In the modern age electricity is a necessity for every type of building and to perform numerous functions like providing light, climate-control, security systems, heat, and many other functions. The work of electricians is to connect, assess, and repair systems that use electronics in both residences and commercial structures. The majority of electricians work in the construction industry or in maintaining and repairing.

Electricians put in electrical systems by first reading the specifications for hospitals, residences, schools, and other structures. The specifications, or blueprints, show where circuit boards, power outlets, and load centers need to be. There are numerous guidelines that electricians must adhere to. These guidelines are set forth by local government, state governments, and the National Electric Code.

In commercial buildings electricians begin by installing pipe or tubes inside walls and install circuit boxes. Next they complete the circuits by dragging the insulated wires through the conduit. For certain types of jobs electricians might use wire that is covered in plastic rather than conduit.  Whatever type of wire used, electricians need to attach the wires to circuit breakers or transformers and connect the wires by using special connectors that are designed for the purpose. 

Finally they examine their work for any flaws like improper connections, incompatibility with other systems, and safety issues. They do this using tools like ohmmeters, oscilloscopes, or voltmeters.

Aside from installing a structure’s entire electrical system, workers might also be involved in the installation of low voltage systems, which consists of video, information, and audio systems like telephones, internet connections, intercoms, and alarm systems. They might also put in fiber optic cable or coaxial cable which are used with computers and operating controls for machinery.

Electricians are also involved in the repair and upkeep of electrical systems. This work can be very different based on the type of facility the electrician works at. Some workers focus on performing maintenance for homes, where they might update an older house’s electrical system or replace circuit breakers when new appliances are installed. Workers who are employed at large industrial facilities might repair machinery, transformers, electrical generators, or the operational controls on equipment or robots. Workers who are involved in offices or smaller industrial facilities might be called upon to perform all of these tasks.


Workers might also work in a consulting capacity and make recommendations concerning the type of system a company might want to install and whether they should update their systems to increase safety or efficiency. Then, when problems do occur, they are called in to efficiently and effectively get the system up and running again. This work might involve replacing wires, fuses, circuit breakers, or connections. Electricians sometimes have to work with extremely intricate systems or equipment, and so they often have to collaborate with other specialists like engineers or people who work with other machinery.


Being an electrician can be physically demanding. They have to manipulate heavy conduit, be on their feet for a lot of the day, and they have to work in difficult places like on ladders or in small spaces. They could work in a variety of conditions, from outside, where they’re exposed to the elements, or in cramped places. Their work is potentially hazardous as well, as they are exposed to electrical shocks, falling from scaffolding, or cutting themselves with sharp tools. They have to adhere to strict safety guidelines and be alert. Also, some electricians have to be willing to relocate when construction sites are in remote locations.

The majority of union electricians work normal hours, though they may be called upon to work overtime to complete a project. Maintenance jobs often have to be performed during evenings or weekends when commercial facilities are closed. Many electricians also have to be on-call in case problems arise. Some corporations that are open around the clock have three different shifts of electricians so there is always someone present.

Are you interested in a challenging professional trade? Earning competitive wages?
Qualifying for a comprehensive employer-paid benefits package? Receiving a competitive pension and retirement plan? Helping to build new homes and buildings to enhance your community?

If the answer is yes, check out these additional benefits of being a union electrician with IBEW Local 48:

  • Paid Apprenticeship School training
  • Referral hall for hiring
  • Political representation for health, safety and economic issues
  • Employer paid life insurance
  • Sickness and accident benefits
  • Comprehensive medical coverage, including prescriptions
  • Comprehensive pension packages

TO learn more about the specifics of these benefits visit: and click on the “Why Be Union” link on the left hand menu! 

What are you looking for?

Consider the following
Provides opportunities for continuous training and education
Provides long-term benefits for you and your family
Provides consistent and structured pay increases
You are serving a vital role in the growth of communities
You have a rewarding career of which you are proud

Have you considered?

Before you apply for a NIETC apprenticeship you should ask yourself; “am I seeking a job or a career?” While these words are often used interchangeably they are conceptually very different and your answer to this question is critical in determining weather you should go through the rigors of the NIETC application process.

While both a job and a career involve getting up and going to work in the morning, there is a huge difference in the mindset of a person holding a job and the mindset of a person pursuing a career. A job, for example, is an activity through which an individual can earn money. It is a regular activity done simply in exchange of payment. A job is something you do without much concern for the long-term. 

A career, on the other hand, is the pursuit of a lifelong ambition or the general course of progression towards lifelong goals. A career generally involves continuous training/education combined with work-related experiences leading to   credentialing within an industry as a professional, expert, or journeyman. 

Over the next twelve months there will be hundreds of applicants who meet the “minimum requirements” for application to our apprenticeship programs. Only those that have the highest levels of commitment, desire and passion to become professional electricians will succeed. It will be these individuals who go “over and beyond” in collecting supplemental documentation to submit with their application. It is these people who will study for the aptitude test and prepare themselves adequately for the interview process. These folks will do whatever is needed to succeed and realize their lifelong ambition…a career as a professional in the electrical industry! 

Conversely, individuals simply seeking a “job” or who want “the wages and benefits” associated with being a journey-level electrician without a long-term commitment to this pursuit need not waste their time applying.

Craft Certification Examination cover both knowledge (The Written Examination) and skills (The Performance Evaluation).

The Written Examination includes six different versions, designated as Level 1 through Level 6.  Each successive level contains more difficult questions, based on the levels defined by the Job Analysis. The Job Analysis is a comprehensive analysis of the duties and types of work performed by Inside Wiremen, and is based on extensive research from multiple sources.

The NIETC offers 3 apprenticeship programs.  Each program trains apprentices in a licensed craft and indentures them through the State of Oregon's Apprenticeship Division.  If you are interested in becoming a licensed Journeyman in the electrical industry please review the programs we offer to determine which is the right one for you.

Each of our 3 programs provides the apprentice with requirements needed to qualify for the Oregon State Journeyman license exam, and if applicable, its equivalent Washington Journeyman license exam.  Our apprentices are prepared through classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

Apply at the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center.

NIETC Apprenticeship Programs

Inside Electrical

Limited Energy-A Technician

Limited Residential Electrician

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