Looking to take your DIY skills to the next level? Currently working 9-5 in an office but it isn’t for you? Well, becoming a qualified electrician could be just the career move you’ve been looking for.
While some sparkies tend to work on domestic jobs, others, will inevitably prefer to work on larger scale projects for a construction company, for example.
What does an electrician do?
According to Reed, here are some of the tasks an electrician will be expected to undertake;
- Assessing plans and planning layout of wiring, equipment and fittings
- Installing initial wires (known as ‘first fix’) and connecting them to sockets, light fittings, power supplies and other fittings (known as ‘second fix’)
- Fitting fuse boxes and circuit breakers
- Testing wiring and other electrical equipment, and fixing any faults found or malfunctioning systems
- Laying cables, and connecting computers and other telecommunication networks to power supplies
What skills does an electrician need?
According to UCAS, you’ll need to have an industry recognised qualification. Most people, however, move into this career via an apprenticeship. It normally takes two to four years to become fully qualified.
GCSEs grade D or above, including Maths and English, would be an advantage.
Alternatively, you could prepare for working in this industry by taking a part-time or full-time college training course in electrical installation.
What qualifications do I need?
To qualify as an electrician, you need an industry-recognised Level 3 qualification, claims Logic4Training, such as:
- Level 3 NVQ diploma in Electrotechnical Services (Electrical Maintenance)
- Level 3 NVQ diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems & Equipment (Buildings, Structure and the Environment)
- Level 3 diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures) if part of an apprenticeship.
These qualifications are usually completed while working. You will need additional training if you wish to branch out into solar, for example.
Another popular route is to complete an Electrotechnical Apprenticeship. This combines on-the-job training with study at a college or training centre, and usually lasts for two-four years.
According to the National Careers Service, the average salary for an electrician in the UK is between £20,000- £32,315. Experienced electricians can earn up to £35,000, and highly experienced individuals up to £42,000.
When working in someone’s home most electricians will charge a day rate or a fixed rate depending on the job. Electricians who are employed and earn a salary are in the minority with the majority working on a self-employed basis. As a guide you could expect to charge your customers the following says Trade Skills 4 U, for:
- Consumer Unit replacement £350 – £500 (0.5 – 1 day)
- Perform an Electrical Inspection report £90 – £180 (4 – 8 hours)
- Install and supply a double socket £90 – £125 (1 – 3 hours)
- Replace a light fitting £40 – £60 (0.5 – 1 hour)
- Repair a damaged power cable £40 – £50 (0.5 – 1 hour)
- Electric shower installation £250 – £400 (0.5 – 1 day)
- Install an external security light £90 – £140 (1 – 3 hours)
Insurance for electricians
Working as an electrician can be a risky business – from the tools you use to the different locations you work at. Electrical contractors’ insurance provides cover such as public liability insurance which can protect you for third party injury or property damage. Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them but if somebody had an accident/injury on your business premises or because of your work operations they could sue for compensation.
This is where public liability insurance steps in by covering the costs (up to £10 million) for legal fees and any financial awards made to the claimant. You can even have additional options for cover such as tools insurance. If you employ staff for your business then employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement.