Not every type of electrician faces the same challenges, or is compensated in the same amount. The salaries and responsibilities of electricians can vary greatly depending upon the type of work that they are called upon to do. Generally speaking, electricians who focus on residential work often find themselves on the lower end of the scale, while those who specialize in very definite niches can command a higher salary.
Electricians who are placed in jobs by employment services earn the least, with a median average hourly wage of $22.29 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private electrical contractors and those electricians employed in the construction of non-residential buildings see themselves earning $25.29 and $25.44 per hour, respectively.
There are several industries and sectors of the economy which may pay more than the median, and as such make a better target for electricians interested in maximizing their earnings. Electricians who work for local governments, such as the state or perhaps a municipality, can pull in $27.68 per hour on average, while those in the actual power generation industry – meaning electricians who work for a utility company – earn $28.44 per hour. Amount earned by the highest 10 percent of all electricians in the business – $38.10 per hour.
It is clear that those who choose to specialize in a specific industry may earn more than the median when it comes to hourly wages. Even a simple concentration in something like marine or aircraft electrical systems may boost the bottom line when it comes to salary. This type of work can also mean an interesting schedule as you are called upon to go out into the field and service equipment and airplanes that are located in hangars and fields or different coastal locations. Some appreciate this kind of outdoors experience as well as the interaction with clients that it affords.
Jobs in the industrial field may seem appealing from a financial perspective they can also be quite demanding. Production plants cannot afford to spend time sitting idle, and this means that any electrical equipment that breaks down or requires maintenance must be taken care of immediately. Electricians working in an industrial setting are therefore often called upon to work mandatory overtime, especially during scheduled maintenance periods. Something else to keep in mind with regards to industrial electrical work is that plants usually operate 24 hours a day, which could mean working the night shift or the even in the early morning.
As with all professions, working as an electrician involves deciding what type of work / life balance you are willing to achieve in order to fulfill your personal and financial goals. It also pays to consider relocating to a different region in order to find the salary that you are looking for. Different areas of the country may have different levels of demand for specific types of electricians, and a new city or state might dramatically improve your earning potential.