There are more than 625,000 electricians currently working in the United States and that number is only expected to grow in the coming years. There aren’t currently enough electricians to meet the demands of the country.
Both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Contractors Association agree that the passing of each new year creates an additional shortage of 3,000 electricians.
Stats like these indicate there’s never been a better time to become an electrician. But if you’re interested in the career, then you probably want to know how much you can make before getting started with it. That’s where we come in.
Below, you’ll learn how much electricians make per hour, the factors that can influence their pay and other important salary information that you should know before pursuing a job in this field.
The amount that an electrician makes can vary greatly from one worker to another. But these fluctuations are far from random. Instead, several important factors go into determining the average wage of an electrician. Here’s a look at each of them.
Electricians aren’t entirely uniform. There are many specializations that someone in this line of work can choose to pursue. Examples include industrial electricians, auto electricians, and maintenance electricians. Specializations that are thought of as more challenging tend to pay more than ones that are considered easier to learn.
The training that you go through will also play a big role in determining your wages. But this is true in just about every profession. The more that you invest in your education, the higher you can generally expect to be paid.
Electricians who work in areas with high costs of living tend to make more than those who work in cheaper places. But keep in mind, that just because an electrician makes more, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their purchasing power is greater.
Your pay will also be determined by who you work for and the nature of your employment. For example, you might work for an electrical company or be self-employed. You might be a full-time employee or an electrician who’s working on a temporary contract basis.
Electricians with the most experience can make significantly more than electricians who are just getting started with their careers. More detailed information on how experience can impact your hourly rate is included in the next section.
An electrician can make anywhere from $10-$45+ an hour. The hourly income range is this wide because it includes the salaries of all electricians — from trainees to masters. We can get a bit more specific if we break the data down further.
Apprentice electricians tend to make somewhere between $10 and $20 hourly.
Journeyman electricians make an average of $20 to $30 an hour.
Master electricians make anywhere from $30 an hour to more than $45 an hour.
This data shows that moving up the ranks is one of the best ways to start making more money as an electrician. But becoming a master electrician isn’t a walk in the park. To do so, you need to have at least eight years of industry experience. You also need to pass an exam that proves your qualifications.
We can use the hourly wage range of electricians to figure out how much they typically make in a year. This calculation can be helpful so you can get a sense of what your yearly budget as an electrician might look like.
Once again, the range of possible annual salaries for electricians is quite wide. The easiest way to break this down is by splitting salaries into percentiles.
The 10th percentile of electricians makes $32,000 per year. This means that 90% of all electricians make more than this amount.
The 25th percentile of electricians makes $40,000 annually.
The 50th percentile of electricians makes $54,000 per year. 49% of electricians make more than this and 49% of electricians make less than this. So $54,000 is roughly the average salary for someone in this line of work.
The 75th percentile of electricians makes $71,000 per year
The 90th percentile of electricians makes $93,000 per year.
Of course, most electricians want to be closer to the 90th percentile in income than the 10th percentile. But you won’t be able to start earning $90,000 or more when you’re first starting. This salary is typically only reserved for electricians with the most experience and those who have chosen to specialize in a challenging field.
Your location can also have a huge impact on this. For example, electricians in Puerto Rico make $30,000 or less per year on average. While electricians in the San Francisco Bay Area make between $90,000 and $93,000 annually.
The average salaries for commercial and residential electricians are largely similar. A survey published by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) proves this.
The survey, released in 2018, found that commercial electricians in the United States make an average of $61,139 annually while residential electricians make $61,300 on average each year. So there’s no need to choose one specialty over the other for purely financial reasons.
It’s also worth mentioning that industrial electricians make a similar amount. The average salary for workers in this specialty is $62,400.
Electricians tend to be paid more in areas where the cost of living is higher. For example, those who work in states like Hawaii, Washington DC, and New York are among the highest-paid electricians in the country. Comparatively, electricians who work in places like South Carolina, Arkansas, and North Carolina tend to make the least.
But there can also be some pretty big fluctuations within a state. For example, electricians in the San Francisco Bay Area can make upwards of $90,000 annually. But you shouldn’t expect to make nearly that much if you’re an electrician who’s working in a rural part of California where the cost of living is low.
An electrician’s salary may also vary based on whether they work in one of their state’s biggest cities or one of its most rural areas. The differences can be fairly large even if the geographical distance between the two locations isn’t great.
For example, an electrician in Rome, Georgia, will make an average of about $18.15 per hour. But a similarly-qualified electrician will make $23.80 if they’re working in Atlanta. That’s even though Rome and Atlanta are only separated by a geographical distance of about 55 miles.
The income disparity can be even more profound in a state like California. Electricians in the Northern Valley region of the state make about $23.50 hourly, while those in the San Rafael city limits make more than $44 an hour on average.
Many aspiring electricians choose to begin their career by completing an apprenticeship with someone who has already established themselves in the field. These enable fledgling electricians to earn money while also developing the skills that they’ll need to be able to rely on as a journeyman electrician.
The pay rate for this position can vary in similar ways to how income varies for full-fledged electricians. Your apprenticeship pay could change based on the state you live in and whether you work in a city or rural area, among other factors.
That being said, the average electrician’s apprentice makes between $43,600 and $56,500 annually.
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