An electrician specializes in the installation, operation, repair, and maintenance of electrical systems. These systems include wiring, circuit boards, and electronics. This profession is incredibly varied, and in some parts of the world it can pay very well, due to the three to five year training period required for an electrician to be successful. Consumers interact with the work of electricians every day in communities with electricity, and many people have a preferred electrician for electrical repair around homes and businesses.
Some people like to distinguish between an electrician and a lineman, depending on regional nomenclature. In this sense, an electrician works on internal wiring in homes and other buildings, while a lineman works on outside electrical lines and in power generation facilities. Due to the much higher currents involved in this work, being a lineman can be very dangerous, especially when linemen are sent out to respond to downed power lines and other emergencies which can occur in inclement weather.
When a structure is built, an electrician is an important part of the building team. He or she installs conduit in the walls as they are built for the purpose of running electrical wiring, and if built in heating and cooling systems are being installed, an electrician will also install vents and piping for these systems. As the house is finished, the electrician installs electrical sockets for the purpose of plugging in electrical equipment and installing light bulbs. Specialized circuits may also be installed for equipment which drains power, such as stoves and heaters.
Electricians may also install complex electrical equipment, and they are familiar with the operation of electronics and the various tools of their trade, from breaker boxes to voltage meters. Maintenance and repair services are also offered by professional electricians, ranging from troubleshooting malfunctioning electric stoves to replacing aged wiring. Many electricians work as freelancers, carrying their equipment with them in vans or trucks and traveling to sites as needed.
Someone who wants to become an electrician should plan on going to trade school or serving a professional apprenticeship. During apprenticeship, he or she will learn about how to safely handle electricity and how to install electrical components. Training also includes familiarization with prevailing local codes, and a mentor may also offer training in dealing with various other professional trades in the capacity of an electrician. Once training is complete, a journeyman electrician can pursue professional certification or licensing, if required in his or her region.