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The Need for Electricians is on the Rise

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Written by Joanna Hughes

The end of the Great Recession is worthy of celebration for several reasons, but one group of tradespeople may have even more reason to rejoice than the rest of the population: electricians. Why? Because with the recession behind them and a construction boom imminent, they are positioned to be in great demand in the years ahead. Here's what you need to know.

There's a reason he's so happy.

A Closer Look at the Numbers

According to the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for electricians is expected to grow by a whopping 20 percent between 2012 and 2022. This significantly exceeds the average growth for all occupations.

Why the increase? Jobs for electricians fluctuate based on the health of the overall economy. In times of stagnation and recession, demand for construction and maintenance drops leading to fewer jobs for these trained professionals.

When the economy is healthy, however, the construction building and maintenance industry thrives -- meaning more jobs await those with the right training and qualifications.

Not only that, but many older electricians turned to other types of work during the recession-era shortage. Their absence now leaves the door open to new workers in the field. Particularly with so much buzz surrounding the challenges of job seekers with bachelor's degrees, the in-demand nature of electrical work makes it a more popular choice than ever.

And considering that nearly every building has some form of electrical power, a building boom means terrific prospects for electricians.

Not Just More Work, But Different Work

Other factors affecting the job market for electricians? Emerging technology related to alternative power generation -- everything from solar to wind -- will challenge electricians in new and exciting ways. From installation to linking these alternative sources of power to the grids, these responsibilities are expected to land with electricians, although government policy may determine the extent to which employment opportunities occur.

And while some manufacturing plants will shut down due to old or inefficient facilities, these closures should be outpaced by the installation and maintenance related to new manufacturing plants.

What You Need to Know

Electricians require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Additionally, the majority of electricians learn the trade through a four to five year apprenticeship program, while others attend trade school. Nearly every state requires licensing before electricians can practice. This varies from state to state but typically includes a test on requirements related to electrical codes. What does it take to make it as an electrician? They typically have strong business, critical thinking, customer service, and troubleshooting skills.

Because more and more people are becoming aware of the career promise in electrical work, the competition is stiff with hundreds of candidates applying for a handful of apprenticeships in certain regions. However, pursuing your goals despite the competition is largely regarded as worth it considering that many apprentices make more than many debt-burdened college grads: a median pay of just under $50,000 with the top earners making as much as $83,000.

Even better? Ten percent of electricians are self-employed and can set their own hours.

While the forecast for licensed electricians may not have looked sunny in the height of the recession, the current outlook is beyond bright -- and more than reason enough to give this profession another look. Wondering about positions for electricians near you? Sign up for the innovative to get started.

While the forecast for licensed electricians may not have looked sunny in the height of the recession, the current outlook is beyond bright -- and more than reason enough to give this profession another look.

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