install, alter, repair and maintain electrical systems designed
to provide heat, light, power, control, signal or fire alarm for
all types of buildings, structures and premises. In general, electricians:
- read and
interpret electrical, mechanical and architectural drawings and
electrical code specifications to determine wiring layouts,
- cut, thread,
bend, assemble and install conduits and other types of electrical
conductor enclosures and fittings,
- pull wire
or cables through conduits and holes in walls and floors,
maintain and install distribution and control equipment such as
switches, relays, circuit breaker panels and fuse enclosures,
replace, maintain and repair electrical systems and related electrical
install data cabling,
- splice, join
and connect wire to form circuits,
- test circuits
to ensure integrity and safety, and
install and maintain fibre optic systems.
specialize in specific types of installations: residential (housing
developments), commercial (office buildings), institutional (hospitals),
or industrial (plants, factories).
electricians may be involved in construction or maintenance, or
do a variety of electrical work. Electricians usually work a 40-hour,
five-day week plus overtime when required. Some electrical work,
especially in construction may be seasonal or temporary in nature.
Working conditions can change dramatically from one job to another,
varying from indoors in clean conditions to outdoors on scaffolding,
to indoors in cramped conditions. Although there is some risk of
injury from electrical shock, a qualified electrician is trained
to recognize potentially dangerous situations and to deal with them
in a safe manner. An electrician may be required to lift equipment
and supplies weighing from 11 to 25 kilograms.
To be successful in their trade, electricians need: good communication
and reading skills, ability in mathematics, mechanical ability,
strength and manual dexterity, the ability to distinguish colours
to work with colour-coded wiring, the ability to work at heights,
the ability to get along well with co-workers, a willingness to
keep up with new developments in the field, creating new ways of
doing things, doing very precise work expertly, working at a variety
of exciting tasks, and having the assurance of a job at a reasonable
Those who install
or maintain equipment in existing homes or businesses also must
be neat, friendly and able to deal with customers courteously.
the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act requires that anyone
working as an electrician be a certified journeyman or a registered
apprentice. To enter the Electrician Apprenticeship Program, the
applicant must have at least a passing mark in Mathematics 23, or
equivalent (or pass an entrance exam), and find an appropriate employer
who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer
to hire high school graduates. Courses in English, mathematics and
physics are particularly important.
The term of
apprenticeship is four periods (years) of on-the-job training and
technical training in a classroom. Each of the first three periods
requires a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and eight
weeks of classroom training. The fourth period requires a minimum
of 1350 hours of on-the-job training and 12 weeks of classroom training.
An applicant who has successfully completed some accredited or related
courses of study or work experience, and has the employer's recommendation,
can apply for credit toward the apprenticeship requirements.
Development Canada may provide income support for apprentices attending
classroom training. For more detailed information, contact your
local Canada Employment Centre.
Apprentice electricians earn at least 50 percent of the journeyman
wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 60 percent
in the second, 70 percent in the third, and 80 percent in the fourth
year. Journeyman wage rates vary, but generally range from $17 to
$24 an hour plus benefits.