Electricians install electrical and power systems in residences and commercial buildings and may focus on construction, maintenance or both. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most states require electricians to obtain licensure, and hourly rates tend to vary based on the electrician's level of training and experience. Other factors that affect how much an electrician typically charges per hour include his location and the industry in which he works.
Average Hourly Rate
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average hourly rate an electrician charges in the U.S. is $24.45 as of May 2009. The median rate is $22.68 per hour, with electricians in the 10th percentile charging $13.79, those in the 25th percentile earning $17.30, those in the 75th percentile earning $30.35, and those in the 90th percentile earning $38.59.
The industry with the highest level of employed electricians is that of building equipment contractors, according to the BLS, in which electricians earn an hourly average wage of $24.29. Electricians working for local government charge an average of $26.16 an hour, while those working in employment services charge less at $20.91 an hour. In nonresidential building construction, electricians have an hourly mean wage of $23.58, and those in electric power generation, transmission and distribution charge $27.54 per hour.
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Hourly rates for electricians tend to be higher in other industries with fewer employment opportunities. Electricians in the motion picture and video industries earn an hourly average wage of $36.32, according to the BLS, and those in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services earn $33.89 per hour. In natural gas distribution, an electrician charges an hourly rate of $33.87 per hour, those working in services to buildings and dwellings earn $32 an hour, and those working in pipeline transportation of natural gas earn $30.73 an hour.
Hourly rates for electricians vary depending on the cost of living in the area. The BLS names Alaska as the highest-paying state for electricians with an hourly mean wage of $32.44, followed by Illinois with a rate of $32.33 per hour and New York with a rate of $32 per hour. At an hourly average rate of $38.48, San Francisco, California, is the nation's top-paying metropolitan area for electricians.