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Low voltage electrical workers, or electricians, usually work in residential maintenance or construction. They diagnose faults, repair appliances and wire installations. Training includes practical and theoretical issues in all aspects of work in the electrical field.
Low voltage electrical training can either be accomplished by studying for a degree in electrical technology and engineering or through an electrician apprenticeship program. University or college training can take two to four years. Apprenticeship programs are offered by community colleges, the electrical trade and local governments, and last four to five years.
Training in this field includes the fundamentals of electricity, wiring, the National Electric Code, safety issues, blueprint reading, technical math, introduction to mechanics, physics, circuits and technical writing. Formal education students will have to complete several courses and a final examination before receiving their degree and certification. Apprentices have to prove work experience, perform classroom training and pass a final exam before being certified.
Neither an apprenticeship nor university certification qualifies a low voltage electrician or engineer to perform unsupervised electrical work. All states require an additional examination by a local licensing board. Prerequisites for the licensing usually include a minimum of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training in the electrical trade.
2016 Salary Information for Electricians
Electricians earned a median annual salary of $52,720 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, electricians earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $69,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 666,900 people were employed in the U.S. as electricians.
Based in the U.K., Petra Turnbull has been working as a journalist since 1989. Her articles on the film and book trades have been published in "Screen International," "Dagens Naringsliv," "Film Magasinet" and other Scandinavian newspapers and magazines. She now manages her own book shop. Turnbull holds degrees in law and economics from Goethe University, Germany and Oslo Business School in Norway.