Do you have a knack for working with your hands? Do complex challenges thrill and excite you? Training for a career as an electrician may just be the right path for you! Electricians are vital in our society in order to maintain electrical functioning of everything from light switches to power lines. But what specifically do these skilled professionals do? Lots of things! Answering this question will require us to dig a little deeper.
What Do Electricians Do?
At the most basic level, electricians work to install, operate, repair and maintain electrical systems. Such individuals manipulate the wiring, circuit boards and electronic components on or in a structure to ensure proper functionality. Electricians work in just about any setting, performing residential, commercial and industrial services. The specific type of duties any electrician performs depends on their focus area; electricians are primarily divided into electrical wiremen and electrical linemen roles.
Wiremen vs. Linemen
When people think of electricians, they’re most likely picturing the person who is going to come into their house and fix a problem with the fuse box or similar issues. These are electrical wiremen who come to mind. Wiremen are involved in several aspects of the indoor electrical workings of a structure, and are actually often involved in the building process as well. In a new building, a wiremen electrician is part electrician and part HVAC technician. He or she will install conduit inside of walls for the purpose of running electrical wiring, install vents and piping for HVAC systems and eventually set up electrical outlets to plug items into. Additional duties of wiremen include:
- Installing light fixtures
- Installing circuits for high-drain appliances like stoves and heaters
- Installing new electrical systems with the help of blueprints
- Installing complex equipment like voltage meters or breaker boxes
- Troubleshooting and/or replacing electrical units such as stoves or faulty wiring
Electrical linemen are the opposite of wiremen, focusing on outdoor electrical issues. When you look outside your window and see someone performing maintenance on a telephone pole, you are seeing a lineman. Electrical linemen usually must be in excellent physical fitness, as lift buckets are not always available to use in order to access poles, and these workers have to climb. In addition to telephone pole repair, linemen perform maintenance on power poles. This job is more dangerous than working as a wireman, as linemen are frequently required to work in poor weather and must deal with higher voltages. Other major duties include:
- Repairing power outages for homes and businesses
- Working with transformers and transmission lines to provide electrical power
- Repairing and maintaining traffic lights
- Repairing downed power lines
- Putting together electrical substations, which will transfer electrical energy
Professional Electrician Levels
Just like any other job, there are different career levels for electricians. The more advanced any electrician is in his/her field, the more he/she is able to do.
Every electrician, no matter what focus area they prefer, begins as an electrician’s apprentice. Apprentices study and work alongside qualified electricians, gaining theoretical and practical knowledge along the way. These individuals also must always work with the supervision of others.
Upon demonstrating essential skills, electricians move up to the journeyman level of the profession. Journeymen often supervise apprentices and are permitted to work without direct supervision. Journeymen are, however, limited by their inability to obtain work permits, and therefore must only work with permits granted to their superiors.
Master electricians are the most qualified and skilled individuals in the field. They indirectly supervise journeymen and are typically the ones who apply for work permits.
Before you can enter the challenging field of electrical maintenance and become a certified electrician, you must acquire appropriate vocational training. Electrical work is an incredibly in-demand field, and with training from an electrical program at RSI in Phoenix, you will gain the tools necessary to pursue work in this exciting electro-mechanical field. Electric maintenance as a wireman or lineman involves critical thinking and problem-solving skills and a keen ability to think on your feet. Is this field right for you? Contact RSI for more information!