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Residential Electrician Job Description

Residential electricians maintain, fix and install wiring and electrical equipment in private homes or apartments. Many residential electricians also work as contractors for construction companies in which they install the wiring in newly constructed homes.

Work Environment

Residential electricians work both outdoors and indoors. Their work may be physically strenuous at times, requiring repeated bending and sometimes the lifting of heavy objects. Electricians are more prone to on-the-job injuries than many other professions because of the dangerous nature of electricity. They also may have a greater risk for falls or cuts. When working outdoors, electricians may often have to deal with inclement weather as well.

Most electricians work a regular 40-hour week, though some residential maintenance electricians may sometimes be required to be on call. An electrician who is on call is available to be summoned to a house or apartment building to fix malfunctioning or faulty equipment in the middle of the night, on weekends or holidays.

Training

Electricians usually combine formal classroom instruction with an apprenticeship. There are many public and private vocational schools that offer electrician training. An apprentice electrician will work under the close supervision of experienced electricians. Most apprentice programs last at least four years, which includes one 144 hours of classroom work each year and about 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience.

Classroom training provides instruction on how to read blueprints, electrical safety and first aid, as well as specialized training in areas such as soldering.

After the apprentice period is over, new electricians must pass rigorous exams administered by their state before receiving full licensure as an electrician.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average hourly wage of a residential electrician working in the United States was $22.32, as of 2008. The lowest 10 percent of electricians earned about $13.18 per hour, while the top 10 percent earned more than $38 an hour.

Employment in the U.S.

The BLS estimated that, as of 2008, electricians held almost 695,000 jobs in the country. Most of these, or about 65 percent, were held by electricians working for electrical contracting firms. Only about 9 percent of electricians in 2008 were self-employed.

Job Outlook

The BLS estimated that employment of electricians would increase about 12 percent between 2008 to 2018. Employment prospects should remain good, especially for highly experienced residential electricians who have a wide range of experience in areas such as voice or video wiring.

In addition, as new homes and apartments are built to accommodate the ever expanding population, job prospects for electricians should remain steady.



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