If you’re interested in a hands-on career that allows you to use your problem-solving abilities, consider becoming an electrician. The responsibilities include everything from designing, installing and repairing systems to maintaining them according to safety regulations. Learning more about this profession can help you determine if it suits your qualifications and interests.
In this article, we discuss the job of an electrician by providing an example job description and reviewing the profession’s common duties, requirements, salary and outlook.
What does an electrician do?
An electrician specializes in the design, installation, repair and maintenance of electrical systems. Electricians work for various employers, including private companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. They also inspect electrical components and ensure building systems comply with safety regulations.
Electrician job description example
Here’s an example of a job description for an electrician:
Our company is seeking an electrician who can perform installation, repair and maintenance work for commercial buildings. Their duties would include leveraging testing devices to troubleshoot electrical issues, inspecting various electrical components and adhering to local safety codes. We prefer candidates with experience in energy efficiency, as our company is looking to cut operational costs and reduce our overall carbon footprint. Other requirements for this role include:
A high school diploma
Completion of an electrician apprenticeship
At least two years of work experience
Relevant industry certification
A valid driver’s license
Common job duties of electricians
Examples of common electrician job duties include:
Specialized electrical tasks
An electrician may work with various electrical applications, install components, test conductivity and ensure the safe operation of a building’s systems. Electricians may also work with utility companies to maintain power lines by clearing tree branches and debris. Several more common trade skills and tasks electricians perform on the job include:
Diagnosing electrical issues by reading diagrams and blueprints
Installing and repairing wiring and conductive elements and electrical components in buildings and other structures
Testing and inspecting electrical work like wiring and lighting to ensure safe installation and compliance with regulatory codes
Planning and designing layouts of fixtures, wiring pathways and other electrical elements inside commercial and residential buildings
Identifying and mitigating safety hazards, code violations and other electrical issues
Depending on where they work, an electrician can specialize in certain types of projects and tasks. For instance, industrial electricians work primarily in industrial settings like factories and manufacturing plants to install and maintain power systems for equipment and machines. Electricians who specialize in residential electrical work only work with electrical installations of wiring, fixtures, lighting and other elements of homes and residential properties.
Administrative and office duties
Many electricians perform administrative tasks that relate to the operation of a business. From assigning tasks to apprentice electricians to scheduling and organizing repair and installation appointments to building relationships with customers, an electrician’s administrative responsibilities can vary. Much of the administrative work electricians do involves filling out and filing paperwork, documenting projects and transactions and organizing customer profiles. Electricians who choose to work as independent contractors in a self-employed capacity may also manage the marketing, networking and financial tasks of their work. Other common administrative duties that electricians perform include:
Organizing and maintaining electrical blueprints, diagrams and other design documents
Communicating with customers, clients, suppliers and vendors to coordinate electrical work, supplies and other necessary resources for business operations
Documenting transactions with customers and clients and recording important budget transactions
Organizing budgets and managing project funds and resources
Onboarding and training helper and apprentice electricians and organizing workflow
Depending on an electrician’s level of expertise and how long they’ve been in their career, they can perform managerial tasks that focus on the direction and oversight of work teams. In these cases, their administrative tasks can include developing training programs, organizing project tasks and conducting employee evaluations. They might also delegate tasks to employees with the appropriate skills.
Collaborative projects and tasks
Electricians also work on various team projects, especially in commercial and industrial settings. For instance, electricians who work primarily with industrial power lines, circuits and transformers may work in teams to perform large jobs. Additionally, electricians in leadership roles accept tasks that require collaboration with clients, supervisors and other tradepeople to complete jobs. Consider several more collaborative tasks electricians sometimes perform in their careers:
Designing and developing plans, diagrams or blueprints for initiating new electrical installation projects
Working with electrical engineers and other tradespeople to plan electrical installation projects
Communicating with code enforcement agencies and regulatory authorities during inspections and evaluations of electrical systems and components
These are just a few examples of the types of collaborative tasks an electrician may perform. The types of team projects they take part in can also depend on the nature of their workplace. For instance, an independent contractor may work independently more frequently than with a team or other tradespeople.
Customer service responsibilities
Electricians communicate with clients and customers almost daily in many work settings. In residential work environments, an electrician maintains regular communication with home or property owners to discuss project details and updates on progress. In industrial settings, electricians may commonly work with their commercial clients to schedule installations, repairs or maintenance and complete financial transactions when projects are done. Several more customer service tasks electricians perform include:
Maintaining office phone lines and addressing customer questions and concerns
Speaking with potential customers about products or services
Making emergency repair calls to customers’ properties and discussing repair work, fees and other aspects of performing work
Greeting clients when arriving at work sites and maintaining customer relationships
Additional electrician job requirements
If you’re interested in becoming an electrician, there are several key requirements, besides on-the-job tasks. The following electrician job requirements can provide some additional information on what steps to take to become one:
Education: Electricians typically enter the career with their high school diplomas or through an accredited electrical trade school. While it’s not a requirement, a college degree can give you a competitive advantage during your job search.
Certification: Most states require electricians to have their state licenses or certifications. You can obtain these credentials by passing exams that cover electrical applications, electrical codes and building and maintenance codes.
Skills: Aside from the hard skills in electrical maintenance and applications, relevant skills include communication, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and physical fitness.
