A wireman is an electrician who installs and repairs electrical wiring and components in homes and other facilities. Wiremen are distinct from power linemen. Both are electricians, but a lineman mainly works outdoors on power transmission lines and equipment. Wireman generally work inside buildings. A wireman is a highly trained technician who must spend several years as a helper or apprentice in order to advance to journeyman status. The pay and job market for wiremen are good, although a college degree is not required. This is a good occupation for the person who is technically oriented and who enjoys a hands-on work environment.
Wireman Duties and Responsibilities
Wireman duties and responsibilities include installing, maintaining and repairing wiring and related electrical devices in homes, businesses, factories and construction sites The job often begins with reading technical diagrams and blueprints. Wiremen also inspect existing wiring and electrical systems to identify and correct problems or replace worn-out or defective components. Wiremen use a wide range of tools, including testing devices, soldering irons, wire cutters and standard tools such as hammers and screwdrivers. They also use power tools to cut conduit pipes, drill holes and perform other tasks.
A wireman is responsible for the safety of electrical systems so she must know and adhere to government regulations, building codes and safety rules. Because the occupation is based on the apprenticeship system, a wireman may also be responsible for training and supervising apprentices and electrician's helpers.
Wireman Work Environment
Although electrical wiremen work mostly indoors, they usually don't have a fixed work location. They must travel to where their services are required. Some do have a single work venue such as a school or factory. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 65 percent of wiremen were employed by electrical or wiring installation contractors in 2017. Another 8 percent were self employed. Manufacturing companies employed another 8 percent. About 4 percent worked for government agencies and 2 percent were employed by employment services.
A wireman does a lot of standing and kneeling, and may have to work in confined spaces. Those who work outside on jobs such as installing solar panels have to deal with temperature and weather extremes. Safety precautions are a priority due to the risk of electric shock, burns and falls. Most electricians work regular hours on a full time basis. However, emergencies or tight construction schedules may necessitate evening, weekend and overtime work at times.
Education and Training Requirements
As electricians, wiremen must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some learn on the job or by attending technical programs at vocational schools or community colleges. Most learn the wireman trade through an apprenticeship sponsored by a contractors' association or trade union. Apprenticeships take four to five years and require 144 hours of classes ad 2,000 hours work annually. Upon completion, the wireman is considered a journeyman electrician. Most states require electricians to be licensed. A new wireman must pass a test to prove his knowledge ad skills, including familiarity with the National Electrical Code and state codes.
Wireman Electrician Salary
The median wireman electrician salary in 2017 was $54,110. "Median" means 50 percent made more and 50 percent made less than this figure. At the low end, the 10 percent that were paid the least earned less than $32,180. The best-paid 10 percent received more than $92,690. Government positions paid the most, with median earnings of $60,570. Manufacturing firms and electrical contractors came next at $58,470 and$52,190, respectively. The median for employment services was $47,520. In 2018, the average wireman entry level pay was $46,225. Late-career senior wiremen averaged $62,672.
Wireman Job Growth
The BLS forecasts a 9-percent increase in jobs for electrical wiremen from 2016 to 2026. This is about the same as expected job growth for all occupations. Growth will be driven by population increases and by the growing demand for energy efficiency and for alternative energy installations such as wind turbines and solar panels. Wiremen with the skills to work on these systems will be in high demand. There are also opportunities in specialty areas, such as fire control systems, and elevator installation and maintenance.