If you’re wondering how much does an electrician earn, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we explore the salary of an electrician, including starting salaries and projected earnings over time. We also highlight some of the qualifications and certifications that would help prospective electricians get started in the profession and other skills one should cultivate.
Finally, we provide an overview of the recruitment process – how prospective employees can find work openings and apply for them.
- Salary: Average starting electrician salary: $41,289
- Projected earnings over time: $52,826 (20 years)
The average starting salary for an electrician is $41,289. These figures do not factor in overtime, annual bonuses, or benefits that may come with employment. Many electricians take advantage of the necessity of working overtime during peak hours to increase their chances at the highest salary possible. Still, this is a competitive field – only about 13% of electrical contractors work below their average starting salary year after year.
Moreover, many electrical contractors continue to study and hone their skills on the job as they work towards higher-level certifications and licensure. The average salary for an electrical contractor with one certification is $52,826 per year. Those with two certifications, meanwhile, earn about $57,787 annually. And those who have obtained three or more certifications and licenses typically boast earnings of just over $60,000.
These figures are averages, and are meant to be a guideline as you consider how much you can expect to earn in your profession. Additionally, if you’re pursuing your contractor’s license through an apprenticeship program, you must know all the costs of these programs before signing on the dotted line.
Years of Experience: Average Salary and Earnings by Years of Experience
- 5 years or less: $45,738 / $55,822
- 10 years: $50,941 / $60,646
- 20 years or more: $60,365 / $71,789
Projected Earnings Over Time
As any profession is considered a long-term career option, it’s essential to consider how much an electrician can earn throughout their career. The figures below show a breakdown by age of expected earnings for those who have been in the field for one to 20 years. Notice that these figures are in addition to expected starting salaries.
Rates may vary by industry and may be subject to change periodically. The following compensation figures represent the rates electricians can expect to receive as part of their pay package. When compared with other professions, electricians can generally expect to make the following amounts:
Best Paying Industries for Electricians:
- Natural Gas Distribution – $104,920
- Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports and Similar Events – $101,740
- Professional and Commercial Equipment & Supplies Merchant Wholesalers – $95,260
- Monetary Authorities and Central Bank – $94,710
- Scheduled Air Transportation – $ 92,550
Industries with the Highest Levels of Employment in Electricians:
- Building Equipment Contractors – $62,680
- Employment Services – $50,330
- Local Government – $73,840
- Utility System Construction – $69,440
- Nonresidential Building Construction – $63,040
When you consider all of the factors that factor into the pay package of a typical electrician, you’ll be able to assess better how much they can expect to earn on average and throughout their career.
Qualifications of a Qualified Electrician
A competent electrician’s qualifications can be divided into two categories: school-related and work-related. Academic qualifications consist of diplomas or certificates earned and completed degrees. While these academic achievements are significant, they are only the starting point for a successful electrical career.
Electricians must also have a particular set of work-related qualifications, which provide insight into the individual’s physical ability and experience in the trade.
The following qualifications and certifications are considered the minimums that a potential electrician must possess to become employed. Other work-related qualifications may also be required. It’s imperative to note that many of these qualifications are obtained through apprenticeship programs, typically involve 8,000 hours of supervised work, in addition to classes, over the course of four years.
Classes may be free if your electrical apprenticeship is offered by a union.
Apprenticeships run by the electricians’ union are the best way to learn the skills you need to be an electrician while joining a larger community. National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) oversee several hundred apprenticeship programs throughout the nation.
The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and Associated Builders and Contractors Inc (ABC) offer non-union apprenticeships. As a result, they assist would-be electricians in finding apprenticeship opportunities across the country.
An electrician must also have specific work-related skills, academic qualifications, and a tradesperson’s license. While these skills are not mandatory, they can help an electrician increase their chances of getting hired by a prospective employer.
Electricians must work well with clients, contractors, and other utility employees. They must also stay up-to-date on the latest trends in technology and the fields surrounding them. Electricians should not only be familiar with how to use specific tools but also know how to operate this equipment safely while performing electrical jobs.
Academic qualifications are essential, but they are only the beginning of a successful career as an electrician. To be a successful electrical contractor and earn the highest salary possible, you should aim for an apprenticeship program that leads to certification and licensure. It’s critical to note that many states require a license to be employed as an electrician. In other words, your potential employer will want to see proof of your credentials before they hire you.
How Much Does an Electrician Earn?