Empowering careers for LGBTQ in electrical work

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How to Get Licensed and Thrive

One of the best ways the LGBTQ community can thrive is with a steady, promising career. While there are countless careers to succeed in, trade jobs are a great option for those who don’t want costly, lengthy schooling. An electrician job is a great hands-on career for members of the LGBTQ community who love tinkering and helping others. At least three percent of all electricians are reported as LGBTQ community members. This may seem like a small amount, but it equates to tens of thousands of LGBTQ electricians!

While you need training to become an electrician, it costs less and takes less time than many other career choices. You can even train through a trade school or an apprenticeship, which is flexible for many learning styles. It’s pretty normal for the queer community to be uncertain about their careers or futures, so if you’re on the fence, considering a trade job like an electrician is great for many reasons.

The Importance of Trade Jobs for LGBTQ

Trade jobs vary widely and can appeal to a wide variety of the queer community; they include electricians, HVAC technicians, landscapers, construction workers, plumbers, painters, and more. The need for this type of work will always be high, making it evergreen in demand in not just New Jersey but everywhere. Careers like construction workers, plumbers, or electricians are in shortage due to construction project growth. This leads to better job security, more choice in career paths, and higher pay. As a bonus, a traditional bachelor’s degree isn’t strictly required for these jobs, making them ideal for any age, preference, or learning style. They’re perfect for those in the LGBTQ community who want to start a family or own a home with career stability.

LGBTQ Electrician Careers

Electricians are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical systems including wiring, lighting, communications, and controls. While this may seem intimidating, trade school or apprenticeships can prepare you for the role. General responsibilities remain the same with each type of assignment, but career types can vary. Some focus on solar energy only, great for environmentalists. There are also marine electricians, lighting installers, airport electricians, residential electricians, commercial electricians, wiremen, gaffers, system specialists, and many more. Some low-voltage technicians deal with smaller electrical systems such as fire alarms and security systems. There are plenty of LGBTQ electricians, but it’s important to select employment or union membership that will protect and embrace your identity.

Since electricians are constantly in demand, job security is always high. There are also numerous ways to grow in this career field. Apprenticeships lead to journeyman work, seeing basic but average jobs. Journeymen can receive their electrical license to add to their training and see more job diversity. Journeymen can also receive a contractor electrical license to take on managerial and supervisor roles. Many licensed electrical contractors end up as business owners, which is great for LGBTQ individuals to make a name for themselves and create a safe working environment for themselves and any other employees or partners. Employment opportunities can provide health insurance to cover any gender-affirming treatments as well.

LGBTQ Electricians

There are many LGBTQ trade workers like electricians in New Jersey and throughout the world. These types of roles are great for those who love hands-on work with less formal training required. Many general trade unions and electrician unions have anti-harassment policies in place to make the work and environment welcoming for all, so seeking these unions out may be ideal. Obtaining a contractor license in New Jersey is required for those who want to ensure the safest working environment by starting an electrician business.

Advertising as an LGBTQ electrician can open up a client market to the LGBTQ-friendly communities. It can prove you’re a safe space for those of any identity, including those employed under you or with you. It can also guarantee that bigotry won’t enter any LGBTQ home that needs electrical work. It’s up to you as a member of the LGBTQ community to advertise as such, but it can have many benefits and serve as inspiration to other members of the queer community. There’s no wrong way to belong in the community, of course!

Electrician Training in New Jersey

If you’re interested in becoming an electrician as a member of the LGBTQ community, training is required for any type of electrician work. How much training is needed depends on the type of work you’d like to do. Typically, any electrical work over 10 volts requires a license. If you want to become an LGBTQ electrician, it’s recommended to start with test prep for a New Jersey low-voltage license. If you pass the test, you’ll be able to work on managing fire alarms, burglar alarms, security systems, and deal with other types of small electrical work. However, those with low-voltage licenses typically only cover those systems; any other work will require traditional journeyman or contractor licensing.

In New Jersey, a journeyman license allows you to perform electrical work over ten volts unsupervised while employed by an individual or company. However, you cannot pull permits or start your own business with a journeyman license. To be a journeyman, you need at least 8,000 hours of documented experience; half of this must have been within the last five years. You’ll need at least 576 hours of classroom training.

Contractor License

A contractor license allows you to start a business as an LGBTQ electrician or pull permits as an individual. You must be at least 21 years of age, have your high school diploma or GED, and qualified training experience. This includes at least five years of hands-on work experience. This can be done in a few ways: 

  • A four-year approved apprenticeship and one year of job training
  • A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with two years of job experience
  • Working in the field directly for five years 
  • Satisfying the above journeyman electrician requirements along with one year of job experience

The flexibility allows many different training experiences to qualify for many different types of LGBTQ life experiences.

Conclusion

Many LGBTQ people thrive in trade jobs like electrician work, as formal schooling isn’t a hard requirement, making it attractive for any age, learning style, or experience. Electricians are always high in demand not just in New Jersey but everywhere, allowing for job flexibility and security. Licensing is required depending on the type of work you want to do, but it is a straightforward process that many can easily qualify for with experience. You can even start a business with a contractor license, adding to the number of LGBTQ business owners in New Jersey.