Top 8 Skills You’ll Need to Become an Electrician: Is This Trade for You?

become an electricianShould you become an electrician?

If you look at it from an employment and salary angle, the answer is easy. Electricians have been in steady demand across Ontario for the past several years—and the trend is expected to continue.

Construction projects in Ontario cities are creating plenty of jobs for electricians. Government is investing in education, healthcare, and transit building projects, and there are many condos going up in urban centres throughout the province.

Salaries for electricians are also going strong. The median wage for electricians in Ontario right now is $28/hour, or about $58, 000/year.

At the high end of the pay scale, electricians are making close to $44/hour—that’s over $90, 000/year. (Salary information is based on the latest report from Statistics Canada.)

But it’s not all about money.

To do well in electrician training, and feel happy in your career, you’ll need a certain set of professional and personal skills.

So let’s take a look at 8 of the most important skills for successful electricians.

By the time you reach #8, you’ll have a much better idea of whether this trade is right for you (plus some helpful links and steps to take next). Let’s get started.

Electrician Skill #1: Electrical Installation & Safety Knowledge

This is #1 on our list because it covers the technical skills and theory you’ll need to learn in electrician training, and actually use on-the-job every day.

If none of these skills sounds appealing to you, you probably shouldn’t consider entering this trade!

Exactly what will you be learning? These are the basic skills you’ll need to get started as an electrician:

  • how to read blueprints
  • how to interpret the rules and regulations of the Ontario Building Code
  • how to interpret the Canadian Electrical Code (ECE)
  • how to use power tools
  • how to install switching devices, cables, tubing, and conduits
  • how to plan and complete an electrical installation for a dwelling
  • electrical safety rules and procedures (based on the Occupational Health and Safety Act)

Click Here to Learn More About Construction & Maintenance Electrician Training 

Electrician Skill #2: Physical Fitness

Electrician work is more physical than a lot of new students realize. Do you need to be in the best shape of your life to become an electrician? No—but you do need to be comfortable doing things like:

  • standing for long periods
  • crouching and bending
  • lifting heavy weights
  • climbing up and down stairs, scaffolding, and ladders
  • squeezing into small spaces and tight corners

The bottom line is you’ll be up and moving for most of the day, so as long as you’re prepared for an active job, you’ll be fine. And most electricians agree, it’s a great way to stay fit.

Electrician Skill #3: Manual Dexterity & Good Vision

Electrical work is precision work. Along with all that moving around and lifting, you’ll need some “fine motor” skills to get the job done.

We’re talking about manual dexterity: eye-hand coordination and the ability to work with small tools and objects. You’ll need a steady hand.

Electricians also need good vision. It’s fine if you wear glasses, but you can’t be colour-blind. Electrical wiring is colour-coded, and knowing the difference between red and blue can literally save your life!

Electrician Skill #4: Teamwork

You’ll rarely work all by yourself as an electrician. You’ll be collaborating with carpenters, plumbers, and other tradespeople to complete projects.

You’ll have a supervisor or project manager to report to. And as you gain experience and seniority, you might have your own apprentices to train.

To succeed as an electrician you’ll have to get along with other people. You’ll need to be friendly, patient, a good communicator, and a team player.

Electrician Skill #5: Problem-solving

This skill is at the heart of what good electricians do, every single day. Why is that outlet sparking? Why does the circuit breaker keep tripping? What’s the most cost-effective way to wire this building?

All day long, you’ll be diagnosing problems and coming up with the best solutions. You’ll need to think through issues logically, follow the step-by-step procedures you learned in electrician training, and always put safety first.

Electrician Skill #6: Flexibility

Like many other tradespeople, electricians often work on-call or in shifts. You’ll need to be prepared to go on emergency runs, or squeeze in more hours on some days, to deal with last-minute problems.

Electricians don’t always work predictable 9-5 schedules, so flexibility is key to building a successful career in this field.

Electrician Skill #7: Basic Math

Hated math in school? Don’t worry. You don’t need calculus or advanced physics to become an electrician. Just simple algebra—skills you probably learned in elementary or middle school.

If you can handle basic math, you’ll do fine in electrician training and throughout your career.

Electrician Skill #8: Customer Service

This is a really important skill for electricians. Whether you end up owning your own electrician business, or spend your career working for someone else, you will need customer service skills to succeed in this trade.

Exactly what skills are we talking about? Good customer service includes being:

  • polite
  • patient
  • a clear communicator
  • friendly
  • reliable
  • trustworthy
  • professional
  • thorough (completing every job to the best of your ability, without cutting corners)
  • honest
  • neat and tidy (not leaving a trail of destruction in your wake)

It’s simple: If customers don’t like or trust you, you won’t be welcomed back into their homes or places of business.

Basic skills, like looking customers in the eye, shaking their hand, being honest about work and fees, and cleaning up after yourself are really important in this line of work (and in most trades).

So, what’s the verdict? Do these skills and characteristics sound like you? Can you envision yourself living the life of an electrician?

If you feel good about every skill on this list, you’re ready to move forward to the next step.

Learn More About Electrician Training

To find out more about electrician programs at the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute, we suggest choosing one of these 3 steps.

  1. Click on the Request Information button on the right side of this screen. Get fast, free information about electrician training programs, admission requirements, trade certification, financial aid, and much more.
  1. Click here to visit the Construction & Maintenance Electrician Program page. Browse courses, career options, and chat live with a friendly advisor right now.
  1. Call the Pre-apprenticeship Training Institute directly at 1-800-728-0137. Speak directly with an advisor and get all your questions answered. We’re here to help!

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