Whether you’re considering a career in the electrical industry, or are currently working in the field, you’ve probably wondered at some point about electrician salary. According to the latest data available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for electricians was $50,510 in May 2013.
This means that, not only are electricians paid well above the national average for all occupations, but they also earn more than the majority of other skilled construction professionals. Best of all, they work in a field that is steadily growing and figures to continue to add new employees for years to come!
Electrician Salary Guide for 2014
You’re probably reading this because you’re looking for the answer to one simple question, “How much will I make as an electrician?”
There are several factors that go into determining the answer to this question – obvious things like experience, who you work for, the type of work you do, etc. But there are other factors that are sometimes overlooked as well.
In this guide to electrician salary, we’ll take a closer look at what determines how much you get paid in the electrical industry in 2014.
What Determines Electrician Pay?
There are four primary factors that influence how much electricians make. We’ll break down each of them below.
Probably one of the most-obvious factors that go into determining your pay is the amount of experience you have. It stands to reason that the more seasoned you are, the higher fee you’ll be able to charge for your services. This is certainly true in the electrical industry as well – but only up to a certain point.
The table below reflects the standard progression one can expect in salary as it corresponds to his or her years of experience as an electrician. Figures shown for less than four years of experience are for journeyman electricians – not apprentices.
|2014 Electrician Salary|
|Years Experience||Median Annual Salary|
|Less than 1 year||$48,375|
Note that, while there is a steady increase in annual salary over the first six years of an electrician’s career, the effect of experience on pay is negligible from the seven-year mark forward. In other words, once you’re considered to be experienced in the electrical industry, your pay plateaus.
The industry which an electrician works in has an impact on pay as well. According to www.bls.gov, the majority of electricians were employed as Building Equipment Contractors in 2013. The table below shows the top five industries that employ the most electricians along with the annual mean salary for each.
|Industry||Electricians Employed||Annual Mean Salary|
|Nonresidential Building Construction||8,280||$52,540|
|Utility System Construction||7,660||$55,850|
You’ll note that the higher salaries are typically paid to electricians who work in local government and utility system construction.
As is the case with business and real estate, if someone were to ask you “what’s the most-important factor in electrician salary?” you could argue that it’s location, location, location. Depending on the state and metropolitan area an electrician works in, salary for an electrician with roughly the same experience and credentials, working in the same industry, can sometimes vary by up to $20,000 per year!
Generally speaking, states in Northeast U.S., Upper Midwest and the West Coast boast the best-paid electricians in the country. Meanwhile, if you work in the Southeast or Great Plains, you’re likely to rank near the bottom in pay for your profession.
The following table shows the five highest-paying states for electricians as of May 2013.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
Union vs. Non-Union
The final major factor that influences pay in the electrical industry is whether you are union or non-union. It goes without saying that union electricians are paid a higher salary and generally have more benefits than their non-union counterparts.
According to the IBEW, union members were paid an average of 27% more for the same exact work in 2012 and as much as 65% more in certain industries! The purpose of providing this information is not to take a stand on whether you should be part of a union or not, but simply to underscore the fact that your decision carries weight in your eventual earnings.
The following table provides a further breakdown on this disparity.
Union vs. Non-Union Electrician Weekly Pay
How to Maximize Your Electrician Salary
The factors discussed above provide you with a general framework that explains why you’re likely to be paid what you are in your profession. However, there are always those you make more than their counterparts, which begs the question “How can I maximize my electrician salary?”
There are different strategies one can use to earn higher pay in the electrical industry, but we’ll focus here on the main one – get more training.
Although not mentioned above, there is a correlation between the amount of education and types of certifications you hold and the paycheck you ultimately take home. For that reason, you may want to consider acquiring additional electrician training in a specialized field that is in-demand in your area.