What Skills are Required of an Electrician?

What does an Electrician do


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Electricians install, test, repair and maintain electrical wiring, circuit boards or electronics. They may perform these services either inside or outside a residential or commercial property, power generation facility or on electrical machinery and industrial robotics and equipment. Electricians may also work on low-voltage wiring systems such as alarms and security systems, and data, telephone, internet and video cabling.

Electricians read blueprints to install, maintain and repair wiring and electronics and need a thorough understanding of local building codes.

An electrician that focuses on work inside buildings (sometimes referred to as a wireman) may install electrical wiring and electrical circuits during the construction phase or retro-fitting. They may also measure and test electricity flow through circuits, use problem-solving, and make decisions to fix and improve electricity output.

Electricians may also work within a factory or industrial settings on electrical machinery and robots.

An electrician that works outside buildings on cabling and wiring may also be known as a lineman. This area of work has a high degree of danger and safety is paramount, as for all forms of electrical work.

What skills are required of an electrician?

An electrician needs a degree of physical fitness, normal colour vision (to identify lines by colour), manual dexterity, a sense of balance and the ability to work at heights. Outdoors electricians and linemen may need to work in a range of weather conditions.

Helpful subjects to study at school to prepare for an electrical career include maths, physics, chemistry, computer science, English and applied technology.

Real-life electricians and apprentices

Electricians are in demand (and can be well paid)! As the population grows, so too do our demands for electricity, for both commercial and residential use. Telecommunications and internet cabling are growth areas in Australia as new technologies continue to emerge. 

Electrical work may be stable and constant on a construction site, or sporadic and highly time-sensitive fixing power outages due to fallen trees where speed and safety requirements can create a high-paced, adrenalin-pumping job.

Electricians may also be employed full-time for corporate construction businesses, or residential maintenance and repair businesses.

The entertainment industry requires electricians that can install and manage complex lighting requirements, such as music concerts and shows.

There is plenty of scope for an electrician to operate their own mobile business, working on different clients and projects on a daily basis.

A career in Australia as an electrician starts with an Australian Electrical Apprenticeship. Get paid to work and get hands-on experience as an apprentice electrician while you study for your formal qualifications. An Australian Apprenticeship can be completed in four years and provides a flexible and in-demand trade for life.

Find out more about Australian Electrical Apprenticeships
Published 20 April 2015