Do you want to work in a rewarding, exciting, and challenging career? Construction electricians are talented tradespeople who help buildings across the country tap into the wonderful power of electricity. In this guide, we’ll help you uncover the facts and figures associated with construction electricians. Here’s up-to-date information on how you can become a construction electrician and what pay you should expect.
What do Construction Electricians Do?
Construction electricians are skilled tradespeople that are responsible for installing, maintaining, and wiring electrical systems at construction sites. Every building heavily relies on electricity to support appliances, power heat and gas, and connect devices to power sources. Construction electricians work diligently to ensure completed buildings provide adequate power to tenants.
Over 300,000 construction electricians are employed across the United States and Canada. While all construction electricians work at construction sites, some specialize in specific property types or residential/commercial work. Often, this specialization has less to do with skillsets (both commercial and residential require most of the same skills) and more to do with codes. A large chunk of your job will involve ensuring electrical wiring is done in accordance with local, regional, and national safety requirements.
As a construction electrician, you can expect an incredibly rewarding career filled with challenges and excitement. Responsibilities include:
- Installing wiring according to blueprint specifications and safety codes
- Ensuring electrical equipment and apparatuses are installed and fully functional
- Installing distribution components for electricity (e.g., resistors, circuit breakers, etc.)
- Adhering to safety requirements across electrical components and wiring
- Troubleshooting electrical issues during construction
- Providing assistance and advice for electrical component installation during construction
- Identifying safety hazards on the worksite and maintaining systems
- Working both independently and on team-based tasks — including complex electrical wiring solutions
The biggest draw to pursuing a career as a construction electrician isn’t the pay (which is hyper-competitive) — it’s the challenge. Construction electricians get to solve complex problems, tackle daily challenges, and help buildings across the globe tap into the power of electricity. It’s rewarding, fun, and (ultimately) a fantastic career for those looking to make a difference and avoid the monotonous grind of office work.
How do You Become a Construction Electrician
Like other Red Seal trades, construction electricians come from a wide variety of backgrounds (both in life and education). This said, the actual pathway to becoming a construction electrician varies. Below, we will discuss a few of the most common pathways.
Education Requirements for a Construction Electrician
Most apprenticeship programs and trade schools will require a high school diploma (or equivalent). However, technically, you are only required to complete grade 10 to become a non-union electrician in Canada. In the United States, requirements vary by state.
Still, most programs will give priority to those with a high school diploma. And union electricians are required to have a diploma.
You do not need to attend college to become a construction electrician. College credits may help with mathematics and physics, but most programs have no college degree or course requirements.
Skill Requirements for a Construction Electrician
During an apprenticeship, construction electricians will learn a variety of skills, including:
- Blueprint utilization
- Electrical maintenance
- Repairing electrical systems
- Handtool and power tool utilization
- Testing electrical components
- Safety skills
- Installing lighting systems and control systems
Outside of these learned skills via apprenticeship (and/or trade school), electricians benefit from soft skills such as:
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work on a team
- Ability to work independently
- Rapid decision-making
- Thriving in high-pressure situations
- Good grip on mathematics & physics
You do not immediately need mastery over all of these skills to succeed as a millwright. Both hard skills and soft skills are learnable.
Traditional Construction Electrician Pathway
Anytime after graduating high school, you can choose to either attend a trade school or become an apprentice under a journeyman construction electrician. During trade school, you can expect to learn a variety of class skills — including mathematics, electrical work, and physics.
Apprenticeship involves more on-the-job work. You will learn the technical skills of the job under the direct mentorship of someone with buckets of experience. After roughly 4 years, you will take a test and earn your journeyman certification. Of note, you do not have to attend trade school, but trade school credits do count toward journeyman hours.
What is the Average Salary of Construction Electricians in Canada?
The average pay for construction electricians in Canada is between $32,240 and $98,900. We know! That sounds incredibly variable. But that’s because, well… it is. Trust us; we know that fact very, very well.
