What Does an Electrician Do?

Electrician Nashville TN installs and repairs electrical power, communications, lighting and control systems. These systems make our homes and work places run smoothly and efficiently.


To become an electrician, you need to complete a certificate program at an accredited trade school or community college. The programs take 4-6 months to complete. You will learn about blueprint reading, residential wiring, electric motors and AC circuitry.

Electricians install, repair, and maintain electrical wiring, equipment, appliances, and fixtures. They read blueprints to determine the location of wires and other components, and then connect them using hand tools and power tools. They also troubleshoot malfunctioning systems, and test fuses, transformers, circuit breakers, and outlets to ensure compliance with regulations. Other responsibilities include placing conduit (pipes or tubing) in walls and other concealed areas, fastening small metal or plastic boxes to the walls to house switches or outlets, and completing circuits between these boxes with insulated wires or cables. They may work from ladders, scaffolding, or roofs to access difficult-to-reach areas.

Electrician duties also include collaborating with other team members to plan and execute projects, ensuring that all electrical infrastructure complies with building and safety codes. They liaise with architects and engineers to understand structural layouts, collaborate with HVAC and plumbing professionals to avoid system conflicts, and communicate with inspectors to adhere to safety regulations. In some cases, they may also be responsible for estimating the cost and duration of projects.

While most electricians work in commercial or residential settings, some specialize in low voltage systems, which operate on lower power levels and are used for things like home automation, security, and telecommunications. These electricians must be familiar with new technologies and able to integrate them into existing electrical systems. They also need to stay apprised of revisions to electrical codes, and they must manage the risk of injury from cramped, physically demanding working conditions.

The most important skills for a career as an Electrician include math competency to decipher technical plans and drawings, and good communication to liaise with other tradespeople. They must also have a keen eye for detail, and be physically fit enough to climb ladders and scaffolding to reach awkward spaces. It is also common for them to spend extended periods standing or kneeling, and they must be able to lift heavy components that can weigh up to 50 pounds. Many Electricians choose to join a labor union, which helps them negotiate with employers over pay and benefits.

Education and Training Requirements

There are a few educational and training requirements that must be met for someone who wants to become an electrician. First, a high school diploma or GED certificate is required for admission to most electrical training programs. If you don’t have a high school diploma, some trade schools offer GED preparation courses in addition to their regular programs. You also need to be at least 18 years old and physically fit enough for work on construction sites.

Trade school programs typically involve classroom and hands-on learning with a mix of theory and practical applications. Students learn how to read construction blueprints, wiring schematics and electrical safety protocols. They also gain valuable on-the-job experience through an apprenticeship program, usually lasting 2-4 years under the supervision of a licensed electrician.

After completing trade school, many electricians choose to pursue further education and obtain an associate degree from a community college. Then they can move on to a full-time apprenticeship or continue working as an apprentice while accumulating the necessary paid work experience for licensing.

Electricians may also choose to start their own electrical contracting businesses. This is a great option for people who want to be their own boss and set their own hours. While it’s a big responsibility and requires lots of hard work, it can be very rewarding.

In some cases, an aspiring electrician will be required to take additional specialty courses to meet specific job qualifications. These specializations might include training in alternative energy solutions, home equipment and furnishings, pipefitting and more. Specialization can increase a person’s earning potential and allow them to focus on a specific facet of the industry that interests them.

As they continue to grow in their careers, electricians often find themselves becoming more specialized and taking on more complex projects. This is a great way to build a successful and fulfilling career, as it means that you are constantly learning new skills and becoming more experienced in your field.

The most important skill that an electrician needs is a thorough understanding of electrical standards and safety procedures. In addition, they need to have good maths and scientific skills, as well as keen eyesight and hand-eye coordination to work with electrical products and components.

Working Conditions

A career as an electrician can be rewarding but also challenging. The physical demands of the job can be tiring and can result in back pain or joint problems. In addition, work conditions can be hazardous, as electricians often have to climb ladders or scaffolding. Some electricians also work in cramped spaces, where they are exposed to dust, debris, and fumes. Electricians may also need to travel to different work sites, which can be stressful and time-consuming.

Working conditions vary depending on an electrician’s specialization. For example, those who specialize in residential construction may spend their days performing electrical repairs and installations in people’s homes. This can involve extensive work in attics, which are usually hot during the summer and cold during the winter. Others might need to climb power lines, which can be dangerous if they are not properly trained and certified to do so.

Other electricians specialize in industrial settings, such as factories or oil refineries. These jobs can require long shifts, and may require the electrician to be on call to respond to emergencies. Many of these workers must wear safety equipment and follow specific safety rules. Additionally, these positions can require the electrician to be on their feet for extended periods of time and use tools with sharp blades.

Electricians often need to read blueprints and drawings, as well as conform to electrical, building, and fire codes. They can also prepare cost estimates and other documentation for clients. Additionally, some electricians must work with other contractors or journeymen to complete larger projects.

Having the right work-life balance is essential for an electrician’s success. This can be especially difficult for new professionals who are just starting out and trying to manage their responsibilities, as well as senior electricians who may have more administrative tasks that need their attention. However, it is possible for electricians to find a healthy work-life balance by implementing strategic leadership and operational efficiency at the office, as well as prioritizing personal wellness. Additionally, seeking out peer support can help electricians navigate the high-level responsibilities of their position without sacrificing their personal life.


The salary of an Electrician is determined by a number of factors, including their level of experience and industry specialization. Early career electricians can expect to earn between $40,000 to $50,000 annually as they gain hands-on experience and learn the trade’s fundamentals. As they become more experienced, their salaries can increase to the $60,000 to $70,00 range as they take on more complex projects and lead other electricians.

The geographic location in which an electrician works can also contribute to the salary they receive. Areas with high demand for electrical services, such as technology hubs and energy-intensive regions, often have salaries that exceed national averages.

Those who are part of a union can also earn more than those who are not, as a result of their collective bargaining power. Many electricians choose to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to gain access to these benefits.

Additional ways for an electrician to increase their salary include completing advanced education and gaining additional certifications. Gaining specialized knowledge in areas like smart home technologies, industrial automation, or energy-efficient systems can help them command premium pay from employers who recognize the value of their expertise.

Electrical business owners can also boost their payrolls by providing overtime pay to their electricians. This common perk allows them to reward their employees for putting in extra hours when addressing urgent issues or working on time-sensitive projects. The need for skilled electricians is expected to remain strong as aging infrastructure requires upgrades, and the transition to renewable energy sources and electric vehicles increases the need for new wiring systems.

If an electrician wants to increase their income even more, they can start their own business. While this is a significant investment and will require a certain amount of risk, it can significantly raise an electrical contractor’s salary. This is because it cuts out the middle man, their boss, who typically takes a cut of their earnings. In addition, they can focus on acquiring customers and delivering quality work to build a solid reputation in the industry. Using an all-in-one software solution, such as ServiceTitan, can also make it easier to track employee time and expenses. With just a few clicks, these details are automatically recorded and reported at the end of each week, month, or other established payment period.