Plowright Hinton Ltd
Guide to Becoming an Electrician
Whether you are unsure of your next steps after leaving education or looking to completely change career paths, training to become an electrician can be a great option.
To help in your decision, we at Plowright Hinton have put together a handy guide to becoming an electrician to answer a few key questions you may have before seriously considering a new career. As the UK’s longest-running electrical safety testing company, we are experts when it comes to electrical safety testing and offer a range of professional services.
Why Become an Electrician?
A newly qualified electrician can typically expect to earn from £18,000 a year upwards if working for an employer. However, for a highly experienced electrician, this could rise to up to £42,000 a year, while a successful self-employed electrician could potentially earn an even higher figure.
Electricians typically work a standard five-day week of 35 to 40 hours. However, some may also work on-call – making themselves available to clients for hours outside the 9-5 working week.
How to Become an Electrician
For those considering how to become an electrician, there are two popular routes to becoming fully qualified.
The on-the-job learning of an electrician apprenticeship is a popular option, particularly amongst recent school leavers due to the opportunity to pick up a wage at the end of the week. Apprenticeships also offer the benefit of allowing for the apprentice to learn as they work and build up a portfolio.
Most electrician apprenticeships are offered through businesses, though it’s also possible to join an apprenticeship program through the armed forces. An apprenticeship typically takes four years to complete, with the apprentice coming out of the program with a City & Guilds 5357 Electrical Apprenticeship qualification.
Those unable to secure an apprenticeship can still become an electrician by studying a Level 2 & 3 Diploma. This qualification is generally much shorter to study and can also allow for the trainee to work as an electrician’s mate during. While the course lacks the on-the-job paid learning of an apprenticeship, it still includes classroom and workshop-based training with assessments and an exam to obtain a qualification at the end.
When it comes to specialisation, there are several electrician pathways open to choose from. The most popular include:
Domestic Electrician – Perhaps the most common career pathway, a domestic electrician can work either as an employee of a business or as a self-employed individual. Responsibilities in the role typically involve fixing various issues around private residences.
Installation Electrician – Similar to a domestic electrician, an installation electrician works larger-scale jobs, such as on business premises or construction sites.
Maintenance Electrician – Typically working with a focus on industrial or residential specialisations, a maintenance electrician maintains the working order of technological equipment and systems.
Highways Electrician – Working on the road network, a highways electrician is tasked with everything from installing and maintaining traffic signals to emergency electrical works.
Going down the career pathway of an electrician brings with it plenty of benefits. These include:
A Choice of Career Paths – Once trained, there are several different areas an electrician can focus on, allowing those with a particular interest to specialise in their chosen field.
Demand – With an ever-growing population and the knock-on effect of increased housing, the opportunities for work for a domestic electrician are always available as demand often outstrips supply.
Self-employment Opportunities – As a qualified electrician, there are plenty of opportunities to go it alone and be your own boss. Self-employed electricians can often set their own hours, pick which jobs to take and provide the services they want.
Despite a career as an electrician having several benefits, there are still, as in all jobs, downsides to consider.
Danger – While the risk of injury is minimal, there is still the potential for electricians to suffer burns or electrical shocks while out and about. Electricians working with high voltages need to be particularly careful of the dangers of the job.
No set hours – Certain electricians, such as those contracted to a business, will typically work a set number of hours to a regular routine. However, others, such as the self-employed, may have to work when their services are required, which can end up being all hours of the day.
Might have to brave the elements – The life of an electrician can be varied, with experience working in a variety of different conditions. And while varied experiences are often seen as a perk of a job, as an electrician, having to work in cramped conditions or outside in the pouring rain, are often far from appealing.