Becoming a Qualified Electrician: The Basics

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The economic downturn of 2008 sent shockwaves across the globe that are still being felt today. Indeed, in any era plagued by a fluctuating economy, the priority first and foremost is job security. That means being on the lookout for those career paths that maintain relative stability and growth even in the worst of times. One such career path is that of certified electrician.

For many years, the notion of becoming a qualified electrician has appealed to many people from all walks of life, from young adults deciding which care to middle-aged men and women looking to embark on a second career.

Qualified Electrician

For example, according to the National Career Service, a first year apprentice electrician earns around 8,000 pounds a year while newly qualified electricians often earn between 17,000-20,000 pounds per year. Those with a  great deal of experience often earn up to 30,000 pounds a year. And when taking into account bonuses and overtime, it is possible to earn much more.

Of course, there are many things the average person must take into account before embarking on this particular career path. Here are some of those considerations.

The job

Most people regard an electrician’s work in basic terms: repairing and fitting electrical units and wiring. And at its core, this is indeed what an electrician does. However, the trained electrician also does much more. The tasks of an electrician vary from basic home-electricity service to advanced engineering projects. They often install high-tech, fibre optic data cables and even work with wind turbines or solar panel systems.

Because the nature of electrical work is so diverse, careers in the electrotechnical field are separated into different groups. These include:

  • Maintenance electrician: this is a person whose primary job responsibility is the regular inspection of electrical systems.
  • Installation electrician: This area focuses on the installation of entire electrical systems as well as working with fire safety, security and lighting.
  • Machine repair electrician: focuses on repairing electrical motors and transformers.
  • Highway systems electrician: works to install and maintain highway systems such as traffic lights and roadside lighting.
  • Electrotechnical panel builder: works to build and install panels that control the electrical systems of entire buildings.

Entry requirements

To be able to work as an electrician, a person must receive a level 3 qualification from an industry recognized training establishment. The good news is there are many of these locations throughout the country and all offer level 3 qualification courses in a variety of specialties. These include:

  • Electrotechnical services diploma
  • Electrotechnical systems & equipment diploma
  • Electrical installations diploma

For a comprehensive list of electrical training courses throughout the country,


After accreditation and once in the field, the average electrician works a 37-hour week, with overtime options. This work is primarily done Monday through Friday and electricians are either office based for regular shifts or on call for those companies that offer 24-hour service.

These are some of the basics to keep in mind when considering a career as a qualified electrician. Above all, being an electrician requires good practical skills, a technical mindset, careful attention to detail, a willingness to work in tight spaces, no aversion to heights and good problem-solving skills.

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