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Essential Skills
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As an Electrician, you may work indoors and outdoors, independently or with other construction professionals.

Careers in Skilled Trades: Electrician

Ask yourself: Do you have good communication and reading skills? Are you in good shape and good with your hands? Do you have a knack for math and working with mechanical things? Do you enjoy using tools, figuring out plans and solving problems?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as an Electrician could be right for you.

Electricians prepare, assemble, install, test, troubleshoot and repair electrical wiring, fixtures, control devices and related equipment in all types of buildings and other structures.

They are employed by electrical contractors and building maintenance departments, or they may be self-employed.

Duties

As an Electrician, your duties may include the following:

  • Installing and repairing lighting fixtures and equipment, including switches and circuit breakers
  • Connecting power to communications equipment, signalling devices and heating and cooling systems
  • Troubleshooting electronic systems and replacing faulty components
  • Conducting preventive maintenance programs
  • Reading and interpreting drawings and blueprints

Work Conditions

The standard work week for electricians is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next.

As an Electrician, you may work indoors and outdoors, independently or with other construction professionals. If you work in renovation or maintenance, you may have to deal with customers.

The work can be physically demanding, and you may have to work at heights.

As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Electricians are trained to work safely and take special precautions to protect themselves from electrical shocks.

Training and Certification

Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Electrician, called a journeyperson.

As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 40 per cent of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.

Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for Electrician Apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must be at least 16 years old and have a Grade 12 education or equivalent to enter an electrician apprenticeship program. You may find it helpful to have courses in English, physics and math.

Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as an Electrician.

Program length
Apprenticeship training programs for electricians vary across Canada, but generally involve four 12-month periods, including at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, four 8-week blocks of technical training and writing a final certificate exam.

Related work experience or completion of an electrical program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.

Certification
Certification is required in all provinces and territories. Certification tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional. It also helps you get jobs.

To be certified as an Electrician, you usually need to complete a four- to five-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a Journeyperson certificate.

As a certified Electrician you may write the Interprovincial Exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as an Electrician anywhere in Canada.

To keep their skills current, electricians have to keep up with new technology developments by reading, speaking with other electricians and attending upgrading seminars.

Info compiled from Careers in Construction

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