Job Outlook: Electrician Careers Predicted to Grow by 8% Over Next Decade
ELECTRICAN CAREERS ARE ON A STEADY RISE ACORSS THE COUNTRY, ACCORDING TO RECENT JOB OUTLOOKS. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN AN ELECTRICAL CAREER? HERE IS HOW YOU CAN START YOUR JOURNEY.
September 21, 2020
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2019 Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs in the electrical field are projected to grow 8% over the next ten years. The average projected growth rate for all occupations is just 4%—jobs in the electrical industry are far outpacing the national average growth rate.
This faster-than-average growth trend holds true for other trade-related occupations. The construction laborer field, which includes a wide variety of specialized jobs such as equipment operator, carpenter, plumber, and more, is projected to rise 5% over the next decade.
If you’re interested in a career in the electrical field, you should be encouraged by the fast growth. It suggests that the industry is in good shape and that jobs are available.
How do you become an electrician?
To work in the state of California as an electrician, you must become an electrical apprentice or electrical trainee with a federally or state-approved program.
26-Week Electrical Trainee: To become an electrical trainee, you must enroll in and graduate from a state-approved electrical training program. The California Department of Industrial Relations maintains an up-to-date list with approved vocational schools.
Here at I-TAP, you can enroll in our 26-Week Electrical Trainee Program. You’ll split time in the classroom and working hands-on in our lab, where experienced electricians will help you apply everything you learn.
Once you complete the course, you can take the state certification exam. If you pass, you will be eligible for hire as an entry-level electrician, and a journeyperson electrician once you have accrued the required amount of work experience. However, even if you do not pass the test, you will still be registered as an electrician trainee and you will be eligible to get a job.
5-Year Commercial Electrician Training Program: At I-TAP, you can enroll in our 5-Year Commercial Electrician Training Program. During the 5-year program, you will spend the vast majority of your time in the field, working under the supervision of journeymen electricians, doing basic work. But for a couple weeks per year, you’ll come back to the classroom to learn electrical theory and work hands-on in our lab.
This is a great option for those who want to work and take classes. Just as with the 26-week program, once you finish the course, you take the state certification exam.
How much do electricians make?
It’s impossible to know exactly what you’ll make, but state and national averages can give you an idea.
As of 2019, the annual mean salary for electricians in the United States was $59,680. As an entry-level apprentice just out of trade school, expect to make anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 per year. At the journeyman level, annual salary increases, ranging from $50,000 to $80,000, depending on the specifics of your employer and your job duties. Wages plus benefits in Sacramento County works out to $73.67.
On a state-by-state basis, California ranks 8th in the country for annual average salary, at $70,460.
What about COVID-19—how is it affecting the job market?
According to experts, the economy is in flux. As of September 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate is 8.4%, a rate that has decreased month over month since April. The stock market has bounced around, seeing historic highs and significant slides, leaving investors wary. It remains a question how the economy will bounce back. In the early days of the pandemic, it was thought that a rebound would take on the shape of a ‘V’, where a drastic drop in the economy would be followed by a steady rise. So far, though, sharp rises have been followed by dips. Economic recovery has not taken on that ‘V’ shape.
Unemployment is down compared to April, when it rocketed to near 15%. What affect, if any, is this having on construction-related careers?
As of August 2020, the unemployment rate in the construction sector was 7.6%. For reference, this is lower than the leisure and hospitality industry, which is faced with a 21% unemployment rate, the highest rate of any sector. The construction sector’s unemployment rate is also lower than the mining sector (12.4%) and the transportation sector (11.3%), to give you an idea of where the rate stands relative to other fields.
The 7.6% unemployment rate for the construction sector represents a 4% increase compared to August 2019, when the unemployment rate sat at 3.6%. While the one year change is discouraging, remember that COVID-19 became reality in March 2020. In the past three months, the construction sector experienced a 2.9% unemployment rate decrease versus an overall unemployment rate decrease of 0.2%. All types of employment were affected by COVID, but the electrical field has been less affected than many, and is already showing some signs of recovery.
But, even experts are having difficulty predicting which way the economy is headed. The long-term prognosis for the electrical industry is going to depend heavily on how the rest of the economy recovers. The vast majority of electrical work is due to new construction. If public demand for new homes and buildings grows, jobs will follow.
There are no easy answers as to the right choice to make given the circumstance. But the electrical field has thus far shown more resiliency than other economic sectors. Starting your electrical career today may well prove to be a rewarding career with plenty of opportunities for growth.
Interested in starting your electrical career at I-TAP? We have dedicated administrators, knowledgeable teachers, and an electrical lab where you can get real experience. Contact us today to learn more!
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.