Are Electricians Smart? (A Quick Look At The Facts)

I was chatting to a young lad today who said he wanted to become an electrician. I told him to go for it but he replied that he didn’t think he was smart enough. I was kind of taken back by this as I’ve never thought of electricians as being especially smart so this idea a young person thought becoming an electrician was above their IQ level was news to me.

This article is a look at the question, are electricians smart? I think that by the end readers and the young man in question, will see that with a little hard work the path to becoming an electrician is open to everyone!

Smart electrician doing calculations
Smart electrician doing calculations

Are Electricians Smart?

Many people consider electricians smart as the average electrician has an IQ of 110 which is above the national average IQ of 100. Designing circuits, electrical installations, and layouts for wiring in commercial premises and homes require a certain level of intelligence.

As well as needing the mental capacity for designing electrical circuits, electricians also require excellent hand-eye coordination and critical thinking skills. Needing such a wide range of skills is not often found in industries that don’t require a degree to enter and is why many people consider electricians smart. Reading basic electrical books, such as this one found on Amazon, is a great way to get a head start and realise learning the trade is easy with the right attitude

What’s the Average IQ of an Electrician?

An average IQ score is around 100. Electricians average an IQ of 110 and higher, proving that an above-average IQ is essential to succeed in the industry. To understand more about an IQ, it is estimated that about half of the US population sits between 90 and 110.

From the other half of the population, 25% have IQs above 110, and 25% have IQs below 90. Einstein had an IQ of 160 and is believed to be one of very few, if any others, to have an intelligence score that high. The average IQ score among occupational groups can be broken down into six main categories, each one being ten IQ points away from the next.

  • At a 90 to 100 IQ, it is common to find general labourers, gardeners, miners, factory workers, carpenters, cooks, bakers, and small farmers.
  • At a 100 IQ, we will see most machine operators, butchers, sheet metal workers, and welders.
  • The 110 group consists of electricians, police officers, supervisors, and clerks.
  • At 120, we get into the group of teachers, pharmacists, accountants, nurses, and managers.
  • Jumping to 130 is physicians, surgeons, engineers, lawyers.
  • At 140 is professors and research scientists. 

An IQ is helpful to gauge how smart a person is. Still, being an electrician requires skill, understanding, taking intelligence one more step forward, and being knowledgeable in the trade which is why electricians may be considered smarter than some other industries in higher IQ bands.

If a job is not done correctly, there are risks associated with the career as an electrician that can cause severe injury or fatalities to the electricians themselves, co-workers, and the general public. This level of responsibility means that those not considered smart struggle in the industry.

Do Electricians Use Math?

Electricians regularly use math such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and basic mathematic skills. The higher the electrician level, the higher the level of math used. Math is used to determine the sizes of cables required, the installation method and if existing wiring complies with regulations.

Converting fractions into decimals and decimals into fractions is a big part of the job. Geometry and trigonometry are used for calculating different shapes and angles. While it might not be mandatory to excel in these skills, it is helpful to have a general understanding of the formulas used to have conduit pipes correctly bent and fit in the space intended for them.

Calculus is used to determine how many amps and bulbs are needed for a part of a project or even the project as a whole. Algebra and basic math skills are used for standard measurements and evaluations and within geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. The formulas may be hard to use at first, but they became second nature with everyday use, and don’t get too stressful usually! 

Do Electricians Need to Know Physics?

Electricians will need to know and use some form of physics in their line of work, but not as much as other careers. Knowing the difference between an Amp and an Ohm is important, and how to multiply one by the other to calculate Volts and resistance is a vital part of the job.

Converting energy from one form into another form using generators, lights, motors, heaters, sensors, and solar panels is all part of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics. Implementing energy storage practices, such as can be found with batteries, utilizes physics and chemistry. Thankfully electricians do not have to worry about these high-level calculations until they progress on to become electrical engineers.

While electricians use some amount of physics and other science in their work, high school education should be enough to cover the information necessary to perform at work. Generally taught in 11th grade, if you passed physics class, you are one step ahead. Unless mandated by state laws or it is a personal goal of yours, there is no need to enrol in college-level physics classes to become an apprentice or master electrician. A lot of these skills will be taught on the job through hands-on practice.

Can Anyone be an Electrician?

Anyone can become an electrician with the right attitude towards learning. If you want to be an electrician, but do not have an above-average IQ, do not let that deter you from your goals and dreams. Being an electrician is a skilled trade that takes time to learn and get hands-on experience to master but there are many friendly people willing to take the time to teach you.

These are the seven qualities that are shared among respectable and responsible electricians that will help you thrive as an electrician:

  • If you are willing to learn
  • Possess mental and physical aptitude
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • You’re not afraid of adventure on the job site
  • Have good customer service skills
  • Work as part of a team
  • Practice exceptional time management  

The path to electrician-hood starts with a high school diploma or good GCSE results. Reading books such as the one linked to on Amazon here is a great idea to give yourself a head start and gain some vital lingo and knowledge for any potential interviews. Contact local trade schools to see if they offer an electrician course.

Another option is to look into an apprenticeship from training centres in your area. Most apprenticeships are four years long, consisting of 500 classroom instruction hours and 8,000 on-the-job training hours. Whether you are learning in the classroom or on the site, you will learn technical skills, soft skills, and on-the-job skills.

Final Thoughts

Four years in an apprenticeship may seem like a long time, but it is no different from a traditional four-year college, other than the physical work alongside the bookwork. Contacts will be made with companies, master electricians, and other potential employment opportunities throughout those four years which is a big advantage over leaving college or university after those four years and suddenly being thrust into working life. 

It is not uncommon for electrician apprentices to apply for scholarships, have employers pay part of their tuition, or earn money while learning. In my opinion, alongside the calculations we do daily, making these kinds of life choices are the reason why electricians are smart. Once qualified there is even the potential to earn 100K plus a year! Not bad for people without a degree and no mountain of debt!

Dave Nicholas

I have worked as a professional electrician for many years and like to use my experience to help others in any little way I can.

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