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.
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 boost 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.
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 electricians’ 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 $14.77 per hour. The lowest you may receive is $11.01 per hour, and the highest is $19.94 per hour. (These amounts are from 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 of examples
In Portland, Oregon an apprentice would begin training at a pay rate of $17.94 per hour and complete training at $38.12 per hour. Effective 1/1/2019, based on the prevailing journeyman’s wage of $44.85 plus benefits. Review this chart for pay increases based on the number of hours worked.
IBEW Apprentice PAY Chart – Portland, OR
IBEW Apprentice PAY Chart – Cincinnati, Ohio
An inside wireman apprentice, working in Cincinnati, Ohio, will be paid according to the chart below. These wages are effective 6/3/19.
Licensed Electrician’s Average Yearly Salary
Licensed electricians enjoy a median yearly salary of $26.53 per hour or $55,190 per year, recorded in May 2018.
The median wage is the wage at which half the worker in an occupation earned more than that amount and the other half of the workers earned less.
The lowest 10% earned less than $32,940, and the highest 10% earned more than $94,620.
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 the 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.
5 States With the Highest Yearly Salary
If you live in one of the 5 states listed below, you’ll 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
The job outlook for electricians is good. It’s expected to grow 9% from 2016-2026. You will have the best job opportunities with a varied skill set such as solar, industrial, and electronic knowledge.
Highest level of employed electricians work in these 5 states charted below.
You can see electrician employment levels across the United States on the green map below.
What Benefits do Electricians Receive?
A range of benefits is offered by employers. It’s 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.
- 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’s based on the length of time you worked for the company, and the salary you received. It’s normal for both the employee and the 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
Advancing in your career should come with many opportunities. After working the required amount of 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 $65,297. The highest paying wage is $102,000 and the lowest is reported at $41,000. (reports by individuals on payscale.com, effective 6/27/2019.
With a master’s electrician license, you’ll 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 tend to rise as you advance in your career, you might want to look in the electrician’s career path. The varied positions available may surprise you.
If you’re still not sure if becoming an electrician is a good fit, I’ve given a quick rundown on how hard it is to become an electrician. I hope it helps you decide if this trade is right for you.
I welcome comments and questions. I have worked over 2 decades as an electrician, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.Steven John