Becoming a self-employed electrician in the US

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Linda Carter

Electricians have an important role to play in the US economy and society at large, as do many other contractors. If you’re thinking of becoming one or making the switch to self-employment, it’s probably one of the better times to do so. In this brief guide, we uncover why that is and how you can go about getting started.

Demand for electricians

According to the Wall Street Journal, electricians are in high demand and there currently aren’t enough to meet the nation’s electrification ambitions. This makes it a fantastic time to start your journey as a self-employed electrician to secure a slice of this lucrative and growing market.

Job prospects are growing faster than average for electricians, with a 6% rise forecasted over the next 10 years or so. In 2022, the median annual pay for the profession was just over $60,000, significantly higher than the median for all workers which sat at around $46,000.

The figures and headlines suggest that there is plenty of success to be had as an electrician in the US, but how can you go about achieving it?

Qualifications and experience requirements

You’ll need to have the relevant training, qualifications and experience to be able to carry out electrical work legally with your own clients. Most US states require electricians to be licensed, so it’s important to find out what is needed in your area.

Most start by learning and training during an apprenticeship or by attending a technical college. Programs typically include learning and applying practical skills, technical theory and electrical code standards to ensure work is completed to industry and national specifications.

Once you’ve completed an apprenticeship, you should be able to go about obtaining a licence from the local licensing board. Each will have its own requirements and standards, and some may require you to further your training or continually review your professional permit.

Tools and equipment

As a self-employed contractor, you’ll need your own set of tools, equipment and a vehicle to transport you and your tools from job to job. Fundamentals include conduit benders, screwdrivers, wire strippers and drills, as well as technical equipment such as voltmeters, ammeters and thermal scanners.

You’ll also need a supply of quality parts and components to complete jobs. From battery holders to house power supplies to converters and inverters to change current, finding a reliable supplier is key to your operations and success.

Running your business

With self-employment comes the responsibility of running your own business. You’re ultimately responsible for sourcing work, maintaining relationships, delivering to contract requirements and many other aspects of the operation.

Start with a business plan and outline your sales, marketing and financial strategy to give you the best chance of success. Consider how you’ll brand yourself and market your services, whether you’re going for residential or commercial clients.

Be prepared for hard times because life as a contractor is rarely easy. Without stable employment, you’re more susceptible to economic uncertainty and fluctuating demand. But if you do things right and get some luck, you could have a very successful career as an electrician.


Linda Carter is a marketing specialist and passionate blogger based in New York. She is in love with everything that is related to art. Her travel, lifestyle, career, and entertainment-related content has been featured on high-authority websites and online magazines. She received her BA in business from Hunter College, and since then she is trying to inspire as many people as possible with her writings.

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