Electricity is a fickle, sometimes unpredictable sort of energy. Invisible, lightning quick, and efficient, humans sought to harness electricity from the beginning of its discovery. There are also more practical reasons to become an electrician…
Today almost everything we do is powered by electricity. But while our uses for electricity have changed and increased over time, the power itself has not. It is still just as difficult and even somewhat dangerous to control, and this difficult and dangerous job falls on the shoulders of electricians.
Reasons to Become an Electrician
“Electrician” is a rather broad term which describes anyone who works with any of the methods for controlling and transporting electricity, but there is a wide range of different types of electricians, ranging from those who service the high-tension wires to those who install outlets and wiring in your home.
This is a lucrative business with many opportunities, since as long as people use electricity electricians will be needed. Are you interested in becoming an electrician, or like the idea of being a tradesman? Not sure what exact career you might like? Keep reading, this article is for you!
I interviewed Ryan Mcnulty, an Electrician out of New Jersey, for his take on the career.
Mcnulty got into electricity at the age of 14. “It was actually the first job I ever held,” he remarked. “My mother was a real estate agent and she would sit in the model homes when they built developments, and she had wanted me to get a job.” Mcnulty’s mother asked around the various service providers working on the homes in the development to see if any would hire her son.
The electric crew accepted him. “I liked it, and I wanted to stick with it, so I ended up going to vocational school,” he told me. “I really did stumble upon it.” Mcnulty also noted that his paycheck as a teen was considerably higher than that of his friends. “When you’re a kid, most of the jobs you get are minimum wage… but by the time I was 18, I was making well over twenty dollars an hour. It gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do.”
Mcnulty realized pretty quickly that he wanted to be an electrician. He attended vocational school to better qualify him for his trade. Eventually he took additional classes to help him pass a test for his license to begin his own business. “The test is really hard in New Jersey. I just wanted to make sure I was going to pass.”
He worked for 12 years and at one point ran a business before achieving his current position as Director of Operations for Sunny Hill Electrical Services, a licensed contractor-grade electrical service serving New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Over all, he’s been working in electric for 20 years.
Ryan Mcnulty has some advice for teens who are looking into becoming an electrician. “Learn as much as you can. If there’s ever classes offered, take them.” And not just electrical classes – even business and math classes are helpful. It puts you that much farther ahead of everyone else.”
In terms of taking the first step, often times the best way to get a start in electricity is to get a job working under an electrician. This way, you can get some experience while making a little extra money. “If you’re still in school, attend a vocational school, or take a night class,” Mcnulty added.
Before starting anything, however, evaluate yourself and your interests. “You have to be willing to work with your hands, and someone who is an active person. You got to be somebody who’s bright and is willing to do physical labor,” Mcnulty told me.
If being an electrician sounds intriguing, then there are certainly a lot of reasons to pursue it. From plenty of opportunities to great pay to fulfilling work, electricity is a hot bed for careers. Even if there isn’t an electrician who is hiring near you, you can still study to become one and work elsewhere.
Educational Requirements and Cost
Do note however, that working in electricity requires the passage of strict tests, adherence to codes and rules, and a vast knowledge of electricity itself. Also, prepare yourself for quite a bit of school. It can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $11,000 dollars for education needed for certification. This wide price range is due to large differences in the depth of education offered by some schools.
Although most offer associate’s degrees, degrees from particular schools might be considered more useful and in-depth over others. As such, it is important to determine how much education you want or need to meet your goals. You could get started with an apprenticeship at some schools for as little as $260 dollars. Also be ready for yearly licensing fees between $15-$150 in different areas, as well as $30-$70 in periodical exam fees.
Contrary to popular belief, many trades require a great deal of education and skill. Working as an electrician can be a dream come true if you’re prepared. As Ryan Mcnulty puts it, “It’s a good trade, a clean trade, and I can’t complain.”