Electricians and other skilled tradesmen are in high demand in many areas of the country. With strong projected job growth and excellent earning opportunities, this could be a wise career choice for those keen to learn a trade and work with their hands.
To become an electrician in most states, you will need to complete a recognized training program and apply for an electrical certification. However, to work as an electrician, you need to know more than just wiring, testing circuits, and other everyday electrical tasks.
There are many skills needed to be an electrician beyond electrical installation, maintenance, repair, and safety. You must also have several “soft” skills to help you plan jobs, work well with others, and keep your customers happy. These electrician abilities could mean the difference between a successful business or a shocking failure.
Here are eight of the most important skills needed to be an electrician:
1. Basic math
You will need to know some basic math to work as an electrician. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are necessary to perform routine calculations and measurements of the job. You may also use percentages, fractions, and decimals on a regular basis.
While you might have mastered these skills in middle or high school, you may want a refresher. Taking a math class through a community college or continuing education program could help you practice or re-learn these skills.
2. Physical fitness
Electrical work can be more physically demanding than you might think. It’s not uncommon for electricians to lift heavy objects, climb up and down ladders, squeeze into tight spaces, and hold awkward positions for long periods.
You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to become an electrician, but you might consider adding some regular exercise to your routine if you haven’t already. Improved fitness could help you avoid pain and injury that might make it challenging to work.
3. Manual dexterity
It’s not just your large muscle groups that could be getting a workout! Electricians also need fine motor skills to do precision work. A steady hand and the ability to work with small tools and objects are essential when performing electrical work.
There are many creative ways to improve your manual dexterity. Woodcarving, drawing, painting, and tying fishing knots can help refine your hand-eye coordination. It’s also important to regularly stretch your hands and wrists to help avoid pain and injury.
4. Problem solving
Finding solutions to problems is an essential electrician skill. Most jobs will involve identifying issues, figuring out how to fix them, and testing that your solution works. You will often be called to sites that you are unfamiliar with, so you will also need to quickly familiarize yourself with the property and electrical setup.
Practical problem solving involves using your electrical knowledge and logic. You’ll typically follow step-by-step procedures to test for issues and possible solutions while always keeping everyone’s safety in mind.
5. Time management
Electricians often visit multiple worksites in one day. Your customers expect you to show up on time, regardless of whether they are residential homeowners or commercial building landlords. Planning your day efficiently and managing your time could help you stay on schedule.
Excellent time management skills are important for electricians. Being able to accurately estimate how long a job will take is a big part of this. Construction projects often work on tight schedules, so finishing on time helps avoid costly delays. For residential electricians, running late on one job could make you late all day long.
6. Teamwork and communication
Collaborating with others is an important residential and industrial electrical skill, even for sole proprietors. You will likely be working with or alongside other contractors on construction sites, such as other electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.
Part of being a team player is having good communication skills. Communicating clearly with those around you can help you work together to solve problems, keep the project running smoothly, and avoid injuries or other issues.
7. Customer service
If you own your own electrical business, customer service is a crucial electrician skill. Happy customers are more likely to hire you again and refer you to their family and friends. A strong customer service strategy could help grow your business.
Great customer service includes being patient and polite. You should also be reliable, trustworthy, and professional on every job. Keeping your work and your customer’s space neat and tidy is an excellent final touch—no one wants an electrician who destroys their home or property!
8. Willingness to learn
Even an experienced electrician should be open to learning new skills throughout their career. Keeping up with new technology and techniques could help you improve the services you offer to your customers. It can also improve the quality and safety of your work.
Advanced electrician abilities can be learned and practiced at a community college or trade school. If you prefer a less formal environment, you may also find instructional videos online or written guides in trade magazines.
Is your electrical business protected?
Accidents and mistakes happen, even to the most skilled electrician. You might want to consider insurance coverage to shield your business finances against claims of customer injury or property damage.
General Liability insurance, also referred to as “slip and fall coverage”, helps protect your business against bodily injury or property damage claims and lawsuits from outside parties. Your policy will cover your legal expenses, as well as your cost to replace or remedy the situation, up to the limits of liability.
A General Liability policy may be required by law in your state or local area. You may also need a policy to work as a contractor or subcontractor for another business and to lease commercial space.
BizInsure makes it easy to compare electrician insurance from top-rated insurers. Get started online or over the phone, and you could be protecting your small business in minutes!