An electrician specializes in installing, repairing, or maintaining electric devices and electrical wiring.
The number of electrician businesses in the U.S. is 223,776 as of 2022.
The high number is because a career as an electrician rewards professionals a good income and provides multiple working opportunities across different industries.
Nevertheless, working as an electrician has its downsides because it is physically demanding and is associated with numerous health and safety hazards.
Here are the pros and cons of being an electrician.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Pros of Being an Electrician
- 2 Cons of Being an Electrician
- 3 Should You Become an Electrician?
- 4 Sources
- 5 Pros and Cons of Being an Electrician – Summary Table
Pros of Being an Electrician
Pursuing a career as an electrician comes with many advantages that make the profession enjoyable and satisfactory.
The following are the pros of pursuing a career as an electrician.
A Degree is Not Compulsory
One benefit of being an electrician is that a degree is not mandatory for qualification.
However, you can get a diploma or a two-year degree from a community or technical college to become an electrician.
The required qualification is a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Additionally, a person can complete an apprenticeship program that takes four or five years.
You will qualify to become an electrician after completing the necessary technical training, on-job training, and exams offered in the apprenticeship program.
A career as an electrician is beneficial because it provides self-employment opportunities.
More than 10% of electricians in the U.S. are self-employed individuals.
That means you can set your rates and schedules.
You can start your own electrician business and employ other electricians to be part of your team.
Being self-employed allows you to become your own boss, work more flexibly, earn higher incomes, and enjoy tax deductibles on tools, equipment, and other things subject to tax deductibles for self-employed individuals.
Plenty of Perks of a Workers’ Union
Like other professionals, electricians have unions that individuals can join.
The professional unions can be local, regional, or national.
These unions come with various perks.
A union gives you and other electricians collective bargaining power in the market that allows you to earn higher, competitive wages, enjoy reasonable leave entitlements, and other perks.
A union will provide you with personal protection against unfair treatment and other issues in the workplace.
Join a workers’ union once you get become licensed.
Many Career Paths to Explore
Not so many professions boast of multiple career paths, like the electrician profession.
That is because an electrician can provide different electricians’ services in various industries.
The most common career paths include industrial electrician, construction electrician, electrical technician, repair electrician, maintenance electrician, and avionics technician.
The good thing is that you can specialize in one career path or provide services in multiple-related career paths.
Either way, you should select a suitable career path that aligns with your skills and interests.
Electricians enjoy a low workload than other professionals.
Those who work for long hours are maintenance electricians who work on regular business hours.
Independent electricians and junior electricians working with them do not keep regular working hours.
Most work on-call and during urgent issues.
As such, they may work for long hours this week and work for fewer hours the following week.
They have flexible schedules and do not work on weekends, holidays, and outside working hours unless there are electrical emergencies.
The pros of being an electrician cannot be complete without mentioning good pay.
While money is not the only reason people consider before venturing into a specific career, it is a significant factor in decision-making.
In 2020, electricians made a medium salary of $56,900, with the highest-paid electricians receiving $75,380 and the lowest-paid electricians taking home $42,790.
Additionally, electricians, especially independent ones, get bonuses and tips on top of the basic income.
Pursuing a career as an electrician will earn you good money.
Respect from Community
Electricians receive a lot of respect from people in the community throughout their careers, even as an apprentice.
That is because they have specialized knowledge and skills for dealing with complex issues that most people lack.
Their work is also significant in ensuring productivity and comfort.
After all, people look up to electricians to install, repair, and maintain electrical and related things.
They are also respected because they work in dangerous settings and still ensure the security and safety of others.
Cons of Being an Electrician
A career as an electrician is not entirely a bed of roses.
It has various disadvantages that make the work challenging and unpleasant.
Here are the cons of being an electrician.
Electricity work takes a toll on the body.
Some activities like fixing wires and installing fixtures need electricians to climb buildings or ladders and navigate dangerous or dark places with heavy tools and equipment.
Others involve bending, lifting, and pulling things.
Some electrical work also involves working outdoors in extreme weather conditions.
These physical activities and settings can significantly strain your neck and joints.
The physical toll depends on your duties and can be detrimental as you become older.
Work at Odd Hours
Electricians normally work eight hours a day.
However, some electricians have flexible working hours and usually work at odd hours.
If you are an electrician with a power utility company, you will find yourself working at awkward hours, like in the middle of the night or early morning, to restore power for people in your area.
Unless you are on leave, you cannot travel away because you must always be ready to report for work on short notice.
Takes Many Years to Qualify
Although a college degree is not compulsory for being an electrician, it takes many years to complete an apprenticeship program.
The time to complete electrical training depends on completed requirements and earned credits.
In general, you will need 1,000 hours of classroom work and 8,000 hours of on-site training and work experience.
You will finish the program in four years if you work full time because one year is equivalent to 2,000 hours.
It will take longer if you work part-time.
Learning is Endless
A career as an electrician means that you will never stop learning.
You must meet certain continuing education requirements in your career to maintain your licensure.
You must also improve your skills and keep up with technological development in your career.
Therefore, you should have a passion for being up-to-date with the latest knowledge, skills, and technologies in practice to maintain your competitive edge.
Besides going for classes, you can look for resources online.
Electrical Work is Dangerous
Electrical work can be hazardous.
According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, electricians are some of the professionals who undergo more occupational injuries and illnesses.
The most common injuries suffered by electricians include electrical shocks, electrical burns, lacerations, falls, and other related injuries.
Fatal accidents related to electrical workplaces can even lead to death.
About 80 electricians die at work every year because of electrical injuries and exposure.
Taking safety measures is necessary for ensuring safety in electrical work.
You Must Have Your Own Tools
When working as an electrician, you must carry your own tools and equipment to the workplace.
Tools and equipment make electrical work quick, simple, and safe.
However, the fact that you have to have your own implies that you must buy your tools.
You might spend a lot of money buying tools and equipment because some are pretty expensive.
Fortunately, some workers’ unions provide their members with electrical work tools and equipment.
Electricians must follow building and state codes when installing, repairing, or maintaining electrical components and systems.
Failure to abide by these codes could lead to errors.
The errors could force you to redo the work.
The errors could lead to more serious issues like electrical accidents and fires in some instances.
For this reason, independent electricians must have general liability insurance and surety bond to protect themselves against potential liability to losses and damages.
Should You Become an Electrician?
If you were contemplating becoming an electrician, this article should make the decision-making easy.
The profession is advantageous because a degree is not a compulsory requirement, self-employment opportunities are present, and there are plenty of career paths to follow.
You will also get good pay, respect from the community, and have less workload.
Nevertheless, the profession is hazardous and physically demanding.
It would be best to consider pursuing a career as an electrician because its pros outweigh its cons.
Pros and Cons of Being an Electrician – Summary Table
|Pros of Being an Electrician||Cons of Being an Electrician|
|A Degree is Not Compulsory||Physically Demanding|
|Self-Employment Opportunities||Work at Odd Hours|
|Plenty of Perks of a Workers’ Union||Takes Many Years to Qualify|
|Many Career Paths to Explore||Learning is Endless|
|Low Workload||Electrical Work is Dangerous|
|Good Pay||Must Have Your Own Tools|
|Respect from Community||High Risk|