How Many Hours Do Electricians Typically Work?
January 31, 2022
Many people think of jobs in the construction trade as physically hard and requiring dozens of hours of overtime. And if you are interested in becoming an electrician, you might wonder how much an electrician works in a typical week and what the work consists of.
Like most professions, electricians typically work 40 hours per week at a minimum. But jobs vary in size, scope, and location and some days may be longer than others.
For the most part, electricians work five 8-hour days for a total of 40 hours per week. But the exact schedule depends on the employer and the job, so it can vary from person to person.
Hours can depend on who you work for.
Electricians work for different companies and contractors. Some electricians work for a specific facility, like a hospital or school, and have a set schedule in which they work a minimum of 40 hours per week and overtime when necessary.
But some electricians don’t work on a set schedule and can be called on to work at any time. As such, hours can vary week to week. Some weeks they will only work 25 hours. Other weeks they will work 60 hours. Hours depend on the nature of the job. For example, if you work for a utility company, you may be called on to work after an emergency.
Note that some employers may not permit you to work overtime. This is often determined by company policy, demand, and need. Overtime may not be an option in some cases.
Hours can depend on the type of job.
Jobs vary in size and scope. Larger or more complex projects may require more hours to complete on time. If your employer permits you to work more than 8 hours per day, and the job demands it, you can end up working ten- or twelve-hour days over a period of a few weeks to finish the job.
Hours can depend on where you work.
The availability of work in your local area often depends on the strength of the economy. Areas in which there are high demand for new construction—whether that be commercial construction or residential construction—require more skilled laborers. Therefore, electricians who live and work in these high demand areas may have more opportunities to find a job.
For this reason, many electricians travel for work. This is especially true if nearby regions have a demand for skilled laborers whereas the local region does not.
Other factors, like certain weather conditions, can make work unpredictable.
Poor weather conditions can delay work if the job is primarily outdoors. Rain, hail, fog, snow, and high winds can put a job on hold. These temporary weather-related work stoppages are done to protect the safety of all workers at a site. The good news is that, at least in some cases, you will know in advance of poor weather conditions so that it does not catch you by surprise.
Other factors that can make work hours unpredictable include:
- Emergencies: As we mentioned above, some electricians get called on to work during an emergency. Given that emergencies are always unexpected, it is impossible to set a defined work schedule.
- Maintenance: Not all electrical work must be done during the day. You might be scheduled to perform maintenance work at a facility, like a warehouse or office building, during the night when it is closed.
If you are a self-employed electrician, you can set your own work hours.
Approximately 9% of all electricians are self-employed. But self-employed electricians don’t open their own shop overnight.
If you want to own your own electrical business and bid on jobs over $500, you must work your way up. In California, you must first attend an electrical training school and earn your electrical trainee card. You must then work at least one year on-the-job as a journeyperson to be eligible to apply for a C-10 license. You then take a trade exam and a law and business exam. If you pass, and show proof of workers’ compensation insurance, you can set up your own shop and be self-employed!
You can set your own hours as a self-employed electrician. As your business grows, you might find yourself working 60- or 70 hours a week. You can eventually hire help if the work becomes too much for one person. Working for yourself provides you with the opportunity to be flexible with your hours.
As you can see, electricians typically work at least 40 hours per week. But there are several factors that can change this. Overtime can be required when the job is larger or more complex than normal. And you might not work a set schedule—it just depends on your employer and what is required of the project. Even bad weather can delay work and make the number of hours you work in a day unpredictable.
That said, you should know that in California the median salary for all electricians in 2021 was $69,000. Electricians are among the highest earners in the trade industry!
If you want to become an electrician, your first step is enrolling in a state-certified electrical program. Get in contact with I-TAP today to learn more about our program and how you can enroll.
Ready to learn a skilled trade and work on some of the most exciting commercial construction projects in California and beyond?
I-TAP is an electrical apprenticeship program that helps you find your passion, grow your skills, and place you in the perfect electrician job.