As soon as you graduate from high school, your parents might start pressuring you to attend that local university or hop into the job market. However, if you don't want to participate in the daily nine-to-five grind or pay the high costs of college tuition, you might be searching for another type of career. Here are two serious job perks professional electricians enjoy and why you should consider this field:
1: Hands-On Training
If sitting in class and listening to boring lectures doesn't sound like your idea of an exciting learning environment, you might enjoy becoming an electrician. Although professional electricians have to learn about currents, circuitry, motor controls, electrical theory, and even mathematics, the studies are typically more hands-on than traditional schooling. For example, you might find yourself actually trying to rewire a damaged socket or calculate electrical panel loads instead of studying out of a textbook.
Also, since there is more than one way to become a professional electrician, you can decide how to go about your schooling. Here are a few different paths that might lead to the same exciting electrical career:
- Trade School: Unlike traditional universities, trade schools, also called vocational schools, focus more on your chosen subject instead of other general coursework. Although trade school programs vary in length and intensity, some schools offer electrical technology certificates in a number of months.
- Apprenticeships: Some people become electricians by learning directly from other professionals. Apprenticeship programs offer on-the-job training, which means that you can gain a greater insight of the field before devoting your life to your occupation. Most states require at least two years of apprenticeship with a master electrician before you can take the test to become a certified professional. However, since apprentices are paid, you won't rack up student loan debt while you learn your trade.
After you finish trade school or an apprenticeship program, you will need to earn your state license before you can start working on your own. Individuals seeking a license must show proof of their education or apprenticeship program and take a state-issued exam covering electrical codes. However, when you have your license in hand, you can start your own business and be your own boss.
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2: A Healthy Job Market
During the economic recession of 2009, 7.9 million Americans lost their jobs. Because entire businesses collapsed, some employees lost their jobs forever — unable to recover from the devastating blow. Fortunately, some jobs are more recession-proof than others. Unlike opulent industries like travel and gift giving, which were hit hard during the recession, electrical work is an absolute necessity that will stick around. Here are a few job market benefits you might be able to enjoy as an electrician:
- No Seasonal Layoffs: Don't worry about losing your job when the seasons change. Electricians are needed around the clock, year-round, which means that you can count on a steady supply of work.
- Projected Market Growth: Some fields are absolutely inundated with new hires, which can make it hard to find a job. For example, if you become a lawyer, the field is only expected to grow about 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, which means that lots of new graduates will be competing for the same jobs. However, the electrical industry is projected to grow twice as fast, at 20 percent from 2012 to 2022.
If steady employment and a growing job market isn't reason enough to persuade you to peruse the opportunity of becoming an electrician, keep in mind that professionals make a great wage. Apprentices can expect to make as much as $20,000 a year with full benefits, while professional electricians can make upwards of $50,000 annually — without the burden of excessive student loan debt.
If you are interested in becoming an electrician, take the time to talk to a trade school or a professional electrician. School counselors and electricians can give you a better idea of the tuition costs, program requirements, and apprenticeships available in your area.