Electrician Salary: Learn What You Can Earn
An electrician salary can vary greatly depending on what type of work he does, how long he has been an electrician, the type of industry he works in and where.
Statistically, the average salary is about $70,000. Since most electricians are paid hourly, this works out to about $31 per hour for a certified electrician. A journeyman industrial electrician can expect to earn 38$/hr, average $85,000 a year in Canada.
Factors affecting how much an electrician earns include:
- Experience – As with any career, the more experience and seniority you have the better your electrician salary and the more you will be paid. A first year apprentice will usually only make half of what a fully licensed electrician earns.
- Location – Wages vary by state and country, depending on the cost of living in a particular region. For example, an electrician in Alaska is paid approximately $10,000 more per year than one working in Maine.
- Industry – Some industries are more dangerous and some require more technical knowledge or other expertise. An electrician working in building maintenance will earn much less than someone working as an airline electrician.
- Specialization – Electricians specializing in new developments in electrical power generation, distribution and transmission are, in most cases, the highest paid.
- Unions – Union members often get paid more than non-unionized workers. About one third of all electricians belong to a union.
- Self employed – Working for yourself has many benefits, of course, there are disadvantages as well. The biggest benefit is that your earnings are directly affected by how hard you work. The more contracts you can secure, the higher your salary will be. The disadvantage is that sometimes securing contracts isn’t easy.
Jobs for Electricians
Many people begin their career as an electrician as an electrician’s helper. This is similar to an apprenticeship. To be an apprentice, you must first apply or enroll in an apprenticeship program. As a helper, you can begin work right away and enroll later, if you decide to continue in an electrical career. These positions are usually quite difficult to obtain.
Usually, you need to have a personal or professional relationship with a certified electrician to be considered for the job. Your electrician salary will depend on the employer and your past experience, but will usually be well above minimum wage. Minimum wage varies by province or state.
There are many organizations willing to train electricians. First, you have to enroll in an apprenticeship program. The program directors or training school will usually have a supply of companies ready to take on apprentices. In most cases, you will be paid above minimum wage.
You will have to pay for the schooling portion yourself. Not too many employers pay for this, but there are a few that will.
Your apprenticeship training takes three to six years. You will get a raise each year you successfully complete a school year. You may also qualify for overtime hours or special bonuses.
General Maintenance Electrician
This type usually works in large facilities the require constant care by an electrician. Some examples might be in schools, process facilities and other government buildings. The work is generally light, and the electrician salary reflects this. On average, you can expect about $25-$40 per hour. Your actual pay will depend on the your past experience, location and required duties.
A lineman installs and maintains the power networks that we use and rely on to live our daily lives. They provide electrical transmission for customers who use large amounts of electrical power and communications services. Wages can vary greatly. About sixty percent of linemen earn an electrician salary between $30.00 and $45.50 per hour.
Electrical and electronics technicians help design, develop, manufacture and test electrical and electronic equipment. This includes communication equipment, industrial, radar and medical control and measuring devices, computers and navigational equipment. Industries an electrical technician can work in range from aerospace to environmental protection and development agencies. How much you earn will depend on the specific industry. An electrician salary can range from about $45,000 to $75,000 per year.
Unlike most electricians who must travel to job sites, those specializing in motor repair usually work in factories. They are responsible for keeping the equipment in good working order so production can flow smoothly. They often remove and replace or repair defective components, such as motor windings. They are equipped with the training to diagnose the problem, and the tools and parts they need to repair any motor related problems. This could be a small, hidden joint not properly soldered or a malfunctioning motor starter, or something as simple as a blown fuse. The average wages are about $25.00 per hour.
Although most electronic manufacturers employ this type of electrician, the majority are self employed. They will open a small shop and customers bring in their televisions, stereo components, DVD and CD players, video cameras, and maybe even a toaster or two for repair. Many electricians in this field also install and repair complicated security systems, intercom equipment, satellite dishes, and complete home theater systems, consisting of large screen tvs and a sophisticated surround sound audio system.
If you are self employed, you will probably charge by job, rather than by the hour. An hourly employee can expect about $23.00 per hour.
There are several other areas in which an electrician can work. And within each area, there are several sub-areas. That is the greatest thing about being an electrician – there are so many options. Once you have your basic training and apprenticeship completed, you can focus on the area you are most interested in, plus, you can change your mind at any time during your career. Some changes may require some extra training, but the possibilities are virtually endless.
You may never get rich on an electrician salary, but the joys and satisfaction of the job will make up for that.
Plus, there is a very good chance of earning an extra $50,000 to $100,000 in bonuses for innovative inventions or designs.