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Why and How to Become an Electrician

Why and How to Become an Electrician

* Open Colleges does not currently offer any Electrotechnology Qualifications*

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/ Why and How to Become an Electrician

Thinking of a Career as an Electrician? 

A fully-fledged Electrician might find themselves doing anything from designing, assembling, installing and testing systems to commissioning, diagnosing, maintaining and repairing electrical networks. Whether you’re dealing with DC circuits, appliances or facilities, it’s an engaging job with plenty of scope for variety. Workers are employed across many sectors, servicing industrial and commercial clients or working as domestic tradespeople. 

This job diversity means more that just knowing your way around an electric circuit, and working in electrotechnology isn’t just about telling your series circuits from your parallel circuits. Electrotechnology presents a world of fascinating real-life problems and a day-to-day work life in which people or companies may be completely dependent on your skills to function.

Whether you’re pre-apprenticeship level, have an Electrotechnology certificate in your sights or you just want to learn a new skill, getting a head start in the world of electrotechnology could be just the thing to power up your future!

Electrician Careers & Job Outlook

The graph shows past and projected (to 2020) employment levels (thousands).

The number of job openings for people in Electrotechnology over the five years to November 2019 is expected to be high (greater than 50,000). Job openings count both employment growth and turnover (defined as workers leaving their occupation for other employment or leaving the workforce).

Employment in electrotechnology rose strongly (in percentage terms) in the past five years and even more strongly when looked at over the past decade. In the future, strong growth is expected in employment for workers to November 2020.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.

Electrician Salary Information

how and why to be an electrician - electrician salary

The graph shows median weekly earnings for the job compared with the median across all occupations, for total employment and for full-time workers. Earnings are before tax and do not include employer superannuation contributions. These figures are indicative and cannot be used to determine a particular wage rate.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Characteristics of Employment Survey August 2014 cat. no. 6333.0.

An Electrician’s salary in Australia averages out at $1,400 per week for a full-time workload. Part-time workers can expect to earn $1,324 per week within Australia. Generally, they earn above the average salary – in the seventh decile overall. lists the yearly salary (Sydney) as being between a median of around $61,000 to some $91,000 at the highest end of the market. According to Payscale, financial reward for this role rises steadily for more experienced workers, but goes down markedly for electrotechnology workers with more than 20 years' experience.

Full-time or Part-time Career?

how and why to be an electrician - part-time or full-time

The graph shows the average weekly hours (by gender and full-time and part-time) worked for workers, compared with all occupations.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2015. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

It’s more than likely that as an Electrotechnology expert you’ll find yourself working full time. Workers have a very high proportion of full-time jobs (almost 94 per cent) and for people working full-time, average weekly hours are 40.6 (compared to 40.2 for all occupations).

Electrotechnology Age Profile

                         how and why to be an electrician - age chart

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2015. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

This data shows the share of employment (per cent) by age group for the occupation of workers compared with all occupations. It’s a relatively youthful profession, with the median age for an Electrotechnology expert sitting at 34 years. However the trade does hold solid attraction for people across the spectrum of experience, with good representation also amongst age groups either side of the median.

Electrician Education Levels

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

This chart shows the highest educational attainment (per cent share of employment) for this occupation compared with all occupations items and totals.

The most common level of educational attainment is a Certificate III/IV – almost three quarters of people in this profession hold this particular Electrician certificate.

The statistics highlight the fact that gaining a qualification such as a Certificate – possibly starting on this path with an online course pre-apprenticeship – would place you in a good position for gaining employment in this field

Trends & Recent Changes in the Electrotechnology Industry

The Australian Government Department of Employment’s latest occupational report for Electricians (data represents New South Wales) found that workers are generally in demand. In the metropolitan area, across a number of sectors including commercial, industrial and the fire industry, the right person for the job is highly sought after.

In contrast, employers in regional NSW were generally more able to fill vacancies for people in this profession, meaning that it’s easier to find the right electrotechnology worker for the job outside the big city.

According to the Employment Department’s survey, employers advertising for roles reported that only 65 per cent of vacancies were filled within the survey period.

There was an average of 13 qualified applicants per vacancy advertised, however it was usual that statistically only 1.2 of these applicants were considered to have had the right mixture of qualifications and experience for the job. Also, having the right attitude and being reliable were crucial factors for employers who rejected candidates.

It goes to show that it’s not enough for workers to be a master of circuit analysis – to land the job they also have to be client-focused, with a good work ethic.

What Pre-apprenticeship or Pre-Trade Electrotechnology Qualification Do You Need?

* Open Colleges does not currently offer any Electrotechnology Qualifications*

Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start)

From understanding and constructing a DC circuit to building solid knowledge of electrical components, this accredited entry-level course will also cover the basic skills required to deliver sound customer service as an Electrician.

The Certificate II will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to confidently compete for an apprenticeship or prepare for a career in the electrotechnology industry. Furthermore, you’ll produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates the skills you’ve learned throughout the course – a useful addition for any pre-apprenticeship Electrotechnology trainee. 

If you’re looking to move onto further study, this accredited qualification also offers credit towards the Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

People work across a variety of different sectors, a prominent sector being building and construction. If you’d like to get a picture of what it’s like working in this industry then check out this interview with successful business owner Michael Papalia.

If you’re a woman with a passion for circuitry, there’s all the more reason to gain that qualification. Women are increasingly making their way into traditionally male dominated fields, finding they offer great opportunities for interesting work, good pay and career mobility. 

Interview with an Electrician

Karl Torok

Electrician & Supervisor, Wodonga VIC

What do you do in your role as a supervisor?

As a supervisor, I am constantly on the go and making sure my team works to correct Australian safety standards. I am usually busy once I get to a client’s house or work location.

How much do you like your job?

I love it! I am fully engaged in what I do and I have tried a few trades but found that being an Electrotechnology expert was by far the best fit for me. I have a really curious mind and I just want to know how things work. There is some level of stress with my job but I have learned to take things calmly and make safety my #1 priority.

How did you begin your career?

I did a formal pre-apprenticeship program in Electrotechnology which got me interested enough to pursue the trade. After completing my first course I went on to further study and now I have progressed along in my career to becoming a supervisor.

Have you learned any lessons along the way?

Trust is a huge part of the job as safety is paramount and you need to have the trust of your team and be trusted by them too. I make sure I check out all my workers' jobs at the site and advise on any protocols or changes that need to be done. You do find people with different levels of attention to detail so some workers need more training and support than others to reach a certain standard.

What are you clients like?

They vary. I have worked for individuals, private homes and in large offices, so the work is always interesting. Sometimes larger jobs can actually be easier as the setup has been implemented professionally, as opposed to many residential locations where wiring can pre-date the 1930s and may need lots of alteration.

What time to you begin work?

I am out of the house by 7am, and often working by 7:30. I usually clock off in the early afternoon but it really depends on the job.

Thanks Karl, for sharing your Career history with us!

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