Career Information: Electrician
What is this job like?
Without these workers, there would be no lights, no computers, and no TVs plugged into our walls. Electricians bring us electricity. They put in the wires that carry electricity through houses, offices, and factories. They also fix electric machines.
Electricians start by reading maps—called blueprints—that show how electricity flows. Blueprints show where to put wires, electrical equipment, and outlets for plugs. When working on a new building, electricians draw new blueprints.
Then, electricians put tubes or pipes inside the walls. They also put small boxes on the walls to hold switches and outlets. They pull wires through the tubes to connect the boxes and make a path for the electricity to follow. A path for electricity is called a circuit.
Electricians also add circuit breakers, transformers, and other equipment to control how electricity flows. They make sure the right amount of electricity goes to the machines that use it. Electricians follow strict rules about how to wire buildings.
After they finish wiring, electricians use ohmmeters, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes to measure the amount of electricity running through the system.
Electricians also install wires for telephones, computers, and fire alarms. Sometimes, they use fiber optic cable.
Maintenance electricians fix electric machines or broken wiring. Some focus on houses. They might rewire a house. Or they could replace an old fuse box with one that can run more appliances.
Some electricians work in factories. They might fix motors, generators, and robots. They also inspect equipment and fix it before it breaks. They tell managers when equipment needs to be replaced. Electricians put in new electrical equipment, too.
Electricians use wire strippers, knives, hacksaws, and power tools. Some electricians stand for a long time and climb ladders. Some work in dusty, dirty, or hot places. But others work in clean places.
Workers need to be careful to avoid falls, cuts, and electric shock. They need good hand-eye coordination and to be good at seeing the different colors of wire.
Some electricians work nights and weekends. Some travel far to get to jobsites.
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