Spotlights

Similar Titles

HVAC Helper (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Helper); HVAC Installation Helper (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Installation Helper); Maintenance Aide; Maintenance Helper; Mechanic Helper; Mechanic Repair Helper; Mechanic's Assistant; Technician's Helper

Job Description

Electrical Utility Helpers assist Electricians in their jobs by cleaning the work area and equipment,  and holding or supplying tools to the Electrician. They also perform the less-skilled tasks that an electrician might do, such as inspecting equipment, moving equipment or tools, and cleaning up debris.

Electrical Utility Helpers work primarily on job construction sites but may also work in private residences and on commercial property. Their jobs range from easy to sometimes dangerous. They do a lot of physical labor, including climbing, lifting, and stooping. Electrical utility helpers must also always follow safety protocols and regulations. 

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • The work is challenging, but no two days at work will be the same.
  • Not only are you assisting the head electrician, but you’re helping others by repairing or installing electrical equipment.
  • There is a lot of room for job growth in this career. You could work your way up to electrician and own your own business one day!
2021 Employment
74,600
2031 Projected Employment
72,500
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Working Schedule

  • Electrical Utility Helpers usually work full-time. They may have to put their work on hold due to the weather which may also result in them working overtime to fulfill deadlines. Some Electrical Utility Helpers may only work seasonally. 

Typical Duties

  • Check electrical units for broken insulation and loose connections
  • Tighten loose electrical unit connections using hand tools
  • Use hand tools and measuring instruments to cut, bend, and measure conduit and wires
  • Use a test meter to locate short circuits in wiring
  • Use hand and power tools to drill holes and push wiring through wall openings
  • Use wire stripping pliers to stip insulation from wires 
  • Dig holes or trenches to install conduits and other equipment
  • Run transmission lines underground, through equipment, or through conduits and ducts
  • Use a soldering iron to solder electrical connections
  • Use welding equipment and cutting torches to assemble metal components that have electrical functions
  • Use hand tools to bolt parts of components together
  • Disassemble electrical equipment that is defective 
  • Replace defective parts and reassemble equipment as needed

Additional Responsibilities

  • Clean the work area, including all tools and equipment
  • Keep equipment, supplies, tools, and vehicles in order
  • Transport tools and equipment to work sites by hand, or by vehicle
  • Trim trees, clear undergrowth and break up concrete at work sites
  • Paint various objects that have electrical functions
  • Position equipment for use
Skills Needed on the Job

Soft Skills

  • Ability to distinguish colors
  • Active listening
  • Attention to detail
  • Comfortable working in confined spaces
  • Communicate information effectively
  • Critical thinking
  • Identify problems and come up with solutions
  • Math skills 
  • Physical strength and stamina

Technical Skills

  • Computer aided design and drafting software (AutoCAD)
  • Recordkeeping software (Freshbooks)
  • Spreadsheet software (Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
  • All in one service management software (Procore or ServiceTitan)
Different Types of Organizations
  • Factories
  • Security System Installation
  • Fire Alarm Installation
  • Heating and Cooling Installation
  • Communications Systems Installation
  • Underwater Cabling
Expectations and Sacrifices

The work of an Electrical Utility Helper is often physically demanding. They often work outdoors and are exposed to various weather conditions. They also may have to perform duties while at great heights, or even underground in tunnels. Safety equipment is required including earplugs, gloves, and safety glasses. Electrical Utility Helpers are also at higher risk for illness and injury than other occupations.

Most Electrical Utility Helpers work full-time. Jobs may have to be stopped sometimes because of weather, but many continue working through the elements. They may have to work overtime if they have a tight deadline to finish a project. Some Electrical Utility Helpers are self-employed, but most work directly for contractors or companies. 

Current Trends

The projected job growth for Electrical Utility Helpers is expected to decrease slightly in the next few years at a rate of -3%, while overall jobs for all Construction Laborers and Helpers (including Electrical Utility Helpers) is expected to increase at a rate of 4%, according to BLS. However, as Electrical Utility Helpers move, retire, or take on new job opportunities, there will still be openings for new helpers to join the field. 

