploma,
Color vision. Electricians must identify electrical wires by color,
Able to perform tests and use the results to diagnose problems,
An Electrician earns an average salary of R206,974 per year. Most people move on to other jobs if they have more than 20 years’ experience in this field. Experience has a moderate effect on income for this job. The skills that increase pay for this job the most are Plant Maintenance and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) / Automation.
The starting pay for apprentices is usually between 30 percent and 50 percent of what fully trained electricians make, receiving pay increases as they gain more skill.
Almost all electricians work full time, which may include evenings and weekends. During scheduled maintenance, inside electricians can expect to work overtime. Overtime is also very common on construction worksites, where meeting deadlines is critical.
Employment of electricians is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As homes and businesses require more wiring, electricians will be needed to install the necessary components. Overall growth of the construction industry and the need to maintain older equipment in manufacturing plants also will require more electricians.
Alternative power generation, such as solar and wind, is an emerging field that should require more electricians for installation. Increasingly, electricians will be needed to link these alternative power sources to homes and power grids over the coming decade. Employment growth stemming from these sources, however, will largely be dependent on government policy.
With greater efficiency and reliability of newer manufacturing plants, demand for electricians in manufacturing should increase as more electricians are needed to install and maintain systems. However, this increase in demand will be partially offset by the closing of older facilities.
Employment of electricians fluctuates with the overall economy. On the one hand, there is greater demand for electricians during peak periods of construction building and maintenance. On the other hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction and maintenance falls.
Electricians in factories tend to have the most stable employment.
Electricians with the widest variety of skills should have the best job opportunities.
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