Electricians prepare, make, install, test, troubleshoot and repair electrical wiring and electrical systems for buildings and other structures. They work on many tasks, including layout and planning of wiring to installation to finding and repairing circuits and electrical devices.
Electricians typically work for electrical contractors or building maintenance departments. Or they may be self-employed. People in this career have an interest in mechanical process and wiring and they must be detailed and exact in their work.
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of an electrician is like.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 3,740
Electricians typically work 40 hours per week. Overtime may be required, depending on the project, deadline, employer and other factors. Electricians usually work indoors, often on a construction site or in a home.
People with this job may need to work from heights or in small spaces. Heavy lifting may be needed, and the work can be physically demanding. Safety is a priority and precautions are followed to reduce the risks of injury from accidental electric shocks and falls from heights.
Depending on the project, some electricians work with other trades on construction/development sites. Others, especially those working on smaller residential projects or repairs, may deal directly with customers.
Source: 2016 Census
Many employers prefer candidates who are certified. Those with a secondary school diploma or who have graduated from a post-secondary foundational program should have English 12 or equivalent. Having Physics 11 and Pre-Calculus Math is also an asset.
Certification is not required to work as an electrician in B.C. Those who wish to be certified must complete a four-year apprenticeship program. The B.C. government is introducing skilled trades certification beginning with a total of 10 trades, including construction electricians. Certification will be implemented in phases between 2022 and 2024. Learn more about skilled trades certification.
Depending on the project, workers may need to have an electrical installation permit with Technical Safety BC.
Work experience and in-class instruction are part of apprenticeship programs. Some part-time and online programs may be available. To apprentice, workers must be sponsored by an employer. A person who successfully completes an apprenticeship program and the final certification exam earns a Certificate of Qualification. Workers with significant experience in the trade may be able to challenge the certification exam to earn the Certificate of Qualification without completing a formal apprenticeship. For more information on earning a Certificate of Qualification, visit SkilledTradesBC.
To work in other provinces
Electricians may need Red Seal certification to work in other provinces. This can be earned by passing an exam and proving significant work experience.
Workers coming to B.C.
Electricians who are certified by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information, such as a letter of good standing, references or a criminal record check.
Workers who trained outside of Canada
Electricians who trained outside of Canada and have never received certification from a Canadian jurisdiction will likely need a full assessment. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants. Contact SkilledTradesBC for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
Growth in the construction industry affects opportunities for work as an electrician. Residential construction is expected to slow down in the short term, while industrial and commercial construction is expected to remain stable. There will continue to be demand for electricians.
In general, those working as maintenance electricians tend to find steadier employment than construction electricians. Often, employment in the construction industry is project-based, so workers may have breaks between projects.
Electricians are starting to work with alternative energy supplies, such as solar power, wind power and fuel cells. They may also work with wiring for smart homes and automated systems for high-tech industries. Electricians who specialize in new technologies are expected to be in demand.
As with many trades, apprentices are chosen from existing employees, such as construction labourers. Experienced electricians can move up to supervisory positions as foreperson, superintendent, estimator or electrical inspector. Some experienced electricians may choose to start their own businesses.
Electricians may also decide to work as industrial electricians. This requires further education and is generally considered to be a job change rather than a career advancement.