Electrician And Plumber Which Way Should I Go

In Canada, electricians and plumbers are highly popular blue-collar trades. Both professions offer considerable income opportunities. Compared to other blue-collar jobs, these occupations do not place excessive physical demands but rely more on specialized skills and knowledge. This sets them apart in the blue-collar industry, making them lucrative and stable career choices that command high demand. The question is how hard to be an electrician or plumber, some people may think getting electrician and plumber together.

A Canadian electrician’s daily routine

As a full-time apprentice for over a month, here are some thoughts as someone who transitioned into this field without prior experience:

  • I arrive at the job site at 6:30 AM, and everyone is punctual. It can be challenging for those who struggle with waking up early, but it’s manageable.
  • The work environment varies between indoor and outdoor settings, as shown in the pictures. In the winter, high-rise buildings can be very cold, and there can be a significant amount of noise and dust. Not everyone may be comfortable with these conditions.
  • It is indeed physically demanding work, and most of the time, I am working on a ladder. It’s best to try out a job site and see if you can adapt before making a decision, especially considering the length of the apprenticeship period.
  • The work itself is not overly difficult. Having some foundational knowledge helped me, and supervisors are there to teach and guide. It’s important to ask questions when unsure.
  • Safety is of utmost importance. The work carries certain risks, so it’s crucial to ensure the stability of the ladder before climbing and verify that the wires are not live before installing equipment. Don’t trust anyone who says the power is off without confirming it yourself.
Electricians Work Environment

Physical Needs

Plumber: Requires a significant amount of physical labor, involving the movement and installation of heavy pipes and fittings, sometimes in tight or inconvenient spaces.

Electrician: Physical requirements are generally lower than those of plumbers. The work involves more precision tasks, such as installing wires and electrical devices, but there can still be some physical labor involved.

Electricians ladder

Sanitary Conditions

Plumber: If it involves dealing with sewage systems and clogged pipes, coming into contact with sludge and waste, the sanitary conditions can be poorer.

Electrician: The work environment is relatively clean, mainly dealing with wires and electrical systems, with a lower likelihood of coming into contact with contaminants.

Theoretical Knowledge

Plumber: Requires a basic understanding of water flow, pressure, and plumbing systems, with a focus on practical skills and hands-on abilities.

Electrician: Requires more theoretical knowledge, including a deep understanding of electrical principles, circuit design, and safety regulations.

Market Demand

Electrical work

Electrician: There is a high demand for electricians, and their scope of work is extensive, covering areas such as construction, maintenance, factories, commercial establishments, power plants, and renewable energy sectors.

Plumber: The demand for plumbers is relatively smaller, but there is also less competition due to the fewer number of plumbers available. As a result, it is relatively easier for plumbers to find work opportunities.

Income Comparison

Electrician: According to data from Indeed, electricians are generally considered to have slightly higher salaries compared to plumbers. However, the income from taking on private jobs may not be as high as that of plumbers.

Plumber: Plumbers typically have slightly lower salary incomes, but if they take on their own jobs, especially emergency services, they often charge significantly higher fees compared to electricians.

Overall, both plumbing and electrical work are excellent career choices in Canada. These professions offer high demand and income, along with strong job stability without significant fluctuations. They are technically skilled occupations that do not require excessive physical labor compared to many other professions.

Ultimately, the right career choice should consider a combination of personal interests, abilities, and market demand to ensure job satisfaction and career success.

How Difficult Is It To Become An Electrician In Canada?

The process and requirements to become an electrician in Canada involve various stages of learning and practical experience. For those who wish to pursue this career path, it is both an opportunity and a challenge. Here is a summary of the key points, including updates on requirements in different provinces and choosing educational institutions:

Learning and Practice Requirement

Typically, becoming a qualified electrician requires a formal education coupled with four to five years of apprenticeship. The required duration and hours of apprenticeship may vary across different provinces. For instance, some provinces may require around 9,000 hours (approximately 5 years), while in British Columbia (BC), it is around 7,200 hours (approximately 4 years).

Electrical junction box

Introductory Education

Individuals with no prior knowledge can start by attending relevant courses for introductory learning. These courses, offered by public schools or other accredited institutions, usually last for about six months. After completing the courses, individuals can apply for an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Period

To become a Journeyman electrician, it is necessary to accumulate approximately 7,200 to 9,000 hours of work experience, which typically takes around 4 to 5 years. During the apprenticeship period, there are usually four or five levels, and after accumulating a certain number of work hours, apprentices need to attend a course and pass an exam to progress to the next level.

Electrical junction boxes

Obtaining Certification

Upon completing all the apprenticeship stages of learning and practice, it is required to pass a final examination to obtain the Red Seal certification, which designates one as a qualified Journeyman electrician.

Key Challenges in Becoming a Canadian Electrician

Application and Waiting for Enrollment

The first major challenge in entering the electrician industry is the application process and waiting for enrollment, which can take several months or even a year. The long waiting period during the preparation stage requires patience and planning.

Competition for Apprenticeship Opportunities

After successfully enrolling and completing the necessary education, the next step is to secure an apprenticeship opportunity. Due to the limited number of apprentices allowed per master electrician in each province (some provinces allow only one apprentice per master, while others may allow two), apprenticeship positions are relatively scarce. This presents the second major challenge. To become an apprentice, it is crucial to find an employer willing to support and provide apprenticeship opportunities.

Completion of the Apprenticeship and Passing Examinations

After becoming an apprentice, a period of four to five years is required to combine learning and practical experience. Ultimately, passing professional examinations is necessary to obtain certification. The pass rate for the comprehensive Canadian electrician examination is only 59%, reflecting the difficulty of the exam and the high requirements for professional knowledge and skills. This forms the third major challenge in the process.

Can You Be A Plumber And Electrician ?

Yes, it is possible to be both a plumber and an electrician. However, it requires separate training and certification in each field. Plumbers specialize in handling plumbing systems, while electricians focus on electrical systems. Some individuals may choose to pursue training and certification in both trades to expand their skill set and offer a wider range of services. However, it is important to note that being proficient in both professions may require significant time and effort to acquire the necessary knowledge and practical experience in each field.

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