Electrician jobs are held by highly skilled professionals who design, assemble, install and maintain electrical systems and machinery in commercial, industrial and domestic environments.
Electricians connect wiring and lighting, troubleshoot problems and repair electrical components and automated machinery. They also install computer networks and technology such as data, voice and video wiring.
When locating outlets and circuits, electricians follow blueprints. They use testing devices such as voltmeters and thermal scanners to identify electrical problems and verify the safety of electrical systems. Hand and power tools, such as drills, saws and wire strippers are used when repairing and replacing electrical components.
In the mining and manufacturing industries, electrical workers may be employed as part of a crew which installs and maintains electrical appliances and machinery. Domestic electricians often work alone installing wiring and troubleshooting electrical problems in peoples’ houses. Travel to different work sites is a common requirement for those who are self-employed or work for a domestic contractor.
Adherence to strict safety protocols is essential in this field and workers may be required to wear safety glasses and protective clothing on the job.
PROSPECTS FOR ELECTRICIAN JOBS:
Without electricity, the comforts and convenience of modern life would not be possible. Nearly all buildings are connected to the electricity grid, and electricians are employed in a variety of industries to install, service and maintain the machinery and electrical systems that keep society functioning. Demand for electricians is highest when there is a peak in building construction.
Current prospects for electrician jobs are positive and they are expected to remain strong well into the future. According to the Australian government’s Job Outlook website, employment for electricians grew by 61.7% over the past ten years and 19.8 % over the past two years. Employment opportunities for electricians will continue to grow in all regions of Australia up to 2020. The main areas of employment for electricians are manufacturing, construction and mining.
Alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power also offer potential areas of employment for electricians in the future as skilled professionals will be needed to link these systems with existing power grids.
EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS FOR ELECTRICIAN JOBS:
Projections from the Australian Department of Employment, 2015 to 2020. Note data is '000.
Electrical Fitter, Industrial Electrician, Service Technician, Auto Electrician, Instrument Technician, Lift Mechanic, Trade Assistant.
Examine blueprints before commencing each job
Use architectural drawings and job specifications to plan the layout for electrical systems in new buildings
Adherence to building codes
Assemble, install and repair lighting and wiring systems, ensuring that all components are compatible
Cut and connect wire cables
Install safety components such as circuit breakers and switches
Inspect electrical infrastructure to confirm it’s in good working order and meets safety standards
Perform routine maintenance jobs such as replacing old wiring and cleaning circuits
Maintain and repair automated machinery and equipment
Use a range of testing devices such as voltmeters and oscilloscopes to diagnose electrical problems
Provide reports and advice on substandard electrical equipment and safety hazards
Deal with inquiries about electrical problems and repairs
Comply with strict workplace health and safety regulations
Personal attributes required in electrician jobs:
Analytical Skills: The ability to diagnose a problem and find a solution is critical in this role. Those seeking to enter the field need to be able to think quickly and choose the right tools when performing maintenance and repair jobs. They need to have the critical thinking skills to plan and install an electrical system for a new building, and identify any potential issues.
Communication: Working with electricity can be highly dangerous, and it’s imperative that workers are able to understand and follow instructions. Electricians need to communicate effectively with supervisors and co-workers, as well as architects, engineers and other tradesmen.
Excellent vision: Good vision is essential as electricians frequently work with small electrical components and need to identify colour coded wiring.
Physical stamina: Electricians are often required to work in cramped, uncomfortable conditions. When accessing wiring, they may need to bend, squat or kneel, calling for physical stamina, flexibility and balance. Night work and long shifts are part of the job, and workers must be comfortable working on noisy building sites and in factories.
Safety conscious: Electrical shocks, burns and falls are some of the potential hazards faced by electricians. Working with electricity is extremely dangerous for those who are careless of safety or not trained correctly. Safety awareness is a key quality for anyone wanting to enter this field.
Customer Service: Electricians need to have the skills to deal with customer inquiries and provide quotes and advice as needed.
PAY FOR ELECTRICIAN JOBS:
The average weekly wage for full-time electricians before tax is $1400. The average hourly rate is $30.24 per hour. Specialised electricians earn more, with the highest earners employed in high voltage, fault finding and equipment installation. Apprentices earn a median rate of $17 per hour.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELECTRICIANS:
Electricians in Australia are generally required to complete a four-year apprenticeship. Apprenticeships involve structured classes with a certified provider and on the job training with an employer. Arrangements for apprenticeships vary as some trainees attend sessions regularly, while others are given a ‘block release’ which requires them to attend formal training less frequently. The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provides information and assistance for those seeking an apprenticeship.
In addition to completing an apprenticeship, electricians also need to attain a licence. The requirements for attaining a licence are different in each state. For example, in New South Wales, applicants much have a Certificate of Proficiency and a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, in addition to at least 12 months of experience in an area recognised by New South Wales Fair Trading.
There are no formal educational requirements for entry to the Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, and this four-year course is suitable for those seeking an entry into the field. An aptitude for maths and an interest in technical procedures is recommended. This certificate is a pre-requisite for the Diploma of Electrical Engineering which increases earning potential by giving students more in-depth knowledge.
Young people preparing to become electricians can enrol in vocational courses while still at school or in a pre-apprenticeship at TAFE. A pre-apprenticeship can shorten the length of an apprenticeship substantially.
Qualifications that can enhance employment prospects for electricians or those seeking an apprenticeship are:
Working at Heights ticket
Work in Confined Working Spaces ticket
Certificate IV in Work Health & Safety
Heavy vehicle licence
Many electrician jobs specify the following:
Previous experience with commercial, domestic or industrial electrical systems
Knowledge of safety regulations and procedures
Pre-employment screening for drugs, alcohol and general health