Electricians perform a wide range of duties in a number of industries. Typically, electricians work in construction or maintenance installing or repairing electrical systems and equipment. Improving electrical skills can lead to new job opportunities, a promotion or an industry switch. For example, electricians that work in construction perform less complex work than those that work in the automobile industry. A combination of continuing education, additional hands-on training and exposure to multiple industries or roles can help you become a better electrician.
Continue your education by enrolling in programs or courses that can enhance your skill set. Contact the joint training committee in your area if you have not completed an apprenticeship program. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the National Electrical Contractors Association or the Associated Builders and Contractors offer apprenticeship programs that typically last four years (see Resources). Apprenticeships combine classroom work with on-the-job training and are required by many employers.
Study the National Electrical Code (see Resources), which lays the foundation for safety in electrical installation and maintenance. The code is revised regularly and keeping abreast of changes will ensure you understand current code violations and requirements.
Expand your skill set to include electrical work in construction and maintenance. Construction electricians install systems into new structures while maintenance electricians work to upgrade and repair equipment. A combination of construction and maintenance skills improves an electrician's understanding of an electrical system.
Seek manufacturer-specific training to increase your knowledge of components, equipment and appliances prevalent in the industry. Several training companies offer manufacturer-specific programs. Contact the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (see Resources) for training information.
Enroll in management training or inspection courses. Supervisors and managers work on construction projects and utilize cost, material and time estimations when completing jobs. As a result, business courses in project management can propel an electrician's career. Contact the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (see Resources) or speak with your employer for information about management training.
Pursue a degree in electrical engineering at an accredited university or technical college. Electrical engineers "design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They specialize in the manufacture of electrical equipment and systems engineering and work in the aircraft and automobile industries.