We’ve spent decades helping tradespeople find high-paying jobs. In that time we’ve learned two things:
- A LOT of construction electricians are getting underpaid.
- The difference between a high-paid electrician and an underpaid one is one job away.
We can throw a bunch of data around. The Canadian Job Bank showcases the differences in wages between low, median, and high-paid jobs. On the high end, electricians are making $47.50 an hour. On the low end, they’re making $15 an hour. That’s a difference of $32.50 per hour. Or, to put it another way, $67,600 per year.
Our entire business is built around helping tradespeople find better jobs. If you’re on the low-earning end of that, take a look at our available jobs. We source the best-paying jobs in Canada. Take note, you’ll see (no matter when you look at this post) that our permanent jobs are at the high-paying end.
Stop settling. You’re worth way more than $15 an hour. Get in touch with us. We’ll help you get what you’re worth.
Which Province Pays Construction Electricians the Most?
According to Canadian Job Board data, Ontario and Alberta pay construction electricians the most. The Muskoka–Kawarthas Region is the highest-paying area, driven by significant investments in construction and high commercial and residential prices.
On the low end, the Nova Scotia communities of Cape Breton and Annapolis Valley command lower wages comparatively according to government data. That said, this isn’t our professional experience. We’ve helped tradespeople across Canada match with high-paying, respectable positions regardless of their region.
Right now, we have jobs in these “lower paying” regions that offer a higher salary than the highest-paying regions. So, this isn’t a hard-fast rule. We highly recommend leveraging a solution like WORKFORCE during the job hunt. We can help you find the best possible position available. A position that’s worth your time, and one that offers you the money and respect you deserve.
What is the Average Salary of Construction Electricians in the United States?
The average pay for construction electricians is between $28,000 and $82,000. Like in Canada, there’s a significant amount of variability. Salary.com shows $58,729, and Zippia shows $44,135. Meanwhile, ZipRecruiter data shows an average of $51,750, and Glassdoor data shows $56,285.
In other words, the average is different depending on which source you look at. Just like in life, not all construction electricians are paid equally. Want to score the highest possible salary? Get in touch with us.
Which States Pay Construction Electricians the Most?
Generally, states with higher costs of living (e.g., New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, etc.) pay more. Of course, the flip side of this is that more of your salary goes towards housing and living expenses in these areas. Obviously, there are standouts. We place many high-paying jobs in small cities, as well as the obvious regions like Seattle and San Francisco.
How to Earn More Money as a Construction Electrician
We’re massive advocates for tradespeople, and we’ve spent decades fighting to help them secure amazing positions at top businesses across North America. So, let’s talk about what we’ve learned. Obviously, this conversation can get complex. But, at the end of the day, there are 5 barriers to earning that the vast majority of tradespeople face:
- Stagnation: Do not spend your career at a company out of loyalty, if that loyalty isn’t repaid. If your wages aren’t going up at the same rate as the market, you need a new job. So many tradespeople stick with their company under the guise of loyalty. But loyalty is a two-way street. Always look at the job market. Another company may value you better.
- Settling: Don’t accept the first job that comes your way. Work with someone who has experience navigating the job market. And use them to help you find a high-paying job that’s truly the right fit for you.
- Mismanaged power: You have ALL of the power. Tradespeople are in a massive shortage. If a job makes you feel like they have the power, they’re tricking you. They don’t. You do. Finding a perfect job requires loyalty, value, and honesty from both sides.
- Experience: More experience means more money. If you’re someone with 20 years of experience making the same as someone with 4 years working down the street from you, you’re undervalued.
- Self-advocacy: Always advocate for yourself. You are worth it. At the very least, find someone willing to advocate for you on your behalf.
The best way to improve your income is to work with a strategic partner like WORKFORCE. We help tradespeople find the best-fit, highest-paying jobs without any nonsense. Contact us to learn more.