Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine any construction process being successfully completed without fully functioning electrical systems. Those who operate in the construction industry know that electrical work is part and parcel of any type of building, be it an industrial, commercial, or residential one.
That means there is always a high demand for electricians who know electrical trades inside out and can contribute to a smooth run of a newly-constructed building. Electricians need to have expertise in designing and installing electrical systems of different scopes (heat, light, power, fire alarms, etc.) and be able to maintain electrical systems designed during the planning stage.
In this article, we will give you a brief overview of what electricians are responsible for on a daily basis, what tasks they perform, what theoretical base and practical skills you can acquire if you take an educational electrician program, and what career opportunities you can expect to have after successfully completing the training.
Electricians' scope of responsibilities
As we have already mentioned above, electricians are indispensable workers on any construction site. They take care of all electrical components and systems and make sure that they run without interruptions.
Namely, the responsibilities of an electrician include the following:
- Electrical equipment and system installation: an electrician is a person who installs and connects all the systems and makes sure that installation requirements are met. This stage is about getting familiar with wiring layouts, reading electrical drawings and applicable codes, working with switches, outlets, and circuit breaker panels, and preparing electrical properties for operation.
- Keeping an eye on the installed systems: an electrician who maintains electrical systems and ensures that they are functioning in the intended manner. If there is any damage to the components, they need to be either fixed or replaced by a professional.
- An electrician does not only control equipment but also needs to comply with different types of local and state codes so that the systems run safely and smoothly. They have to know how to deal with systems placed in confined and restricted locations and what rules to follow when installing them.
- Electricians do not work on their own because they need to do cross-functional communication and work closely with other employees on the construction site, such as engineers and architects. For example, they may need to study architectural drawings in order to see if the systems can be integrated into the designed building.
- Electrical contractors often deal with customers and clients to find out more about their needs and necessities. This helps to identify if a customer will be satisfied with the project upon its completion, and means that communication skills are also a must for any electrician.
As you can see from the list of responsibilities, an electrician needs to have deep theoretical knowledge (like electrical theory) and practical skills so that they perform successfully in their jobs. If you want to become an electrician or expand your apprehension of this area, taking a course or apprenticeship training can help you to boost your professional competence.
Must-have skills for an electrician
Just like in any other job, electricians need to possess certain skills to perform successfully in the workplace.
Here are the top skills necessary for the job:
- Manual dexterity
- Knowledge of the requirements related to industrial and residential applications
- Awareness of the Occupational Health and Safety requirements
- Problem-solving and planning skills
- Teamwork skills
- Computer skills
- Mathematical capabilities
If you feel you have the skills described above, it is a tell-tale sign that you can become a successful electrician and be able to provide heat, power, and light for buildings. In case you are ready to start your education, read on to learn more about the available training programs.
Train to become an electrician
To become an electrician, you can choose from different programs available for candidates who would like to receive basic knowledge and technical training for the job.
There are two most popular options for aspiring electricians:
Such schools provide their students with a number of courses related to the electrical trade and teach how to install distribution and control equipment, wire and connect systems of different kinds, form circuits, and many other interesting things. Typically, technical schools offer short-term trades training that can become a good springboard for those who only just enter the field.
This is more in-depth training that covers topics studied in a technical school, plus additional topics like understanding diagrams, blueprints, and other documentation. An apprenticeship training will also teach you how to handle different tools and equipment, as well as maintain and troubleshoot issues related to it. On top of that, those who do an apprenticeship program also receive training in safety regulations and communicating with customers.
For those who wish to take self-paced courses, there is a way out, and this is online training. A great benefit of online education is that you can learn everything about fire alarm systems, lighting branch circuits, fuse enclosures, electrical conductor enclosures, and the ways to direct current machines from anywhere in the world. The drawback can be that you may miss out on gaining hands-on experience in the field and industry training, so it is important to weigh all the pros and cons of this type of education before applying.
Electrician courses takeaway
All in all, you are free to choose the format that suits you best. However, it is also crucial to analyze what kind of benefits you can get from taking a chosen program. For example, some programs offer work placements upon their successful completion, which is a great perk for those who only begin their career journey.
For electricians who are already employed and want to gain experience in new areas, it might be a good idea to look for courses that provide on-the-job training with experienced electricians. It is also significant to see if the chosen program focuses on the skill you want to develop: for example, you want to learn how to approach alternating current machines, work with a programmable logic controller, or study a Canadian electrical code.
To sum up, if you decide to master electrician skills, take some time to understand what works best for you and what kind of outcome you would like to have after completing the course.
If you are an ambitious person and want to know your area for growth, we can give you a couple of ideas. You can start with commercial or residential companies to gain experience and then switch to the mining or manufacturing business. When you feel ready, you can become an electrical inspector or a technical instructor and continue to grow in a managerial role.
In other words, getting an education as an electrician does not mean you are confined to one role for the rest of your career. You can always find something that appeals to you with the right combination of technical and soft skills.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
How to become an electrician in Canada?
Foremost, you need to be 18 or older to start a career as an electrician. Secondly, you need to receive the necessary training to have the certificates allowing you to work with electrical systems and equipment. And do not forget to regularly attend seminars, workshops, and pieces of training to maintain the level of your professional skills.
How to become an electrician apprentice?
To become an apprentice, you can either submit a request to join a professional group or enroll in a course for electricians. If you choose the latter option, you need to check the requirements for the program because you may be required to have a certain kind of diploma to become an apprentice.