OCCUPATION: Electrician

Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times

Name: Ted Parks

Company: Bay Shore Electric

Thumbs up: “The job is never stagnant. There are always new technological developments to keep up on, and I don’t report to the same place day after day.”

Thumbs down: “The possibility of electrocution, explosion and fire. You can get killed or cause serious damage.”

Advice: “Get a solid apprenticeship and never assume you know it all. It takes time and exposure to a variety of situations to build a good base of practical knowledge.”

Salary range: A first-year apprentice is paid $8.84 an hour and receives annual pay increases with successful performance. Those with six years’ experience receive $25.25 an hour. Non-union pay scales vary.

Educational and training requirements: Apprentices may begin work with little or no experience under the supervision of a licensed electrical contractor. Most take classes in wiring procedures, electrical codes and laws to prepare for the state licensing exam. Within five years they become journeymen electricians and after one year at this level, they have met the work experience requirement for an electrical contractor’s license.


Size of work force: Medium. The Contractors State License Board lists 1,657 active licensed electrical contractors in Orange County. According to IBEW Union Local 441, there are about 1,050 journeymen and 186 apprentice union electricians employed here. Another 20% to 50% work for non-union firms. Job description: Electricians plan and install electrical wiring for commercial and industrial buildings, homes and other structures. They connect machinery, repair existing wiring and conduct lighting management studies for large power users.

Major employing industries: Construction companies and electrical contracting firms. Large institutions, such as universities and hospitals, often employ their own electrical staff.

For more information: Contractors State License Board--Santa Ana District Office (714) 567-7242.

Source: Contractors State License Board and IBEW Local Union 441.