On-the-job training: Many electricians receive required on-the-job training as apprentices. This training is necessary, especially if a beginning electrician has no previous background in the field.
Job of electrician salary
The average salary for performing the job of an electrician is $58,920 per year. Your earning potential can vary depending on where you work and your education, experience and professional qualifications. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.
Electrician job outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7% increase in the employment of electricians from 2021 to 2031. Much of the projected growth stems from the increased demand for alternative power systems that require installation. Government provisions for solar and wind-powered systems might help electricians experience even more job opportunities.
Industrial electricians require a unique set of skills to be successful in their field. These skills are the abilities that enable them to install, maintain and repair electrical systems in industrial facilities. Acquiring and effectively highlighting your skillset helps you provide efficient solutions, enhance productivity, maintain safety standards and boost your employability.
In this article, we define hard and soft industrial electrician skills, ways to improve these abilities and how to effectively showcase them in your job search.
What are industrial electrician skills?
Industrial electrician skills can be categorized into hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical abilities that are specific to the job. These skills are usually quantifiable and teachable and include wiring installations, electrical repairs, system testing and reading blueprints. Soft skills are interpersonal skills. Although less tangible than hard skills, they include qualities such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork, time management and adaptability.
Industrial electrician soft skills
Employers often emphasize soft skills, which foster a positive work environment and ensure effective project execution. Below is a list of essential industrial electrician soft skills.
Problem-solving skills for an industrial electrician refer to the ability to identify, analyze and devise solutions to electrical issues that may arise during a project.
Strong communication skills involve both verbal and written communication. These skills enable an industrial electrician to understand instructions, communicate effectively with team members and clients, and document project events accurately.
Working as an industrial electrician often involves collaboration with other professionals. Teamwork is the ability to cooperate, share responsibilities and work effectively within a group setting to achieve common objectives.
Time-management skills refer to the ability to prioritize tasks, schedule work efficiently, meet deadlines, and productively manage personal time. Time management helps keep projects on track and prevents costly delays.
In a rapidly changing industry like electrical work, adaptability is key. It is the ability to adjust and learn quickly when faced with new tools, technologies, practices or regulations.
Industrial electrician hard skills
As an industrial electrician, your hard skills allow you to do your job effectively. These technical abilities apply directly to your daily tasks and responsibilities in the field. They are what make you an expert who can safely and efficiently work with complex electrical systems in an industrial setting. Below is a list of essential industrial electrician hard skills.
This refers to your capability to install electrical wiring in accordance with current regulations. This skill is crucial as it’s foundational to the layout of any electrical system in an industrial facility.
As an industrial electrician, you will need to conduct necessary repairs whenever components break down. Expertise in electrical repairs ensures all systems run optimally, contributing to overall productivity.
Verifying whether electrical systems and components are working optimally is essential in this career. This also includes diagnosing problems and ensuring all installations are safe for use.
Blueprint reading is an essential skill. It allows you to understand an architect’s plans, diagrams or drawings so that installations and repairs proceed correctly, safely and efficiently.
How to improve your industrial electrician skills
Your path to proficiency combines continuous learning, practice and feedback. Here are some actionable steps you can take to boost your industrial electrician skills.
Nothing beats “learning by doing” when it comes to hard skills. Consider enrolling in technical education programs or apprenticeships that provide ample opportunities for hands-on training.
Engage in continuous learning
Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest developments in the field. Commit to continuous learning by attending seminars, webinars or industry events and going for further certifications to gain new skills and validate your expertise.
Seek feedback and mentorship
Don’t shy away from feedback. Connect with experienced professionals who can mentor you and provide actionable feedback on improving both your hard and soft skills.
Highlighting your industrial electrician skills
When searching for a job, it can be helpful to present your hard and soft skills effectively on your resume, in cover letters and during your interview. Let’s explore how to highlight your industrial electrician skills in each situation.
On your resume
Use bullet points to showcase your skills in a clear, easy-to-read format. For each hard and soft skill, provide an example of how you’ve used that skill in a past role to generate positive results.
In your cover letter
Your cover letter is a good opportunity to tell a story. Illustrate how you’ve used your skills to solve problems or contribute to a project’s success. Be specific by including details such as a timeframe and quantifying your successes where possible.
During an interview
When asked questions about your skills or experiences, use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to provide in-depth and insightful responses. Remember to highlight the skills that were crucial to the situation and the positive outcomes achieved as a result.
Why are industrial electrician skills important?
Industrial electrician skills are highly valued and sought-after. These skills are at the heart of your role and functionality in the industry. They determine your ability to deliver quality work and enhance your professional growth and potential. Let’s dive deeper to understand why these skills are so crucial.
To ensure safety
One of the top priorities in any industrial setting is maintaining safety standards to reduce accidents and protect personnel. Knowledge of electrical installations, repair and testing ensures that all work conforms to safety protocols. With these competencies, you actively contribute to creating a safer work environment.
To enhance productivity
A well-rounded skillset equips you to manage electrical installations efficiently, solve problems quickly and contribute effectively to team efforts. As such, you help to minimize downtime and enhance the overall productivity of your workplace.
To boost your career prospects
Having well-developed hard and soft industrial electrician skills sets you apart in a highly competitive job market. Employers are more likely to hire and promote individuals with a comprehensive skill set. Therefore, investing time in developing these skills can increase your employability and potential for career advancement.