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What Do I Need To Be an Electrician
Posted by: Richard Firth on: 12 January 2021
Electricians are tradesmen who focus on the installation, designing, maintaining, and troubleshooting of electrical and wiring systems. They are skilled individuals who work on repairing, wiring, and maintaining electrical components in an electrical system and have the ability and skill to handle electricity on both high and low voltage properly. Electricians are divided into three categories depending on the amount of time they spend in the industry, their experience, and their training levels. These three categories include;
a. Apprentice – They are electricians at the primary level. They may still be in school or just completed their program and are currently undergoing training to gain experience in the industry. At this level, electricians do not work alone and must be keenly supervised by a professional electrician who is certified when carrying out their job.
b. Journeyman – This stage consists of an electrician who has completed the training stage and is approved or certified by a relevant body. They have also spent enough time working under a certified professional and can now start working independently. However, the number of projects one is exposed to is limited at this level, and some significant projects may require them to work under a more certified electrician.
c. Master – Electricians at this stage have mastered their work and can be trusted with significant projects. They have expertise and experience as journeymen enabling them to handle any task on their own. Most master electricians have various certifications and are skilled in multiple capacities to address different electrical challenges and demands.
The chief duty of an electrician is to ensure the safe flow of electrical current. They carry out this by safely installing electrical current into new buildings and providing proper installation and function of the same, connecting new buildings and facilities with power lines, adding power grids to increase supply in different locations as need be, among others.
These roles are versatile and cannot be done by an individual; thus, most states have devised ways of allowing electricians to specialize in two areas or more areas depending on their expertise and training background. From this knowledge, electricians are divided into various roles to carry out different projects and provide expert advice and services.
a. Inside wiremen – These electricians focus on working within buildings or inside structures. Inside wiremen work on wiring and installation of new buildings, schools, hospitals, and commercial buildings. As the name suggests, they focus on work done within the confines of a building. Their work scope entails designing and installing electrical systems within structures.
b. Outside wiremen – outside wiremen mainly work outdoors. Their primary work includes fixing or erecting transformers, power lines, traffic signals, and electrical pylons.
Outside wiremen generally need to be in good shape as they work in different climatic conditions and do a lot of physical work due to their job. Most outside wiremen do not like being constricted indoors and enjoy the outdoor work set up.
The above are the two main branches of electricians. However, electricians are further categorized depending on the type of electrical work they focus on, their geographical expertise, and the variety of electrical services they execute.
a. Residential Electrician: This group of electricians focuses on domestic installation and repairs of different residential homes such as stand-alone, duplexes, and apartments. They have the expertise to deal with home appliances, HVAC systems, and home electrical needs.
b. Commercial electricians: Commercial electricians work in commercial facilities such as schools, office buildings, and hospitals requiring low or moderate voltage. They work to install and manage commercial facilities, usually having a lot of expertise with lighting and wiring of massive facilities such as hospitals.
c. Industrial electricians: They work in an industrial set up, such as factories and manufacturing companies requiring high voltage. These electricians are skilled in the installation and maintenance of machines that require high voltage power.
The road to being an electrician is straightforward if you get an opportunity for an apprenticeship. Depending on your age, academic qualifications, or experience, it may be easy to get an apprenticeship making the process simpler. However, suppose you do not get an apprenticeship post or are an adult learner, the process may be longer due to the number of certifications you will have to acquire to work independently or carry out projects. Certificates provide you with different limited qualifications.
You need to have a wide range of certifications if you want to be a master electrician and operate independently. Certifications period range between two days to a few months depending on your work commitments and training academy attended. Still, they provide you with the required qualification to make your dream of being an electrician true. Some of the qualification to look out for if you have not undergone an apprenticeship or if you want to increase your qualification include;
The above are a few examples of the certifications you need to qualify as an electrician. Please note that these qualifications do not just apply to new individuals. They also apply to electricians at different levels. Suppose you would like to increase your certifications or have the upper hand on the number of things you can do, it is vital to continually get different certification courses.
Whether you want to be an employed electrician or go into business, the sector continually has good returns in terms of money. However, it is not confined to what you make. Being an electrician is not about knowledge only, but you need some additional skills to stand out and get more clients or tenders. Some of the skills you need include;
i. Customer service
Whether you are fixing or installing a component in a school, hospital, home, or commercial facility, you will need to interact with people. Thus, having excellent customer service is essential to help you connect with these individuals, meet their needs, and leave them feeling happy about your services. You have to be polite, listen to their needs, and learn people skills. These skills will help you excel in the job and the trade as a whole.
ii. Problem-solving skills
A lot of problems occur in the course of job execution, and some may be fatal. You need excellent problem-solving skills and ensure you do not jeopardize your chances of resolving client problems. Having the ability to quickly identify a problem and solve it is essential in this field.
An electrician needs to learn how to work with people. Whether installation or maintenance, most projects require you to work with other experts such as contractors, engineers, and real estate experts. You should be able to work in a team and well with others.
iv. Physical skills
When talking about physical skills, you don’t have to be too fit to be an electrician. Still, a fitness level is essential to execute your job correctly as you may need to lift heavy weights or climb poles and buildings, which require you to have a certain level of fitness.
To qualify and work in this field, you will have to get certifications to practice legally as an electrician. The rules and regulations dictate that you will have to complete some certifications to equip you with vital skills and knowledge to work as an approved electrician. The knowledge will help you carry out different commercial, industrial or massive projects. Some of the qualifications imposed to regulate the field warrant that you need to have industry level; three qualifications such as;
It is essential that you get these skills during your apprenticeship or as you start work since you cannot do some jobs without them. You will have to work under an experienced electrician as you gain these certifications. If you have a keen interest in venturing into industrial and environmental technology systems, you will need to get these certifications to enable you to follow regulations in place.
You can decide to get your qualifications by doing an electrotechnical apprenticeship. It takes four years and combines your studies at the college with actual work experience, providing you with the required skills to stand out and play by the rules.
Individuals who may not want to be academically trained have the option of training as domestic electricians. This training gives them the power to make or maintain electrical systems at the domestic level.
You need to register with a domestic installer scheme such as NICEIC or ELECSA. It allows you to make money doing residential installations as that is the only scope your background will accommodate. Most people are comfortable working in this sector as you can get a lot of openings.
To be recognized as an electrician and get certified, you need to pass the joint industry board set of standards. The JIB sets standards for qualification, requirements, certification, grading, welfare, and apprentice training. It is through these that a person has to gauge themselves to meet the set industry standards.
The JIB has divided different grades to enable them to rank and grade electricians. Each of these grades is distinct and has a different set of qualifications and requirements one must attain. To grow to the next level, you must meet the previous standard’s requirements.
These rules allow the body to regulate the industry and ensure certified and skilled individuals are in the market.
The body also provides a guide to employers to enable them to know the certification one must have before hiring them or giving them a job. It also protects employees from abuse and provides fairground for both parties. Lastly, it has employment laws and practices that enable governing and provide clear hiring paths to ensure safety.
Being part of a professional body has several benefits to the electrician. It is also important for the electrician to know and understand the regulatory bodies in this field. Some of the professional and regulatory bodies include the following: