Electricians install the electrical systems that allow homes, businesses and industrial centers to operate. Electricians also perform the necessary maintenance and repairs that these buildings require. Some electricians have formal postsecondary training in electrical repair and installations, while others have only a high school diploma, but all electricians must undergo an apprenticeship of up to four years before they can become licensed.
Average and Median Earnings
As of 2011, electricians earned an average of $52,910 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average hourly pay for an electrician was estimated to be $25.44. The median annual income of electricians in the United States was $49,320, and the median-earning 50 percent of electricians made between $37,570 and $65,260 a year.
Salary by Employment Sector
As of 2011, the highest-paid electricians were those who taught at business schools. These workers earned an average of $79,250 a year. Most electricians worked as building equipment contractors, earning an average annual income of $52,600. Electricians employed by local governments tended to earn slightly above the national average for this occupation and made an average annual income of $57,580. Those who worked through temporary employment agencies earned some of the lowest salaries, an average of $46,360 a year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians working in the West and Northeast regions of the United States tended to make the most on average. Alaska ranked first in average annual salaries for electricians, at $72,030, followed by New York at $70,680, Illinois at $70,430, Hawaii at $68,430 and New Jersey at $67,630. Nevada, Oregon and California were also high-paying states for electricians. The lowest average salary for electricians, $39,640 per year, was reported in North Carolina.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job growth among electricians will occur at a rate of 23 percent between 2010 and 2020. This is significantly higher than the expected growth rate of 14 percent across all industries and will result in an estimated 133,700 new positions by the end of that decade. Because the employment of all building contractors tends to rise and fall with the construction industry, electricians working at factories are expected to have the steadiest employment.
2016 Salary Information for Electricians
Electricians earned a median annual salary of $52,720 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, electricians earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $69,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 666,900 people were employed in the U.S. as electricians.