Electrical Wiring in the Home/electrician
I'm thinking of transferring careers. What are the steps to become an electrician, how long will it take, what is the starting pay and what are the working conditions? Thanks
Licensed Philadelphia Electrician
Philadelphia License # 3516 - 16765
LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]
Electricity is dangerous!
You can be injured or killed!
Improper installations can cause fire, injury and death!
Are you qualified to do this work?
National Electrical Code definition, NFPA 70 2008 Article 100: Qualified Person. "One who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved."
Electricity is fire in a box!
Always check with the local “Authority Having Jurisdiction” for an official interpretation before making installation decisions.
In Philadelphia, it is unlawful for anyone except an individual licensed by the City of Philadelphia to install electrical equipment and wiring.
Homeowners are not allowed to install wiring.
The owner of any property wherein any such installation is discovered shall be issued a violation by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
The limited exceptions include replacing devices and fixtures at existing outlets.
Contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections for more information.
You are more likely to be killed by 120 volts than any other voltage [120 volts creates the PERFECT fatal current through the human body's electrical resistance!]
TURN THE POWER OFF WHEN WORKING!
LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]
This information is provided for the use of parties as they see fit!
I am not responsible for the application of this information by any party, including those lacking sufficient skill or knowledge to perform these steps safely and any hazard created is the SOLE responsibility of the user.
There are roughly 600.000 electricians in the United States. Since half the people in the country don't actually work, that amounts to about 1 in every 250 people who are working. That makes us the migrant farm workers of the 21st century.
The requirements to become an electrician vary from location to location. Some locales mandate testing and experience while others have no standard at all.
Since you will not be the licensed master electrician at first, the requirements are subject to the master who employs you.
If you find someone willing to hire you, you don't need to know anything at all, and they will determine your pay, which I have observed may initially not exceed minimum wage.
Unless you secure a position in the electrical union, training will be made available sporadically, if at all. Some employers take part in state recognized [if not sponsored] apprenticeship programs. Other than that, you will have to teach yourself through personal study, trade school or community college programs. None of the training will impact your pay scale. You will likely find that the more you learn the harder it will be to find employment. Many employers not affiliated with the electrical unions are owned by self-taught individuals of limited skill who prosper based on personal relationships and depend on the skills of their employees to satisfy performance requirements of their clients. Any earnings they generate, they keep for themselves. Most of these positions have no future.
Further, every fool thinks he can be, and in fact is, an electrician, so you also have to compete against every unemployed carpenter and lawn care worker.
I have raised my family and they have never gone hungry. By the same token, when I can't work anymore, I will be sleeping under a bridge.
If you have the intellect to become a good electrician and need to train in a skill and do not possess the relationships to allow building an independent contracting business supplying services to people you already have a relationship with, I recommend pursuing another field of endeavor.