How To Become An Electrician

Thursday, 18 March, 2021 - 11:10
Sakinah Samuels

Thinking of becoming an electrician? Here's what you need to know. An electrician's job is to usually install, repair and maintain electrical systems.

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Becoming an electrician is a riveting career choice and offers many opportunities in South Africa. 

Here's all you need to know about becoming an electrician.

What does an Electrician do?

An Electrician works in commercial, industrial or residential settings. They usually install, repair and maintain electrical systems designed to provide heat, light, power, control, signal, or fire alarms, for all types of buildings, structures and premises.

What skills and abilities are needed to become an Electrician?

  • Good communication and reading skills
  • An aptitude for Mathematics
  • Mechanical ability, strength and manual dexterity
  • The ability to distinguish colours to work with colour-coded wiring
  • The ability to work at heights
  • The willingness to keep up with new developments in the field
  • The ability to create new ways of doing things
  • The ability to do very precise work expertly
  • Ability to work at a variety of exciting tasks

What are the duties and tasks of an Electrician?

  • Installing electrical distribution and control equipment such as switches, relays, circuit breaker panels and fuse enclosures.
  • Reading and interpreting electrical, mechanical and architectural drawings and electrical code specifications to determine wiring layouts.
  • Cutting, threading, bending, assembling and installing conduits and other types of electrical conductor enclosures and fittings.
  • Pulling wire through conduits and holes in walls and floors.
  • Installing data cabling or fibre optic systems.
  • Testing circuits to ensure integrity and safety.

What are the working conditions of an Electrician?

Electricians work a 40 or 45 hour day for five days a week plus overtime when needed.

In construction, there may be no guarantee of permanent work.

Working conditions can change dramatically from one job to another, varying from indoors in clean conditions to outdoors on scaffolding, to indoors in cramped conditions (such as climbing inside ceilings).

Electricians are also able to start their own small businesses.

Where can I study to become an electrician?

TVET Colleges offer courses to become an electrician. Through these programmes, you can develop the skills you need and become qualified. 

You will have to do partake in the National Certificate: Electrical Engineering programme which includes the N1 – N6 Certificates. This equips students to work with heavy electrical currents (for electricity and domestic wiring, industrial and civil industries) and light electrical currents (such as used for required for digital and industrial electronics).

After you do workplace experiential training, you will qualify with a National Diploma. Thereafter, you can then go to either a University of Technology to complete a higher qualification or into a workplace that requires the qualification.

Visit the TVET Colleges website for more on South Africa's TVET Colleges.

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