Essential Guide to the Electrician’s Salary & Wages

How much can you expect to earn as an electrician?

In this essential guide to the electrician's salary and wages, we will cover the pay rate from entry-level to late-career.  

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No doubt, you are interested in becoming an electrician. So let's start with good news! Electricians are the highest paid of the skilled trades. Diverse skills and technical knowledge are needed to perform a broad range of tasks that boosts income.  

Electrician's Pay Rate vs. Other Popular Trades - INFOGRAPHIC

Let's take a look at the big picture.

The infographic highlights earning potential compared to other popular trades. It starts at entry-level and continues to late-career wages. 

Infographic Electrician's Salary vs Other Trades

 Wages from individuals reporting on payscale.com.

As you advance from an entry-level position to late-career, the pay gap widens between electricians and other popular trades.

You may notice that a plumber comes in a close-second, and is a smidgen above an electrician's mid-career wages​. 

Electrician Apprentice Wages & Salary

Electrician apprentices are typically paid a percentage of a Journeyman electrician's prevailing wage.  

The IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) standard practice starts an apprentice at 40% of a Journeyman's wage.  

As you advance through training and accumulate hours and knowledge, you receive pay increases. (Wages listed are provided as a guideline.)

​The median hourly pay rate for a new apprentice is $13.82 per hour. The lowest you may receive is $10.20 per hour, and the highest is $18.66 per hour. (These amounts are individuals reporting on payscale.com.)

Here are a few points that will determine the apprentice's pay rate:

  • Location, location, location  (Where you live and work will affect your salary.)
  • Your employer
  • Number of hours you have under your belt

Let's look at a couple examples

In Portland, Oregon an apprentice would begin training at a pay rate of $16.08 per hour and complete training at $34.17 per hour. Effective 1/1/2015, based on the prevailing Journeyman's wage of $40.20 in addition to benefits.  

Review this chart for pay increases based on the number of hours worked.

IBEW Apprentice PAY Chart - Portland, OR

IBEW Electrician Apprentice Wages

In Cincinnati, Ohio IBEW apprenticeship wages are based on the prevailing Journeyman's wage of $27.47. These wages are effective 6/6/2016 to 6/5/2017. Therefore, an apprentice in that area can expect to make the following during:

IBEW Apprentice PAY Chart Example in Cincinnati, OH

IBEW Apprentice Wages

Licensed Electrician's Average Yearly Salary

The median yearly salary for licensed electricians was $51,880 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,130.

Most electricians work full time, which may include evenings and weekends. However, work schedules may vary during times of inclement weather. On the other hand, during scheduled maintenance, or on construction sites, electricians can expect to work overtime.  From Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Much does a Journeyman Electrician Make?

As a journeyman electrician, location is a huge determinant of salary. Find your state on the map to find the mean (average) wage for your area. 

Electrician Wages State by State

​Map provided by United States Depart of Labor.  For more data, you can visit their website here.

5 States with the Highest Yearly Salary

If you live in one of the 5 states listed below, you will most likely enjoy a higher rate of pay. Take into consideration the cost of living in each area as well.

State-by-State Employment Levels of Electricians

The job outlook for electricians is very good.  It is expected to grow 14% from 2014-2024. This is much faster than average. Many employers report difficulty in finding qualified applicants, so job prospects are good.  

Below are the top 5 states which have the highest level of employed electricians.

States with highest electrician employment

The map below details electrician employment levels across the United States.

Electrician's Employment by state

​Map provided by United States Depart of Labor.  For even more detailed data, you can visit their website here.

What Benefits do Electricians Receive?

There are a range of benefits as an electrician that may be offered by your employer. It is important to understand their true value, as they can make a significant difference when considering a job.

  • ​Health Insurance - many employers provide 50-100% of health care premiums. However, small companies with fewer than 50 employees are not required by law to do so.
  • Cell Phone - electricians are on the road a lot. You may be given a phone for business communication.
  • Bonuses - an extra payment may be given for excellent performance. Many companies hand out a bonus during the Christmas season as well.
  • Profit-Sharing - Depending on the company's profitability, you may receive direct or indirect payments.  These payments are typically linked to a 401K plan. For more insight, read this article on Nerdwallet.
  • Pension - money paid to you at retirement, typically on a monthly basis. It is based on the length of time you worked for the company, and the salary you received. It is normal for both the employee and employer to both contribute monthly to the fund so that when you retire there is a nice "jar of coins" available.

Master Electrician's Salary

You will have many opportunities to advance in your career. After working the required hours, you can take the exam to become a Master Electrician and earn a higher salary.

The median yearly salary of a master electrician in the U.S. is $60,513. The highest paying wage is $96, 828 and the lowest is reported at $39, 027. (as reported by individuals on ​payscale.com, effective 1/12/16)

With this license, you will be able to own your own company if you wish. Self-employed electricians often work in residential construction and may have the ability to set their own schedule.

Career Path of an Electrician

Since the electrician's salary and wages tends to rise as you advance in your career, you might want to look into the Electrician's Career Path. The varied positions available may surprise you.

I welcome comments and questions. I have worked over 2 decades as an electrician, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Steve Schnute
The Electrical Guy
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