Electricians in Indiana: Wired for the future?
Electricians in Indiana may be found working in a number of locations, from homes to buildings to factories (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012). They may work indoors or outside and may face such challenges as tracking down the cause of an electrical outage or determining how to efficiently install various components of lighting and other electrical systems. This could include putting in low-dropped ceiling fans, fancy chandeliers or even multiple recessed lights, or helping to power a conveyor belt or various equipment pieces in a factory.
Often, electricians need to work closely with a homeowner or site manager to comprehend the requested electrical needs, but also be able to meet regional, statewide, and national electric codes for successful completion. In a place of business, they may need to understand exactly how many cubicles need electrical access for powering computers and phones or what type of wiring to use overhead to provide workers with lighting. These types of skills may require the ability to read blueprints and technical diagrams, often a part of an electrician's job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012).
Electricians may work with other professionals, such as architects or building engineers, or they may work independently. They should be able to solve problems and have strong customer-service and managerial skills (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012). In addition, full-color vision may be an asset on the job, as many components critical to successful (and safe!) wiring are based on color-coded schemes.
Electrician School Programs in Indiana: Tools of the trade
Students wanting to work toward an electrician career can turn to electrician school programs in Indiana to help them develop knowledge and skills. Often, in fact, many students enter a 4-year apprenticeship program to help them fully understand the many responsibilities that can come with an electrician career (BLS.gov/ooh, 2013). Generally, apprentices need to obtain 144 hours of technical training and complete 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training annually.
Apprenticeships and electrician schools in Indiana can help students by offering them knowledge in areas such as electrical theory, safety and wiring, as well as the potential to understand specialized systems such as elevators or building-wide fire alarms. The International Association of Electrical Inspectors notes that no state license is required for journeyman electricians (those who have completed training) in Indiana to work, but that most municipalities do require a contractor's license.
Some of the equipment pieces and tools that electricians can expect to use include the following:
- Circuit tester: These testers are used to troubleshoot electrical circuits and to determine whether power is passing through them. Circuit testers often come with a light that turns on when electricity is passing through a circuit. These fairly inexpensive tools are considered essential to the safety of an electrician, reports the website Innovate Us.
- Jumper wires: These wires help to transfer - or jump - electricity from one site to another through the use of insulated alligator clips on each end. These wires come in a variety of lengths, according to the website Current Effects, and can be purchased in small, generally affordable packs. They may also be referred to as test leads.
- Wire-crimping tools: These crimping tools can help electricians to bend or strip wire that is insulated. Crimpers vary in size in the jaw and hand-grip areas, according to the website ThomasNet.com. Some crimpers are also more multifunctional and offer cutting and wire-shredding capabilities. Finally, special crimpers can be found that are spring-loaded, which can help when multiple crimping actions are needed. Finally, ratchet crimpers and hydraulic crimpers help by providing extra pressure to crimp heavier metals.
Apprentice programs for electricians in Indiana may require students to purchase specific tools. These can include basics such as hammers, levers, pliers and rulers. However, students may also need to use other tools on the job, such as conduit benders, retaining ring pliers, and wire or cable cutters, O*Net OnLine notes. Electric and journeymen tool sets are also available and may include many kinds of these tools, such as pliers, screwdrivers, and protective eyewear, but may also provide more wide-ranging tools when a larger set is purchased.
From Electrician Schools in Indiana to Steps Toward a Career
More than 12,000 people were employed as electricians in Indiana as of May 2011, reports the BLS (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012). (Another 600 were employed as electrician helpers.) The mean annual wages for electricians working in the state as of May 2011 were $55,170. This comes to a mean hourly wage of $26.44, according to the BLS.
In Indiana, job opportunities for electricians are expected to increase by 9 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. An article published February 2013 in Merrillville's Post-Tribune indicates a need exists for electrician-technicians and other workers. In that piece, Gary Norgren, an employee of steel-and-mining company ArcelorMittal, notes the company is having difficulty finding skilled young workers for mechanical as well as electrical technician jobs. He indicates the starting pay for these positions can fall at $60,000 including benefits. Students of Indiana electrician schools may want to look to ArcelorMittal or some of the companies listed below for potential employment opportunities:
- Electrical contractor CELCO Inc., is based out of French Lick, Ind., and provides electrical contracting in various forms.
- Technology and industrial company Johnson Controls (with multiple locations around the state including in Evansville, Indianapolis, and South Bend, and with various other locations around the U.S.) provides products in automotive, HVAC and refrigeration.
- Advanced Technologies in Electrical and Communications, Inc., or ATEC, received a spot on the Indiana Companies to Watch in 2012 list.
Graduates of electrician schools in Indiana could also look for employment opportunities within the state's electric companies. These include Duke Energy Indiana, Hoosier Energy, Indianapolis Power and Light and many others, according to the Indiana Office, Utility Consumer Counselor. Finally, many people have heard of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a union thfat represents nearly 675,000 employees in sundry fields. More than a dozen IBEW unions in Indiana are available and could provide a place for those interested in electrician careers to search for new jobs, meet other electricians, find out about Indiana electrician schools, or simply work on building their skills.