Ultimate guide to making more money as an electrician

Check out this guide for average salary, qualifications, and money-making ideas you can try.

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If you want to increase your earnings working as an electrician, it is entirely doable—the key is investing in your trade. Whether you’re looking to secure better-paying jobs or are seeking electrical side jobs, there are many things you can explore to get a better income. 

This guide discusses how to make more money as an electrician—from the basics of licensing requirements and average salary, to cool ideas that will help boost your income. Continue reading to learn more.

Do electricians make good money?

In Australia, electricians earn an average of $40 to $50 per hour, depending on skill level, speciality, and work location.

Electrician work is highly specialised and can be dangerous, so licensing requirements tend to be strict. While it varies across jurisdictions, to get your licence and work as an electrician, you should generally follow this route:

  • Completing a Certificate II in Electrotechnology: This introduces you to the trade and allows you to decide whether it would be a good fit before further training.

  • Completing a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician: This is part of completing an apprenticeship, which takes about four years. An apprenticeship involves hands-on experience through a registered training organisation. For instance, you may check the Australian Apprenticeships Support Network for guidance in getting apprenticeships.

  • Become a licensed electrician. Check with your state’s licensing body, as these vary per jurisdiction.

  • Securing other licences. You may be required to secure additional licences or certifications, such as a White Card for working on construction sites. Make sure to check your state’s specific requirements.

electrician working on wires

What qualities make a good electrician? You need logical and analytical thinking from technical knowledge to find and resolve faults. You also need to be able to apply techniques that will help you maintain safety.

Ways to earn more as an electrician

If you want to know how to make money as an electrician, you can focus on developing your skills through experience and continuing education, and seek electrical side work or start your own business. 

1. Choose the best training

If you’re 100% committed to having a career in the electrical trade, the very first step is making sure you have the right foundation through the best training. Your apprenticeship program should meet state and federal standards and provide you with the necessary technical and theoretical education. 

However, great apprenticeship programs offer valuable leadership and professional management skills that will set you up for success. 

2. Gain experience

Once you’ve completed the minimum requirements for licensing, the best way to find more opportunities is to gain as much experience as possible. Get experience across residential, commercial, industrial, or service work fields. You’ll be able to have a solid foundation of the specific skills needed for each that will help you decide what to specialise in later on.

electrician installing light fixtures

It’s also a good idea to set goals for how you want to progress, whether setting your sights on becoming a foreman or eventually setting up your own business. 

3. Choose a specialisation 

You may ask what electrician makes the most money in the field they specialise in. Electricians concentrate on working indoors (wiremen) or outdoors (linemen). While you can gain experience with small residential jobs, some of the highest-paying electrical are commercial or industrial jobs.

You may even explore qualifications to work with high-voltage electrical wiring and equipment, though keep in mind that other employment opportunities are more high-risk. Other common specialities include:

  • Auto Electrician

  • Security and fire alarm electrician

  • Telecommunication maintenance

  • Smart systems installation

You could also eventually do more niche electrical industry work, like becoming an avionics, maritime, solar energy, or substation electrician.

4. Take continuing education courses

Want to discover how to become a better electrician? Consider continuing education classes. It may also be a qualification for maintaining your license, so check your specific state’s requirements. If you’ve worked in the trade for a while, you can also look into courses that will help you land more experienced roles. For example, you can take up electrician management or project management.

electrician checking a switch board's power rating

Not only will continuing education classes keep you updated on important industry guidelines, but they will also improve your chances of qualifying for better jobs or moving up in your current role.

5. Explore side jobs

If you have the required licences and bandwidth to take up electrical side work, consider the following ideas:

  • Cable and internet installation services

  • Lighting installation services

  • Other home setup installation services

  • Appliance repairs

  • Handyman services

  • On-demand tasks    

Taking up additional side jobs as an electrician is a great way to supplement your income as these typically don’t take too much time and don’t need much technical knowledge. You’ll have the flexibility to accept jobs only when you have extra time.

6. Start your own business

If you want to take your earnings up a notch, you can explore starting your own electrical business. Of course, consider that starting any business is never without any risk and that you need sufficient start-up capital. Also, you will want to check your state’s licensing requirements for operating as a contractor, as some states require this along with a business license. 

electrician doing electrical work

Nevertheless, starting your own business is a great option if you aim to be your own boss. Once you have all of the necessary licensing in order, you can figure out what type of legal entity you want for your business, develop a business plan, and then set out to find customers.

7. Market your services

Another way to grow your income as an electrician is to get more leads, which you can accomplish by increasing your visibility and meeting potential customers where they are. It’s important to get your services in front of the right audience, and you can explore the following tips:

  • Creating a Google My Business page for your electrical services business

  • Starting a blog and producing content on your topics of expertise

  • Establishing a social media presence 

  • Kickstarting a YouTube channel

If you have your own business or are determined to start one, a proper marketing strategy not only introduces and builds your brand but also introduces you to customers who may be a good fit for your services. 

Increasing your earnings with electrician work

Your electrician work experience, along with continued investment in your education and skills, can help you land lucrative opportunities. To find potential clients, check out the tasks on our platform

Note that you can get an electrical badge added to your profile to increase your chances of getting assigned electrical tasks. It’s 100% free and you’ll only need your licence to register. 

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Frequently asked questions

To conduct any electrical-related side work, you’ll generally need to be licensed. This ensures that you’ve undergone the necessary training and experience to be a qualified electrician, making it much safer for you and your clients.

There are some types of electrical work that you can carry out in case the territory you’re in is placed under lockdown. And, while it may not be as easy to find opportunities for work-from-home electricians, you can explore jobs like estimation, consultation, project management, or teaching.

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