If you enjoy working with your hands and like solving problems on the fly, a career as an electrician may be right for you. These skilled workers are often on call to help restore power after a power outage or to install electrical equipment, such as ceiling fans, lights and appliances. And as the world becomes more reliant on electricity to run vehicles, heat and cool homes and businesses, the demand for electricians is growing.

Electricians need to be familiar with electrical theory, but they primarily learn the skills on-the-job through an apprenticeship program that typically lasts four to five years. These programs pair new apprentices with experienced journeymen, who act as mentors and teach them the fundamentals of the trade. In addition to classroom instruction, many apprenticeships include hands-on training in a large fabrication shop, where students use tools and machines to make electrical components and structures.

The Bureau of LaborĀ learn more Statistics reports that electricians usually need at least a high school diploma to qualify for an apprenticeship. But some people also choose to attend a community or technical college for two-year degrees in fields like electrical technology. These graduates can then apply their academic work to on-the-job training and become licensed electricians.

In the past, most electricians learned their trade by serving as an assistant to a journeyman. But this trend has been slowing down as the baby boomers retire and younger people steer away from skilled labor jobs. Millennials and Gen Zers are more interested in tech jobs with flexible hours and the potential for remote work. As a result, it is difficult to replace retiring electricians.

While the majority of electricians are self-employed contractors, some are employed by electrical supply or manufacturing companies. In these positions, the wages can be more stable, but they are less likely to offer benefits like health insurance and retirement options. Most electricians who are members of a union, however, receive these benefits and have the opportunity to advance their careers with additional training.

Most electricians perform maintenance work on existing systems, but some help new construction projects. These tasks can range from installing lighting and fixtures to wiring entire buildings. These positions require a variety of skill sets and can be dangerous depending on the location.

While most electricians are available to address emergencies, such as a lightbulb outage or a circuit breaker overload, some are able to work on longer-term electrification projects. The installation of electric vehicle chargers, solar panels and other alternative energy sources will create more long-term opportunities for electricians to connect these renewable energy systems to homes and the power grid. These installations will also increase the demand for electricians who are knowledgeable in alternative energy systems. This will provide more stable employment for these skilled professionals.