From an early age, you’re asked what you want to do after school. Are you going to study, what are you going to study and why have you chosen a particular course? As a teenager it’s very difficult to decide your future path. Without life experience and exposure to different options, your frame of reference is limited and you may not be sufficiently equipped to make the wisest career choice.
When considering different options, many people overlook the more practical careers in favour of a degree or equivalent qualification. There’s significant value in choosing a practical trade, like being an electrician, as your career.
From the 1800s until today, we’ve come to rely heavily on electricity to power our homes, our businesses and even our entertainment. As much as we take it for granted, electricity doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Electrical systems require on-going servicing, monitoring, and updating to be able to cope with demand, and to ensure an unbroken supply of power to customers.
The electricians who carry out the necessary maintenance, whether in your home or at an electrical plant, are highly qualified individuals with a knowledge and understanding of electricity and electrical systems. They’ve chosen this noble and very necessary profession for many different reasons: some for passion, some for financial reasons, or others may be following a family tradition. Being an electrician is a great career, and here are some of the reasons why.
Career as an Electrician
With few exceptions, every household and business relies on electricity. It’s hard to imagine a time in the future when electricity will be obsolete. Even with the shift to solar power and greener options, the demand for electricity is high and constant.
Your services as an electrician will always be needed. The average man on the street may be able to change a plug, but diagnosing problems with and fixing complicated electrical systems aren’t common skills. These are taught, practiced and honed over time setting you apart from others in the service that you offer.
When you tire of the area, county or country that you’re working in, there is a wealth of opportunities for electricians abroad. Your skill-set can be used worldwide enabling you to travel to distant locations and still ply your trade, thus maintaining your financial freedom. If you choose a career as an electrician, you choose a career for life.
A domestic electrical installation qualification provides you with a wide-ranging set of skills enabling you to handle diverse electrical issues around the home. This is the most popular course and provides a broad base from which you can diversify and focus your skills in a certain direction.
Once you’ve completed this course, there are a number of add-on courses that you can sign up for to enhance your qualification. Additional certificates can enable you to take on larger domestic jobs, industrial jobs, or become a specialist in an area of electrical installations.
Tradesmen are sought after throughout the world. You’ll find that being an electrician opens doors to employment opportunities in countries that you may never have considered. Even a country like Australia, with its strict immigration policies, welcomes electricians to its shores. Your qualification won’t guarantee you a visa, or a job, but it’s certainly easier to get both than with many other qualifications.
Be Your Own Boss
Being an electrician provides a great opportunity to be your own boss and build a small business. Once you’ve qualified, equip yourself with the basic tools of your trade, and you can start work straight away. You have the power to set your own hours, and be as flexible as you wish.
You can be selective about the jobs that you take on, especially initially if you’re looking to build up your confidence. Once you’ve established a good client base, you can take on an apprentice and provide valuable on-the-job training. This stands you in good stead to grow your business and secure your reputation in the industry.
Training and Financial Aspects
Studying for a university degree takes a large amount of time and money. Many people aren’t able to afford the fees on their own and take out a student loan to assist them. While a loan is helpful at the time, the funds need to be paid back and interest accrues each month.
An electrical qualification requires less lecture time and costs less to enrol for, making it both quicker and cheaper to complete than a three-year university degree. You also have the chance to learn on the job by starting out as an apprentice. Gaining experience while studying is the best way to learn and will build your confidence immeasurably.
Electricians are currently the highest paid tradesmen in the United Kingdom, earning an average of £1,500 – £2,000 per year more than plumbers. The more qualified you are, the more you can potentially earn, whether as an employee or the owner of your own business.
Not everyone relishes the idea of being office-bound. If the thought of spending hours at a desk, on the computer, or in meetings makes you want to run for the hills, then perhaps you’re more suited to a hands-on job like being an electrician.
Variety is the spice of life, and every day is different in this trade. With a few jobs lined up daily, you’ll be on the move, in and out of a number of areas and homes. You meet new people and work in new environments regularly. This change of scenery can be stimulating and exciting, things that you may not experience if you were confined to a four-walled office space, doing the same thing day after day.
As an electrician, you’ll find that on any given day different skills are called into play. You may be required to replace wiring, source the reason for a domestic power outage, add a new wall socket or simply test electrical equipment. Jobs vary in difficulty, and some are quick whereas others may take much longer to complete. The successful outcome of any job, and knowing that you’ve helped your customer, provides invaluable job satisfaction.
What Skills Do You Need To Be An Electrician?
While many skills are learnt in classes or on the job, there are some things that will help you when you go into the electrical trade.
There will be many occasions when you’re required to work with small components of a circuit or a piece of equipment. Good hand-eye coordination is needed to enable you to carry out your task efficiently. A lack of coordination can lead to fumbles and mistakes with potentially serious consequences.
Logical Thinking and Problem-solving
On the job you’ll be confronted by various electrical problems, some common and others not. You need to be able to identify solutions, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of these solutions to determine the best remedy for the problem.
Logical thinking will also be required when you’re looking at blueprints and diagrams, or planning an electrical installation in a new build.
Good vision is imperative to be an electrician. If your vision is good because you wear glasses or contact lenses, that’s no problem. If however you suffer with colour-blindness, however, you will struggle in this trade.
The most frequent occurrence of colour-blindness is the inability to “see” red and green. These are common wire colours in electrical circuits, and connecting them incorrectly can have serious, or even fatal, repercussions.
Patience and Focus
Not all jobs are quick and easy. You’ll have plenty that require endless patience and unwavering focus. An inability to concentrate for lengthy periods of time can result in a job taking longer than necessary to complete.
High levels of patience are useful when analysing a problem to identify the source and come up with a suitable solution. Not all electrical problems are obvious and you may take hours to diagnose the issue.
Good Physical Health
While not a skill per se, physical fitness is vital for you as an electrician to carry out some tasks. Heavy lifting, crawling through small spaces, keeping your balance on ladders or ledges, or working for periods with your arms raised is challenging. Without a good level of physical fitness, you will struggle to perform your tasks, and may injure yourself in the process.
While many people will value a three-year university degree over a shorter electrical course, there must be no less value placed on the role of electricians in the world. Being an electrician is an honourable career, and the prospects for financial well-being, personal growth and job satisfaction are high. If you relish the idea of working in an exciting environment, where each day brings a different challenge, then being an electrician may be just the right career for you.
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