Job: Electrician

By , March 23, 2010

So many things depend on electricity-lighting systems and motors, to name but two. As an electrician, you’ll be up to date on all the “current” ways and means of keeping things humming. It’s a “powerful” position to be in!

Many companies like to have full-time electricians on staff. That way, they have someone available to install, maintain and repair their electrical equipment whenever they’re needed. Electrical contractors, pulp and paper plants, mines and other companies have similar positions, called industrial electricians. So whether you rather work in a plant or on a construction site, if you can do precision work and have an interest in electricity and electrically powered equipment, skilled work as an electrician may be ideal for you!

All the Right Connections

An electrician plans, installs, tests, inspects, troubleshoots and services all types of electrical equipment that are vital to the operation of commercial and industrial businesses and homes. These include all equipment or components directly or indirectly exposed to electric power such as motors, generators, pumps, lighting systems, and associated electrical and electronic controls.

Electricians now need state-of-the art computer and diagnostic skills to better service electronic and electrical equipment and machinery. People in this field must also keep up-to-date with new and emerging maintenance techniques especially those to install and repair equipment like robots and other computerized control equipment used in the auto parts and manufacturing industries.

Specific Duties

Electricians perform some or all of the following tasks:

  • Read and interpret drawings and blueprints to figure out how to set up a new electrical system or how to fix the existing one
  • Lay down wires; splice and connect wires; install switches, circuit breakers and lighting fixtures; and test to make sure everything is working
  • Analyze electrical systems and equipment to figure out why they aren’t working, exactly where the problems are and how to fix them
  • Replace old wires and electrical components; do preventive maintenance on electrical equipment to make sure it is running efficiently and doesn’t become a safety or fire hazard.

Circuit Training (Education & Training)

  • Grade 12 education is preferred. You should have applied or academic credits in math and science, particularly in physics so that you can understand and apply scientific principles to electrical study.
  • The most common path to certification is through apprenticeship. The apprenticeship for an electrician is four levels and requires time spent on the job and in-school training.
  • After successful completion of four-level apprenticeship training, a passing grade on the interprovincial exam will result in the BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, the BC Certificate of Qualification, and the Interprovincial Standard Endorsement, also known as Red Seal.
  • Mathematical and mechanical aptitude, an analytical approach to problem solving, manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination are key to success.
  • To remain competitive in this field, you should be willing to continually upgrade your skills.

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