California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

   Electricians in California

May also be called: Chief Electricians; Electrical Sign Servicers; House Wirers

Specialties within this occupation include: Construction Electricians; Green Electricians; Maintenance Electricians

What Would I Do?

Electricians* perform electrical work in the building and remodeling of structures. They generally specialize in construction or maintenance work.

Green Economy: Electricians will play a crucial role in the emerging green economy through the use of energy efficient lighting; the installation of motion and occupancy sensors, dimmers, timers, and smart power strips; and the overall knowledge about renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal. Moreover, Electricians will be integral to the electrifying of ports, the installation of electric charging stations, and the installation of utility scale (high voltage) smart grid technologies in the substations and distribution system. However, this should not lead to significant changes in the work or worker requirements.

Electricians, especially those in construction, may be exposed to inclement weather. The work of any Electrician may be strenuous, requiring heavy lifting, standing, stooping, and kneeling for long periods of time. Typically, Electricians work a 40-hour workweek, but they may be required to work overtime or on weekends in cases of emergency or other circumstances. Companies that operate 24 hours a day may employ three shifts of Electricians.

*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of an Electrician may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2015 for Electricians in California was $62,232 annually, or $29.91 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$47,061$62,232$82,013
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefit packages vary widely from company to company. Electricians may expect to receive paid holidays, vacation, and health insurance. The type of benefit package is determined by company policy or union contract. Self-employed Electricians need to provide their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Skilled Electricians will be needed to install and maintain electrical devices and wiring in homes, factories, offices, and other structures. With the increased focus on environmentally sustainable building and remodeling practices, it is expected that there may be increased opportunities for Electricians. However, during economic downturns, the number of job openings for Electricians declines. Activity for Electricians depends on many factors that vary with the economy, such as interest rates, government spending, and business investment.

How Do I Qualify?

Completion of a formal apprenticeship or electrical construction vocational or trade college program is the usual method of entry into this occupation. Apprenticeship programs generally require a high school diploma, GED or equivalent, verification of the completion of one year of high school algebra with a grade "C" or higher, and a passing score on a prerequisite algebra equivalency test. Also, applicants must be physically able to perform all phases of the work, including the ability to distinguish the differences between colors.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers is one of the most effective job search methods. Many vocational schools and community colleges operate placement centers for their students. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers and trade publications. Union members search for work by registering with their local hiring hall.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Electricians