The electrician’s workday is filled with physical labor and risk. They climb poles, crawl along rooftops or tiptoe on to access hard-to-reach wires with one hand on the rough metal pole for balance while they grasp the wire in their other hand with fingerless gloves on. Then they descend to ground level again with only one care: not touching anything that could electrify them (including the pole). Oh, and it is also zero degrees out.
Ok, jokes aside: The above example is obviously a cartoonish example of the daily life of a seriously irresponsible electrician. In many ways, yes, the work of an electrician can be tough, but it is also rewarding and will only be as hard as you decide to make it.
The truth is, that it does take some physical and cognitive ability to work as an electrician. The work is sometimes complicated, electricians have to have some math skills, knowledge of electricity, and they also have to be ok with working in many different kinds of environments.
In this article you will be provided with some thoughts on the skills needed to be an electrician, and what you would expect to experience yourself if you decide to choose a career in the electrical trade.
Is it Hard Work to be an Electrician?
Hard work will be defined differently if you ask multiple people in a lineup. One of the most common concerns when it comes to the work of an electrician though or any other construction trade is in relation to physical labor.
1. Physical Abilities
An electrician will find him- or herself in various locations in all types of weather conditions (indoor and outdoor). The installation of electrical systems may take place on roofs, in attics, in crawlspaces, on poles, or in machines. This work may involve the occasional heavy lifting with the unpacking of tools and equipment that can weigh a lot. Taken into this account, transportation and movement of materials are a constant, that also needs to be taken into consideration.
In relation to this, electricians need to be unafraid of heights because they often climb ladders to perform their job up close with no real protective barrier between them and the ground. This all points to the obvious fact, that an electrician needs to have a minimum of physical abilities to move around on a day-to-day basis.
If you have poor eyesight or balance difficulties then you should not do high-voltage wiring where there are no other Electricians in place. If your physical abilities are limited, then ask for help with lifting heavy objects or climbing ladders.
Also read: How to Stay Safe as an Electrician
Pro-tip on safety: The electrician’s job can be quite dangerous due to the nature of electricity and the equipment involved. Whether you’re working on a residential or commercial property, safety is always a concern. It’s important to always take safety precautions and assess what your physical abilities are and what the nature of the work is.
2. Cognitive Abilities (or General Intelligence)
Cognitive abilities are the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. It is an essential part of the job that electricians do in order to construct, maintain, and repair electrical systems.
The specific cognitive abilities that an electrician needs to have some skills are in the 5 following categories: math (and to some extent an understanding of physics), reading, writing, memory, focus, and social skills (social skills, meaning the ability to work well with others and provide customer service to Mr. and Mrs. White Fence in the suburb.)
In order to be successful as an electrician in our modern society, more job responsibilities include smart home implementation, programming, and job assignments such as; fault diagnosis and related maintenance of advanced machinery. This requires one to be able to go through a structured approach to finding faults in a specific installation.
The techniques to the different types of advanced work as an electrician will be learned along the way, particularly as an apprentice. However, an electrician will be needed to provide solutions to a specific problem on the spot. Problem-solving is a big part of the job description. So if you see yourself as a person who likes to solve problems and does not get stressed out easily by this factor, a career as an electrician could very well be for you.
Pro tip: If you are a person who is struggling with mathematics or calculation, this should in no way, hold you back, if being an electrician is your dream job. In your time as an electrician’s apprentice and in trade school, you will learn all the fundamentals in a guided and helpful way. Even dyslectic and learning-disabled people find their way into the trade and are thriving in a profession, where they can use their hands instead of a computer.
3. Mental Skills
A person with mental toughness is an individual who is able to handle the tough conditions and challenges of their job in a sustainable way. Being an electrician also involves situations in which you need to push yourself.
Being mentally tough as an electrician will come in handy in a variety of circumstances. Some people will find, as an example that the work environment of a construction site either suits them perfectly or scares them away. If you find yourself interested in becoming an electrician, this should not be stopping you. Although you cannot always control the situation, you can build yourself up to be the type of person who can handle both people and assignments in a professional manner.
A benefit of becoming an electrician is also, that you get to learn how to deal with many types of situations and people, which can, later on, become a great advantage in your life in general.
Conclusion: Is Being an Electrician Hard?
Electricians must be able to read blueprints and diagrams to determine where to place wires or other components. They must also be able to use hand tools such as pliers or screwdrivers to cut wires or strip insulation from wire ends.
A combination of a physical and a cognitive skill set is therefore needed to be successful in the electrical trade. Some mental toughness does also makes it easier to move around in the different work environments and in the collaboration with people and customers.
Are you interested in Becoming an Electrician?
Electricians are needed in nearly every industry. They are responsible for maintaining power grids and wiring, diagnosing electric problems, installing new electrical systems, and ensuring that buildings are safe from electrical shocks.
The opportunities are many, and the electrician’s trade offers a variety of options for different people. Electricians may be employed by an electric company or by a contractor. Electricians work in the field or in a shop with specialized equipment to test, repair, and maintain power distribution systems.
If you want to become an electrician you need to start out as an electrician’s apprentice, which will introduce you to the electrical trade with a journeyman and in a standard school setting.
Recommended reading: Becoming an Electrician’s Apprentice (What You Must Know)
This article is meant to demystify the skills needed to be an electrician in a way that can help you to better decide if this could be a career possibility for you.