Skilled Trades

Residential Electrician: Job Description, Requirements, and Outlook

Skilled TradesJanuary 10, 2024

Electricity is a critical part of daily life, and demand for the skills of electricians is on the rise. According to a 2023 report from industry research firm IBISWorld, consumers are increasingly relying on electricians due to factors such as a growing interest in energy efficiency and the expansion in demand for electrical installations for charging electric vehicles.

Anyone who may be considering enrolling in an electrical trade program to acquire the skills to work as a residential electrician can benefit from exploring the residential electrician job description and what working in the profession entails.

Residential Electrician Job Description 

Working as a residential electrician involves installing and repairing the electrical systems that provide power to houses and apartments. Maintaining the electrical wiring in a residence might be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a residential electrician’s duties, but the residential electrician job description includes much more than that. For example, residential electricians also read technical design documentation, prepare work orders, plan electrical work, and consistently follow key safety measures.

Work Environment for a Residential Electrician

Residential electricians typically apply their skills in new homes under construction or in existing homes. They can work inside to install or maintain a home’s electrical system, but they also can work outside installing or maintaining the exterior components of an electrical system or while working on projects such as solar panel installations.

Technical Job Responsibilities of a Residential Electrician

Residential electricians perform technical tasks such as:

  • Installing and repairing electrical systems, wiring, and fixtures
  • Connecting electrical wiring to switches and fixtures
  • Testing voltages, electrical equipment, and fixtures
  • Installing items that require electrical power, such as security systems and home appliances
  • Using the appropriate tools in all electrical work they conduct

Problem-Solving Job Responsibilities of a Residential Electrician

Any homeowner who has ever hired an electrician knows that troubleshooting represents a significant part of a residential electrician’s job responsibilities. Customers rely on residential electricians for services such as:

  • Researching electrical issues and examining electrical schematics
  • Identifying and diagnosing electrical issues and malfunctions
  • Assessing the risks associated with electrical issues
  • Applying critical thinking to pinpoint the best solutions for addressing electrical issues

Customer Service Job Responsibilities of a Residential Electrician

Because they usually work in their customers’ homes, performing duties related to customer service can be a significant part of working as a residential electrician. For example, the job description of a residential electrician can include responsibilities such as:

  • Communicating with customers when making recommendations or proposing electrical work
  • Providing customers with cost estimates
  • Maintaining adequate records regarding the electrical work they perform for customers

Education and Experience Requirements

To start a career as a residential electrician, individuals need to meet certain requirements related to education and experience. The steps in the process are outlined below.

Earn a High School Diploma

Residential electricians typically need to be high school graduates, so the first step in entering the field is to earn a high school diploma. As an alternative, individuals can earn a General Educational Development (GED) diploma. 

Receive Training as an Electrician

To offer the services that residential electricians provide, individuals need to obtain the proper training. For example, attending a trade or vocational school is a good way to acquire the skills electricians need. These schools offer aspiring residential electricians expertise in subjects such as:

  • Alternating current theory
  • Conduit bending
  • Electrical production 
  • Electrical schematic interpretation
  • Electrical systems troubleshooting
  • Safety procedures
  • Standards for conducting electrical work

Complete an Apprenticeship

After receiving training, individuals then complete an apprenticeship as a residential electrician. Organizations such as trade schools, unions, and electrical contractors offer these apprenticeships.

Electrician apprenticeships typically involve working for about 2,000 hours as an electrician under the supervision of a master electrician. Apprenticeships also can encompass classroom instruction.

Completing an apprenticeship program enables aspiring residential electricians to get hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge about working in the role, following safety protocols, and adhering to codes related to electricity. 

Obtain State Licensure, and Begin Working as a Journeyman Electrician

After completing an apprenticeship, the next step in becoming a residential electrician is complying with requirements to obtain a license as a journeyman electrician. Licensing requirements vary by state, so individuals who are new to the field need to become familiar with the licensing requirements in the state where they intend to work.

Journeyman electrician licensing requirements frequently involve:

  • Passing a state’s licensing exam
  • Complying with a state’s requirements regarding a minimum number of hours of work experience as an electrician

Consider Becoming a Master Electrician

After working as a journeyman electrician, an individual can choose to become a master electrician. Licensing requirements for master electricians vary by state. To become a master electrician, an individual generally needs to have at least two years of experience working as a journeyman electrician. Becoming a master electrician also typically involves passing an exam that covers more advanced topics in the field, for example, regulations related to electrical contracting or international fire codes.

Job Outlook for Residential Electricians

At some point, most homes will require the work that residential electricians perform. As a result, employment prospects for the profession are attractive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 6% job growth for electricians from 2022 through 2032. That growth rate is double the BLS’s projection of 3% job growth across all occupations during the same time period.

In 2022, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported on a shortage in the electrician labor market that could have a positive effect on the employment of aspiring residential electricians. According to the BBB, factors such as the retirement of veteran electricians and an increase in new electrical contracting businesses entering the market are expected to spur demand for electricians.

The Work of Residential Electricians Is Critical to Maintaining Functional and Comfortable Homes 

The work that residential electricians perform is vital to ensuring that homes use power in a safe and efficient manner. Homeowners rely on the expertise of residential electricians to ensure that they can live in a secure and pleasant environment. 

Individuals who have an interest in the skilled trades and becoming residential electricians can explore the Electrical Trade program at the Fortis Institute in Birmingham, Alabama to learn how it can help them achieve their career goals. This program offers students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they need to launch rewarding careers as residential electricians. 

Start progressing on your own fulfilling career path today.

Recommended Readings
Back to School: What to Expect When You Enter Trade School
Benefits of Trade School: Why a Hands-On Skilled Trades Career Might Be a Good Fit
Career Options for Electricians

Better Business Bureau, “Electrical Industry Outlook: Trends and Opportunities”
IBISWorld, Electricians in the U.S. — Market Size, Industry Analysis, Trends and Forecasts (2023-2028)
Indeed, “Electrician Skills: Definition, Examples and How to Improve”
Indeed, “How to Become a Licensed Residential Electrician”
Independent Electrical Contractors of Cincinnati, 8 Different Types of Electricians and What You Should Know
Next Insurance, Electrician Licensing Requirements by State: A Comprehensive Guide
Randstad USA, ElectricianU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Electricians