The younger generation actually has an advantage for this job, as they are more likely to be more familiar with the newest technologies, software and programs. 92% of Electrical Utility Helpers are male, while 8% are female. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger

Electrical Utility Helpers are good at assisting Electricians, and also good at handling tools and equipment, and disassembling and reassembling equipment. Therefore, they have probably always liked to work with their hands. They may have enjoyed building with Legos, fixing things with their toy “tools,” and as they got older, taking things apart to figure out they worked and putting them back together. They have also always enjoyed helping others, and working on and fixing things. 

Education and Training Needed
  • The minimum educational requirement for this career is a high school diploma or GED
  • Previous work experience is generally not required
  • On the job training takes approximately one month
  • Approximatley 17% complete some college, and less than 10% get post-secondary certification or a degree
  • Some states offer apprenticeship programs, where students can train and get paid at the same time
    • Must be at least 18 and have a diploma or GED to complete and apprenticeship
    • Apprenticeships usually last two to four years
  • Depending on the job, HAZMAT training may be required
Things to do in High School and College
  • In high school and college, take as many Math courses as you can and do your absolute best
  • Take any vocational courses available especially construction and welding
  • If you’re able, try to gain some work experience through part-time jobs that give you skills and practice
  • Consider taking pre-apprenticeship training
  • Try to shadow a Electrician or Electrical Utility Helper or even a builder or construction worker who performs these tasks at work
  • Watch videos that show precisely what Electrical Utility Helpers do so you know what to expect
  • Take any first aid courses and certifications that are available to you (such as BLS and CPR)
  • Keep a log that details the equipment and tools you learn to use 
  • Study books and articles related to the trade
  • Accustom yourself to practicing good safety habits and wearing PPE 
  • Get your color vision tested 
  • Obtain a driver’s license if you don’t have one already and make sure it and your insurance are current
How to land your 1st job
  • Apprenticeships aren’t guaranteed, you have to apply for them and expect to have competition from other students in the field
  • Read apprenticeship ads carefully to make sure you meet all the guidelines to apply
  • Be honest on your applications, list any skills or extracurricular activities that may help you, including a solid educational background in Math 
  • If you have the opportunity to shadow another Electrical Utility Helper or even and Electrician do it so you can gain experience and knowledge
  • List all education, skills, training, and work history on your resume
  • Ask a friend or editor to review your application and resume for errors 
  • Let your network know when you’ve begun your job search so they can help get the word out and alert you to job openings
  • ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and The National Labor Exchange are good places to start your job search
  • If you attend a college or trade school, contact their career center to assist you in your job search
  • Many vocational programs can help connect you with local recruiters, so let them know when you are ready to work
How to Climb the Ladder
  • Always do your best in any training you complete, including apprenticeships
  • Stay on top of the game by constantly improving your skills, including learning the best air sealing and insulation installation techniques
  • Grow your network by attending events and connecting with other Electrical Utility Helpers and Electricians
  • Talk to manufacturers about new developments you should learn about
  • Show that you can handle responsibility by training new workers or leading a team of technicians
  • Always follow safety guidelines, including those for wearing protective gear
  • Eliminate any gap areas you may have through self-study and practice
  • Ask as many questions as you can, but also look things up and learn as much as you can on your own
Recommended Resources

Websites

  • Industrial Division of the Communication Workers of America
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • Laborers’ International Union of North America
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research

Books

  • Electrical Engineering 101: Everything You Should Have Learned in School…..But Probably Didn’t by Darren Ashby
  • Wiring for Beginners: Step by Step Guide on How to Wire a House and Do All Manner of Indoor and Outdoor Wiring Projects, With Easy to Follow Projects by Handy Andrew
  • Ugly’s Electrical References 2020 Edition by Charles R. Miller
  • Living on the Grid by William L. Thompson

 

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