A career as an electrician is attractive for many reasons. It's a field that's relatively easy to enter, because you can begin apprenticing with just a high school diploma. In addition, electricians earn higher-than-average salaries, and the field is expected to see above-average job growth.
The number of jobs for electricians is expected to increase by 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This represents an increase from 583,500 electricians 698,200 -- a growth of 114,700 new jobs. This is nearly double the 11 percent growth expected across all occupations over the same period.
Electricians can expect higher wages than typical workers, including those who work in other construction trades. As of 2012, the median wage for electricians was $49,840 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's 43 percent higher than the median wage of all workers in America, which was $34,750 a year in 2012. It's also 28 percent higher than the median wage earned by construction trade workers as a whole. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for construction trades was $38,970 a year. The top 10 percent of electricians earned more than $82,930 per year, according to the BLS.
Get Paid To Learn
The minimum educational requirement before beginning an apprenticeship is a high school diploma or equivalent. This means that you can begin working and earning money quickly after graduation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most electricians receive their training through apprenticeship programs that last four to five years. Along with classroom training, each year of apprenticeship includes 2,000 hours of on-the-job training for which apprentices are paid -- the equivalent of 50 40-hour weeks. You can work full-time even as you're learning your trade.
Electricians may work independently as self-employed contractors or for larger companies that offer greater job security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 9 percent of electricians were self-employed in 2012. These individuals typically work as residential electricians and can set their own hours. Other electricians work in a variety of environments, with 61 percent working for larger contractors as of 2012. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians working in factories have the most stable employment.